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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > tears streaming down my face ...
tears streaming down my face ...  [message #59955] Fri, 04 December 2009 00:14 Go to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



This is going to be long, and rambling, and I still don't know if I'll press "delete" or "submit" at the end of it. Please bear with me - especially those who know some of this already. I apologise in advance if bits of it read like a bad story on Nifty!

OK, I've been feeling fragile today. I just lost my temper yesterday: the first time for about four years, and ended up in a white and shaking state for a while. Apart from the physical distress, it reminds me too much of my father - it's exactly the kind of state he used to get in to when he became really violently abusive. That makes it all very scary - though I have not hit anyone in anger since the age of seven, and don't think I ever would. So there's that, and my father's death in June seems to mean that I'm handling it in a rather different way than I did last time it happened. It's not a frequent occurrence!

Then, there's this kid. I'll copy&paste from an anonymous post I made to another gay support place a few months ago:

Sun 20/09/09 10:45

For some months earlier this year there was a young lad hanging around begging outside the local tube station. I gave him a couple of quid most days. In assorted 90-second conversations over the months, I gathered that he was supposed to live with his Dad, who was physically abusive, so he often ended up sleeping rough, and he certainly showed signs of bruising. He had the odd night visiting his Mum, who lives a long way away, but couldn't stay there very often. He claims to be sixteen, and certainly looks under 18.

I don't normally get involved with kids begging outside tubes, but this one is a bit different: he seems not to have succumbed to getting hopeless, and to be a fairly bright kid with some potential to make something of himself. I said a couple of times that I didn't want to tell him how to run his life, but that if he needed someone to go with him to Social Services or go in to bat for him he could always ask me.

Then he disappeared for a couple of months - these things happen. I assumed he had moved away, or got himself locked up: rather hoped that he had not jumped under a train as he'd had a couple of really depressed days.

Last night he was back at the tube station. He rushed up to me and gave me a hug, which is the first time we've done that. He says he's been in hospital with pneumonia ... not entirely sure that I'm convinced by this ( I reckon that he's in a situation where he does what feels he has to do and says what he feels he has to say in order to survive, so I don't judge too much). He rather proudly showed me that he has a "new toy" - a sleeping bag, so he doesn't freeze.

He's asked me to go to the Council offices with him, and I've arranged to meet him on Tuesday morning (Monday is an impossible day at work). He says that he thinks he may be able to get temporary housing - "a place of his own" - if an adult helps him. I plan to take him for a bite to eat first (if local caff will serve him), and a bit of a chat to find out more about this, and him.

I assume that he's straight (no vibes from my almost-does-not-work-at-all gaydar), so resources like the Albert Kennedy Trust probably aren't appropriate.

So, apart from "what the fuck am I getting myself into?", does anyone have any useful tips, knowledge or advice about resources available, how to deal with Council housing department and social services? Any constructive input gratefully received!


That was a while ago. Needless to say, he didn't keep the appointment - that's the way these things go. I didn't see him for a couple of weeks, and he made no reference to it. As for me, I pretty much work on the assumption that he'll tell anyone including me whatever he feels he has to in order to survive ... But it's his life, and he's old enough to make his own decisions (and, I guess, has had to make a couple of pretty tough ones ... sleeping rough, even if intermittently, can't be any fun). I've seen him every week or ten days, we've chatted, but it wouldn't be fair on him to take up valuable begging time for too long. He tells me that the police have pretty much indicated that they're getting fed up with giving warnings, and might have to start taking stronger action.

So to tonight. I was out later than normal, getting back to the tube station around 2215. He's not at the tube, but lurking at the bus-stop outside. He looks incredibly dejected - the most depressed I've ever seen him. Says he's been thrown out again, and had been hoping to see me for days (flattery gets him a long way - but I'm sure there's some truth in it). Says he's spent the last two nights sleeping rough in the doorway of the flats opposite (and it looks like it). fresh blood on his face - he says his father came looking for him to beat him up some more (I'm cynical enough to think that he probably just picks at the scab on his nose to increase the impact of his tale).

He tells me he's about 140th on the Council accomodation waiting list, that he's been to the domestic Violence unit, and that no-one seems able to do anything for him. (I don't believe much of this). He asks for my number - first time he's asked. Hiding inner debate I give it to him, he texts me, I reply. Now there's a link (scary).
Reminds me that he's HIV+ from birth (possible, but I don't beleve it: part of the sales pitch is probably more likely). Says he's so low that he agreed to go home with a guy last night, the guy turned nasty when he got cold feet in the street outside, and things could have got very difficult has a passer-by not intervened (I'm guessing something like it happened, but probably less dramatic, and probably not last night). I tell him I'm gay, and not to EVER let himself be harrased or forced into doing anything he didn't want to (yes, telling him that is a risk and scary as well).

