Just because you see a smile, just because you see them laughing, does not always mean they are ok.
In 2017 my daughter came to the dinner table and after some light conversation she said "I want to cut myself to get away from this pain."
Let me go back a bit. In 2009 my dad crossed, I had to face some ugly truths, I was able with time, support, Reiki, coaching, and meditation, I was able to move forward. With the tools I learned, I forwarded them to my daughter.
So back to the dinner table. When Olivia said she wanted to cut herself to get ride of the pain, I just told her what I have been doing to help cope, take a breath. And that is what we did, took a deep breath and exhaled. We were all feeling calmer, she was less anxious when she said, "I am gay." Larry and I looked at each other and in the same moment got up to hug her. We are here, we love and support you. We held her in this group hug for what seemed like an eternity. Although, my husband and I are very open, Olivia said she was so scared to tell us, she felt so alone and the only thing she thought to do was hurt herself.
We have a great group of supportive friends. Some gay, some straight. When we told them, no judgement, just love. Things were going, we found a coach that had experience with coming out and we began our journey. All of us.
Olivia wanted a place in school that she felt safe, she spoke up to her teacher and the Kaleidoscope club came to life. A club where anyone who feels different can come, talk about what they are feeling and know it is a safe space. With her best friend, by her side. They made posters for awareness and even painting a mural on the school wall.
At times is was not always easy, people are not always going to understand, and at times will say or do things to try and hurt others. By no means is not ok, but it does happen. Olivia was faced with an issue she was not prepared for and thought that suicide was the best decision. She confided in a teacher and I was called to school. It was the worst moment of my life to hear my daughter tell the crisis therapist her feelings that she was so clearly masking. She was referred a therapist and began her intensive eight-week, two-hour session therapy. This time therapy was not about coming out, this time therapy was about standing up for herself because and be proud of the person she is.
Olivia grew over that summer, she showed up for herself, acknowledged, understood, even forgave so that she could rise above knowing and using the tools she learned to be the BEST version of herself. And she did just that!
We went to Pride in NYC, I have never seen the smile that I saw that day. At one point she hugged me and said this feels like home.
Theses days are better. Still attending therapy, she is loving high school, she is finding who she is and is comfortable in her skin. We talk about dating and she wants to make sure she knows who she is before she trys to get to know someone else. In her words, "Right now, I am good, I am happy and I've got the best friends that anyone could have."
We talk, use positive reinforced tools, we laugh, we even cry, but the best part of this is that we do it together. I am proud to be Olivia's mom and watch her be the change.
Today is National Coming Out Day, be kind, understand, and show love.
Namaste my friends