Thanks so much for your responses. I know that sharing our stories with those who can relate is powerful and healing. I hope this was your experience. I relate with so much of what all of you say.
I especially resonate with something Paul said: "The truth is, most of us were never allowed to live in the first place, and we are at varying stages of discovering what it means to simply be alive."
This is profoundly true. One thing I've learned is that, as glbt children of conservative christians, we had to detach from our "true selves" in order to survive. We weren't accepted for who we were.. and it was natural for us to subconsciously change ourselves into what our parents could love... at the cost of our true selves. All of my life I've been the square peg trying to go through the round hole. It's left me feeling deeply defective. Realizing this, though, is healing. It's like I've found my voice for the first time.
It really helps me to hear your voice, and to know that I'm not alone. In reality, we are a strong heavenly choir telling our stories. Keep singing...