So, as usual, he wants to get to his Mum's. He says he has just over £1, and the coach is £28. I believe he has no money - if he had, it would have been spent on food if he has any sense, or drugs (though I don't think so). So, I ask him to walk me to the cash machine. We chat for the ten-minute walk. I tell him I've been lucky, I guess, but that my own father was violently abusive at times, that I was fairly wild in my teens when it came to sex 'n drugs etc, and that while I've never slept rough for longer than three nights, I've come scarily close to it. All of which is, of course, true. At the cashpoint, he makes a point of standing where he could not possibly see my PIN number, and comments that he's doing so. I don't tell him that this card - a pre-paid Mastercard - is one I keep alongside my travel card, only ever has £50 on it, and is effectively a decoy in the event that I get mugged again or coerced: I have lived in the City for quite a while now, and do have some idea of basic survival stuff. I give him £40 - enough for some food on top of the fare (if indeed that's what he'll spend it on).

We walk back. He asks about my walking-stick, and I'm ovbiously walking more slowly and in more pain. I explain I have a fucked back, and often rely on painkillers. He asks about these in detail, about whether I'm addicted to the codeine in paracetamol&codeine, about what opiates I take when things get really dire. I tell him they'll only prescribe three days worth at a time (false, but a sensible precaution, though it's the first time I've lied to him), and I worry about addiction (true). He's clearly reacting, but I can't tell what it means. (are his parents smack-heads? in which case the HIV story becomes more probable. Or is the fact that he's lost so much weight a sign he's now taking it himself?).

And I explain that there are limits to how I can help, and as I'm too disabled to work full-time, there are times when I have no money (he already knows and accepts this). That as a gay man, I'm not gonna invite him home, or cross certain boundaries. That I appreciate his behaviour at the cashpoint, and that he has never hassled me or tried to push is luck, has always seemed pleased to chat.

We part outside the tube. Almost the last thing he says - almost throway - is "I just want a chance to start making a decent life for myself". That appears to come from the heart, that is why this kid has got to me in a way the other assorted street kids I've given assorted bits of cash to over the years never have. We hug, and I remind him that there are people in the world that care.

So now I'm sitting here, an emotional wreck, not knowing what to make of it all, where I'm coming from or where I'm going, and tears are streaming down my face. Not wracking sobs - just quiet tears.



I've re-read the above. I'm gonna press "submit". If I have regrets in the morning about doing so, I hope to God they are the only regrets I'll have from tonight.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: tears streaming down my face ...  [message #59956 is a reply to message #59955] Fri, 04 December 2009 04:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Benji is currently offline  Benji

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: August 2007
Messages: 297



I hear you, it sometimes difficult to figure if you have a real situation on your hands or a scammer. Feel good that even if he is a scammer you have done good in your heart. When I was able I donated to homeless street teens for the last 10 years, unfortunately I am now retired and cannot do such, but I have had at least 16 homeless teens living in our household over the past 7 years. They have all left now, hopefully to better 'starts in life' I have only heard from three of them in which that was the case. The rest I have no idea, but figure they will at some point let me know how they are. I should suggest that if he is looking for a train ride, not give him money but the ticket instead, and perhaps see him off to quell any fears that he is scamming you. Best of luck to you, know that your heart is in the right place in what you do.
Re: tears streaming down my face ...  [message #59958 is a reply to message #59955] Fri, 04 December 2009 07:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



The anger part is separate, isn't it? But it's linked in, somehow?

What I'd like to know is why you feel strange posting this when 99% of it is something that is as good as it can be?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: tears streaming down my face ...  [message #59960 is a reply to message #59958] Fri, 04 December 2009 07:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



timmy wrote:
> The anger part is separate, isn't it? But it's linked in, somehow?

The anger part is not peripheral to how I feel. I suffered from my fathers frequent anger, and now I have had one of my occasional bouts face-to-face with that beast within myself. It's gonna take a couple of weeks before I'm sure the cage is firmly welded shut again - I've got to look at what let it out. Lifestyle, failure to remember some of the anger management stuff, level of stress and commitment: all the usual stuff. And, of course, I am still scared about it, and hate myself for it. Let's just say it's a state of extreme emotional vulnerability.

