For half a year during middle school, I was in the school choir. I joined because I thought singing sounded like fun, but as it turned out I was the only "boy" on the choir. And that meant a huge amount to me. I couldn't say why, but I did realize on some level that being there relieved me of some of the pressures of masculinity that chased me everywhere else.
Unfortunately, I was deeply shy, so I didn't really make any friends. Or talk a whole lot at all. I particularly remember one day when we were sitting around waiting for something, and someone started singing In My Life. Gradually everyone else joined in, except for me. I was just too shy, and I still feel a pang of regret when I think about it.
I don't really sing much in public anymore—I'm very rusty, it's a lot harder with my new voice, and I'm still plenty shy. But one of the most important side effects of coming out for me has been finally feeling comfortable among groups of women. I'm very lucky to be able to do that—I have great friends, and I pass a reasonable amount of the time among strangers. But the most important part is that I no longer feel like I'm forced into a role that I don't want to play, and I wish middle school Natalie could see that.