Editor's Note: Raleigh Van Ness is a pseudonym used by Upworthy in order to protect the anonymity of the author.

It's hard to pinpoint the moment I knew I was queer. Growing up, I knew I was different. I liked boys because I was told I should like boys. I chased Chris for a kiss in Kindergarten on a whim and a dare—not out of any true want or desire. In fifth grade, I dated Brandon for his ball cap. It was a status symbol. It got me clout with the hip kids—the cool kids, you know, the girls who wore cropped sweaters and acid-wash jeans. While I had a steady stream of boyfriends in middle school, I did so to appear normal. To be normal. Plus, I couldn't possibly go to the Halloween dance alone, so I didn't.

I held Tyler's shoulders and swayed to Savage Garden.

Terrance sang every word of Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You" in my ear.

But the truth is my eyes weren't for them, not at 10, 12 or 17. I was—and always have been—attracted to women.

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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