I have a daughter, adopted nearly 15 years ago. It’s been just the two of us since. In efforts to protect her, I waited until she was a teen before emerging as a RLSH, and don’t speak of her on Facebook. I am the moon to her earth, constantly circling her and admiring who she has become. She is a far better person than I could ever hope to be, with missions and ideals of her own that influence me to do greater things.
My daughter “Aloe” broke up with her first boyfriend (in name only as she cannot date until 16 years old) and is very depressed. She is bullied at school. She has experienced many other stressful and unfair events in her life. I thought she was handling it well… Thankfully, a classmate reported her solemn behavior to a school counselor and Aloe spoke frankly to that counselor about considering suicide. A police officer took her to the ER for safety and that’s where I met them all. I expected Aloe to be a weeping wreck, but she was sitting there smiling. It was then I realized that despite all the efforts I’d made to build her up to be strong and independent, by example I’d inadvertently burdened her with one of my worst attributes–internalizing the negative emotions and revealing only her smile.
We talked. Aloe and I have always been very open and honest, able to communicate in ways that her friends have told us made them jealous. We decided that maybe the best thing to do would be to try therapy to build better coping skills, and see her doctor for medication options due to possible inherited mental health conditions. We went to the appointments, made more decisions, gathered information, and went home.
This is the tightrope we walk. I know it will get better and the sustaining support of all our friends, most of them RLSH, has been a godsend!
Sadly ironic, the things I most advocate to prevent as Misery White have strolled right in the front door and slapped me in the face, screaming, “PAY ATTENTION! YOU ARE NOT IMMUNE!” I didn’t know about the bullying because Aloe was afraid I’d go to the school, full force, and wreck the place in her defense. Correct assumption, but I see now how I should be more willing to discuss what each victimized person wishes vs. what I believe is “right, and should be done!”
So what does this have to do with STAND and new female RLSH? Well, quite a bit as I consider it: Good intentions; helping others; and how it makes us feel. We can offer support, service, resources, and time, but it is always up to the person in need, the one you want so desperately to help, as to how (or if) your offerings will be accepted. Some people may even be offended by your outreach. That’s okay. Some people will want your help, but expect you to do all the work, making it “all better.” You may observe people in whom you’ve invested great time and emotion turn back to whatever pit you attempted to “save” them from falling into. You must remember that you are human and so are they. Choices will be made. Not every day will be the successful one. There will be fabulous days, yes, but ready your heart for the other kind.
Cherish what you have, and try to see others’ experience through their eyes if you are able. My inability to look beyond my own perceptions almost cost me the most important thing in my whole world.
Also remember that this community is rich with those who will support you, guide you, offer fantastic advice, and help keep you sane. You gain friends, brothers and sisters. For me, this is home. I welcome you into my part of it any time you like, and will be here, ready to chat or just listen should you ever need it. God bless you!