I dragged my body in the house a little after 10:00 p.m. on Saturday after an emotional viewing of Purple Rain at the movie theatre (No, I’m NOT over it). If you know me then you KNOW unless it’s a special occasion, I am usually in the bed by 9:00 p.m. but I timed myself perfectly to be awake for the Prince tribute on Saturday Night Live (are you judging me?). I made my rounds to let everyone know I was home and noticed my twelve year old daughter was not here. Just before I started to shout, ask questions and dial numbers (because no one seemed to be moved by the fact that she was gone), I hear keys at the front door, a bunch of giggles and a big burst. In comes my daughter with three of her girlfriends and they are giving me hugs and then headed straight to my son’s room to give hugs and hi-fives. They then tell me where they’ve been and show me the new moves they’ve been practicing. The mom on duty was outside but they ALL had to walk her in and say good night. They then hug and the other three leave.
These are the best moments of my life.
For years now, it has been essential that my daughter have her girlfriend circle. As much as I want to believe she’ll come to me for everything or be strong enough to handle it herself, that is a lie. It’s a lie too many of us have held on to for too long. It is why we struggle. It’s why we go down and no one knows it. We have found the idea of asking for help, showing our vulnerability, saying we need support to be some sign of weakness. It is why we’d rather drink and suffer in private then send a text and say, “I just need someone to talk to right now.” It’s why we’ll spend $500 at the mall trying to make ourselves feel better rather than asking a friend, “Are you free for coffee right now? I could use some support.”
These are my stories.
My grandmothers taught me to NEVER trust women. When I was teased, bullied, lied on and, literally, voted not worthy enough to hang with the cool girls, I found it much too dramatic to even care after a while. Yet, God kept bringing a Remi in my life, a Terrell, a Tonya, a Kisha, an Ikyta, a Sylvia, a Ninah into my life before I was an adult and I found that I not only benefited from having a support system but, with all of the hell and chaos in my life, I needed it.
Synonyms for support are hold up, bear, carry, prop up, keep up, undergird. These are the words that come to mind (as I actually tear up while typing) when I think of the support system I have now. Other synonyms for support include help, aid and assist which I what I do on a daily basis. I have some friends now who could destroy me with what they know but I have also had to reach for other types of support including personal trainers (yes, personal trainers need personal trainers), wellness coaches (yes, coaches need coaches), therapists (yes, people with Master’s degrees in counseling need counseling), teachers, pastors, doctors, psychiatrists, holistic healing professionals and whomever else I needed to summon for me to be at best. Support is not a dirty word. Unnecessary suffering, pride and ego are.
I hope my daughter will always find the value in having a circle. I hope she will find the value in having a circle who supports her holistically. I hope she never care about what other people think about her needing support. I hope she will reach out when she needs a lifeline. I hope she will always know that her real life is more important than the perception of what her life looks like to other people. I hope I will continue model this for her.
If you need help making that first step, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I get it.
Don’t get stuck trying to be strong. We all need somebody to lean on.