This kid - hell, this somewhat curious and situational but still very much a friend of mine - is also suffering from his fathers frequent fits of anger. So, my friend is a representation of a younger, more vulnerable version of myself, and I've got to be careful not to project that representation into reality. That is on top of the basic human connection, and the "there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-went-I".

I don't worry about being scammed. I worry that whether the money is spent on drugs or train fares, he's someone that I care about (albeit in a limited sense)and empathise with (right at this moment, far too much) who is in a bad place. I worry that the risk of physical assault, or accusation of sexual assault/blackmail, is too significant for me to let him know where I live, offer him a meal, do those human things it would feel natural to do.

For whatever reason, this friend is peering over the edge of a precipice. It almost certainly isn't the exact spot on the edge of the precipice that he tells me it is, and it isn't the same spot as I stood at at a similar age. But it IS the same precipice.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: tears streaming down my face ...  [message #59961 is a reply to message #59960] Fri, 04 December 2009 07:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



You have my number, if that is any help at all.

Anger is a peculiar thing. It is sometimes required in order to let other emotions run their course. But you know that, and you know that it is what we do with anger and how we channel it that is important. But this sounds, from your description, like misdirected rage, and that you are worried because you allowed it to boil over, and that the rage also probably caused you some minor or major embarrassment. I even suspect that the thing you raged at or about was probably so small as for you to wonder why it ever even irritated you?

And, set against this, is the awful helplessness we feel when waiting for someone who truly needs some sort of help to become ready to be helped.

I know what you mean about not worrying about being scammed. I get scammed emotionally because I have not yet put myself in the position of being scammed in a cash kind of way. And it doesn't matter. Or it doesn't as long as we understand how to limit the effects.

I know this kid is a friend, probably in a more meaningful sense than those who would see themselves as friends. I know he is walking towards you. Neither of us yet knows why he is walking towards you, or where the journey will go if he ever walks beside you. All you can do is stay true to yourself and be constant in your efforts to keep him safe in the small way that any of us can influence another sentient creature. It is the constancy that will allow him, one day, to trust you enough to be ready for proper help.

And you have no idea yet what that proper help is.

And you are not your father. Nor are you his father. You're just a decent bloke whose armour isn't as thick as he thinks.

[Updated on: Fri, 04 December 2009 11:33]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
"constancy"  [message #59962 is a reply to message #59961] Fri, 04 December 2009 09:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



Thanks, timmy

The anger? The embarrassment? Well, the proximate cause doesn't really matter - it was something that I think did justify getting thoroughly pissed off over, but nothing ever justifies that level of loss of control. Embarrassment is over the collateral damage, as it's affected several other things I've done.

The really valuable thing for me in your post was that you have cystallised the idea of "constancy". That's something I aim for (and some of why losing my temper hurts so much). And that "constancy" really does express what I want to offer the lad, and what I think he needs.

I'd been searching for a way to put that into words, I think. It's clearly not "unconditional love" - I've put, for all kinds of reasons, some very clear boundaries in place about what I will and won't, can and can't do.

And yet, in a sense, in the very limited field that I've defined, I hope that he understands that there *is* some unconditionality. I don't expect him to tell me truth. I'm entirely resigned to hanging around in the rain waiting to accompany him to the housing office, and for him not to show up. If he spends what I give him on drugs, I won't lecture him, or think worse of him. I will try hard to appreciate his good points, and not to judge whatever he feels he has to do in order to survive. So yes, within the limits I've set, "constancy" is a very good way of expressing the overlap between his apparent needs and what I feel able to offer.

NW



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: "constancy"  [message #59966 is a reply to message #59962] Fri, 04 December 2009 11:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



You can put the anger and collateral damage right with a simple apology for having had a really crap day and for becoming overwhelmed by something outside your control. And apologising.

And, if you are constant, including constant with boundaries, the kid will respect that, and may let you be of real help. Or he may not. Who can know except the boy himself?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: tears streaming down my face ...  [message #59970 is a reply to message #59955] Fri, 04 December 2009 13:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



By the greatest of ironies, the paperwork on my desk today is a "CRB Disclosure Application Form" - ie the thing I need to fill in so that I can be checked to ensure that I don't have a criminal record rendering me unfit to work with children or vulnerable adults.

Why is the system so focussed on protecting kids up to 16, and so damn callous once they hit that age? Aaargh!



