Your Holiday Mom: Toby

toby YHM PIcTo my incredible holiday child:

I wanted to take some time to sit down and remind you just how amazing you truly are and how important you are to myself, and those around you, especially at this time of the year, when life can feel overwhelming and sometimes full of sadness.

First and foremost, you are incredible.  You have a hidden strength that you yourself may not even be aware of. It is true.  And if you ever doubt it, I am always here to remind you of this.  The world has people who simply don’t understand the simple beauty of acceptance and humanity, but there are so many more that get it, and accept you for all of you.

I am a firm believer that we are all capable of loving others.  Gender does not matter. You fall in love with the person – all of them. Their heart, their soul, their compassion, their humour and kindness.  The key to love is to love someone who equally loves you back.  The person who steals (or has already stolen!) your heart knows how incredibly lucky they are to have you. Others around you may find your choices difficult and you make you feel like you have done something wrong because you don’t fit into “Their” definition of what is right and what is wrong.  Sometimes we can stand up to them and fight for what we believe and know that things will be okay, but often the fight is so insurmountable that the idea of being alone and bullied is just not worth it.

My little brother came out to us when he was 11 years old. I have never been more proud of anyone in my life. To know yourself and to feel comfortable sharing that with your entire family is a momentous thing and I know he was pretty scared to tell my folks.  But we are extremely lucky. Your adopted grandparents not only embraced his openness but supported him and made sure he knew that it didn’t change a single thing, especially how they felt about him.

He was not so openly accepted in high school and was beat up horribly by bullies in his high school.  He spent the next ten years feeling very scared and sad outside of our family and even went so far as to start dating (and later marrying) a girl he was friends with in school. They had two beautiful kids but he was never truly happy. As an outsider looking in all you want for the people you love is to not only find love and happiness but to always be true to themselves. It took some time but he has now found a man that he loves and who loves him. Of course there are ups and downs – that goes with every relationship on the planet – but he is himself and I want nothing less than that for him and for you too.

What seems like an unbeatable burden or difficulty right now, will pass. I promise. Your future is yours to write. You get to decide exactly where you want to go, what you want to do and most importantly who you want to be. You don’t have to stand up and try to push anything right now. What you do have to do though and remember just one thing: each day, each minute you are growing into this amazing and precious soul who will do magical things with their life. You have made me proud every single day and nothing will ever change that.

If ever you feel lost or scared or just unsure of the world, please know that I am always here for you and will always love you and believe in you.

With love, pride and the warmest of hugs,

Your adopted mom, Tobes

13 comments

  1. Raquel says:

    I just wanted to thank you, because this letter cheer me up today. I don’t really have trouble with my family, they support me and my choices, but I’m truly scared of the rest of the world. I mean, here in Ecuador one of the worst things a person could do is being homosexual, and for me is really hard. I’m not out for everyone, but I know people who has been rejected all their lifes, and I’m afraid. Just a few persons know about me being bisexual, and they agreed to keep it as a secret. That’s why I wanted to thank you, because, you gave me hope that one day I will be able to tell it to everybody, and what they could say won’t matter.

  2. Emi says:

    I can’t even begin to express how much I needed this today. Normally I just avoid my parents as much as possible, but that’s impossible around the holidays. And this year it’s even harder because I have a wonderful, beautiful girlfriend, and I’m in a healthy, stable relationship that truly makes me happy for the first time in my life, and I can’t even mention her at the dinner table. I needed the reminder that there are people out there who love me just as I am. Thank you so much.

    • Tobes says:

      Happy Holidays Emi!

      I am so happy to hear that you are in a loving relationship with a beautiful soul – you truly deserve it!!! It honestly warms my heart.

      I am also sorry that you can’t share your happiness with your family. However, as long as you and your girlfriend remember that you are also each others family and that the love you have for each other is something that is yours – no one can tarnish it or take it away unless you let them – you will get through this. I know it sucks and I wish things were different.

      Make sure you are both open with each other if things get frustrating and work through stuff together – the holidays aren’t forever and you will find time to be together and enjoy them exactly how you want to.

      I wish you both the very very best of everything this holidays season, but also throughout the whole year – 2015 is going to be a great year – I can feel it. It will be one of happiness and love and strength… it won’t always be magical and easy, but it will be an adventure and one I know you will thrive in!

      Sending you both so much love and ginormous hugs!
      Tobes (AKA Mom)

  3. Brianna says:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your brother’s story. I really appreciate it. It helps a lot to hear such a story and see that it does get better. While I was reading your letter I started crying without knowing I was. Everything you addressed in this letter hit home.

    I came out to my family when I was 17. My mother told me she threw up when she got to work. She also said that she’s sad because I won’t be in God’s Kingdom and experience Everlasting Life. I’m 20 now, and she (along with my immediate family) barely tolerates it. I cut my hair short and my family made disgusted looks when I first returned home with my haircut. My mother told me that my brother called me a dyke. And that I might as well just become a guy. My whole family makes gay jokes with no consideration with how I may feel. Anything I wear is criticized. And unfortunately I’m stuck living with them since I’m a broke college student with a barely there income.

    I just don’t have it in me to do anything about it. I’m just tired of it all.

    I have depression and tried to take my life this previous summer. I’ve stopped self harming and trying to commit suicide because I have a dog that loves me that I need to take care of. Of course, my mother called my self harming, “tantrums”. Even though I was doing it for years without anyone knowing.

    But I’m slowly getting better. And reading your letter really helped. I have friends who love me for being me. And I’m grateful for that and for your kind spirit. I’m gonna try my best to get through this.

    Thanks again,
    Brianna

    • Shamama says:

      I am so glad you found us, Brianna and so sorry your family does not see your beauty and worth yet. Maybe someday, but in the mean time, we are here for you. Love, Shamama

    • Tobes says:

      Hi Brianna – you are not only going to get through this but you are going soar!! I am so proud of you for pushing through what has been a terrible time. You have true strength – like others here – and I have complete and utter faith in you and everything you are going to accomplish in this world. Your friends see your true worth and don’t ever let anyone take that away from you. You are AMAZING!!!

      I know it must be so hard to not have your family’s support but here is what I believe. Family can be defined in many ways, and I believe that your FAMILY are those people in your life that are always there for you and see how incredible you are and how special you are. They support and love you unconditionally. That is what Family means. So your blood family will always be your family, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a ‘closer’ family in your friends that love you. Never let that go. I also know for a fact that there is nothing quite like the unconditional love of a pup! We have a chocolate lab who can make light of even the darkest of days – so it makes me happy knowing you have a dog too.

      Keep moving forward, keep dreaming and keep putting one foot in front of the other… I believe in you Brianna!

      Lots of love and big hugs, Tobes

  4. Tobes says:

    I received this quote via email today and it seems very timely :-)

    “The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your yeart, the roar of freedom.”

    ― Osho

  5. Ema says:

    Hello, mom, I’m Ema, from France.
    I’m struggling with a severe depression, with anxiety,with a low self esteem, and I don’t go to school anymore because I was bullied there.
    Sometimes, I lose hope, sometimes I can’t picture a future for myself.

    But, today, I cried of happiness, and a huge smile appeared on my face. I smiled because someone I don’t even know wrote an awesome message to me, to every lost teen of this world. You have no idea what this mean to me. I feel loved, I feel I deserve great things.
    Today, I feel like I have a family who accept me (mine is totally homophobic).

    Mom, you give me hope.

    Thank you, thank you so so so much. I don’t know if that’s possible, or if you want to, but I’d be very happy to talk to you.
    Have a great day! You deserve it.
    Ema.

    • Tobes says:

      Hi Ema!
      Thank you so very very much for your lovely message. It is the simple truth that you are loved and you do indeed deserve great things! You deserve a world of happiness and excitement and adventures and love. And if you want those things then I believe in my heart of hearts that they will come to you. Throw those positive amazing thoughts out to the universe and open your arms to all the wonder that will come back to you.
      You are beautiful, kind, loving and amazing and I am always here for you.
      At times it may seem that there is no point to the life or the world but the truth is your entire future is open and completely yours to charter a course that makes you feel whole and happy. Never ever give up on you! Ever. If you start to feel that way then read this and know that there are people in the world who see your beauty and know what amazing potential you have.

      I believe in you.

      Sending you the biggest of hugs and love,
      Tobes

      • Ema says:

        Sorry to bother you, mom, it’s me again.
        Today, my sister said that if I was gay, she would never speak to me anymore. She is very homophobic, and both her and my mother openly reject me. I’m just tired fighting, I don’t know what to do,
        I feel I’m living in a nightmare. My psychologist and psychiatrist don’t help me, I’m all by myself, or I feel so anyway.
        I have nobody, I feel nobody cares, except you. So sorry to bother you again, I just don’t know what else to do.

        Have a good day! (And I’m sorry if I made mistakes, I use a corrector, but it sometimes doesn’t work.)

        PS: That’s a beautiful quote.
        E.

        • Tobes says:

          Hi Ema
          Thank you for writing again. I just want to let you know that our letters here are for you dear one, read and reread them, and know they are sincere. We want them to get you through this very hard time. We send our love again! If you need help right away, please, please call a crisis hotline. We want you to feel better!

          I promise this difficult time will pass Ema – there are many people in this world who care and are there for you – we can’t be there in person, but whenever you feel alone, just close your eyes and picture one of us sitting on your shoulder (like a tiny version) reminding you every day how amazing you are. How strong you are. How important you are.
          Always.

  6. Kc says:

    This was so beautiful and uplifting and I cannot describe to you how much it means to me. My gender identity and sexuality has always been denied by family who openly rejects me. So thank you for such kind words and thank you for the reminder that there are people who are capable of being kind and accepting

    • Tobes says:

      Hi KC

      I can’t even begin to describe how much it means to me to know that I have been able to make people happy with words.

      I am sorry that your family doesn’t understand what an amazing person you are. They can’t see the magic inside you and it is very sad. They are missing out on this beautiful soul that is you! But… there are people who love you, unconditionally and entirely simply because you do make a difference. Every single day.
      At the end of the day, no matter how hard things get or how rejected you feel, you are more then all of that. You are incredible and strong and the world is full of people who will see all of that (and so much more) in you. I am one of them. Don’t ever forget that!

      Heaps of love and big hugs,
      Tobes

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