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59974 is a reply to message #59955] Fri, 04 December 2009 20:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



First text came through mid-afternoon, asking if I could meet him: I was a little surprised it took him that long. So, after various rounds of him texting me, me calling him, I did meet him after work. I think I made it quite clear that I neither believed his story about why he was still in London, nor cared! He asked me to call him when I got to the tube, and in the 12 minutes it took him to get there he texted me four times saying not to leave - he was on his way!

I bought him a bite to eat at the chippie next to the tube. That was good: that was real: he clearly *was* hungry, no "story" there. He said that he'd left his pack at his mate's place, and had to ring his mate. No credit on his phone, of course - and I said I'd rather he didn't use mine, to which he instantly replied that he understood that I didn't want strange numbers on my phone. He clearly understands some of the same rules as I do. So I gave him loose change for the phone at the tube station, stayed in the chippie myself. The owner asked whether I knew the kid, said that he always had a lot of different stories ... I said that Id rather gathered that, and that I was being fairly careful, I hoped!

So, the kid had to go "collect his pack" - the place he'd said it was was in my general direction, and we walked down together. He asked where I lived, accepted it when I said I preferred not to say. That led to the rather surreal experience of the two of us walking straight past my front door ...

Oh, the money thing. I've laid it on the line that I'll always try hard to be there for him, but sometimes I have money and sometimes I don't. He *said* he understands, then surprised me by saying that as it was the start of the month he guessed I'd just been paid and that's why I'd been able to help him last night! I also laid it on the line that he was lucky today, but if I'm in meetings all day my phone is turned off, so I might not get texts until 5 or 6 o'clock: not to worry if I don't instantly reply.

While typing this, I've had a text saying "thanks"!

So, I'm a little clearer now. He is clearly very intelligent, very adaptable, and very fucked-up in the head. All of which I can relate to rather better than I'd like ... Yup, he's tried pushing the boundaries today - I would have been astonished if he had not - but not really pushed very hard. I feel rather more confident that I'll be able to handle whatever I've let myself in for without excessive risk of endangering my sanity or wellbeing.

I will remember "constancy", and hope that it meets his needs better than "quantity".



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59975 is a reply to message #59974] Fri, 04 December 2009 21:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



We need, sometimes, someone on whom we can rely. He seems to have chosen you as one of those people. You're not threatening, but you also don't give an inch.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59976 is a reply to message #59975] Fri, 04 December 2009 21:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



timmy wrote:
> (snip) but you also don't give an inch.

It's not always the most attractive characteristic, admittedly - though it does, as in this case, have its merits.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59977 is a reply to message #59974] Fri, 04 December 2009 22:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
acam is currently offline  acam

On fire!
Location: UK
Registered: July 2007
Messages: 1849



Dear NW,

I admire you for trying. I fear for you. I would like to trust the boy to behave but I don't think I could because I don't think he will.

The nearest I've come to what you are doing has brought heartache and tears. I've been let down too.

And I agree with you, too. I feel helpless and yet I'd like to help. Bristol too has many homeless.

Love,
Anthony
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59978 is a reply to message #59976] Fri, 04 December 2009 22:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



I was thinking about it in context Smile



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59982 is a reply to message #59977] Fri, 04 December 2009 22:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



acam wrote:
> Dear NW,
>
> I admire you for trying. I fear for you. I would like to trust the boy to behave but I don't think I could because I don't think he will.

I don't in the least trust him to behave, nor to tell the truth - at least, not in words, though I'd like to think that the unsaid things, the body language, and my perception of his underlying self is all fairly close to the mark.

I have, as best I know, tried to set things up so that the consequences of his likely misbehaviour will not be catastrophic for either of us, nor make it impossible to recover from the effects of misbehaviour or adolescent stupidity. I have, I hope, excluded him from things where I do risk catastrophe (we met, for example, at the tube: I was leaning on a lamp-post not because standing is tiring, but because it's well-illuminated and covered by the station CCTV - I am not sure if he realised that was why I was where I was!). It remains to be seen how successful this has been.

It isn't something I'd normally do, and I'm slightly at a loss to know exactly how he's touched me in a way other similar kids have not. Like most of us (I suspect) I normally "contract out" my compassion to the voluntary/charitable sector - in my case, by standing order to Barnardo's and Action on Brazil's Children.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59983 is a reply to message #59982] Fri, 04 December 2009 23:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Macky is currently offline  Macky

Really getting into it
Location: USA
Registered: November 2008
Messages: 973



NW,

You are a saint.

Thank you for sharing this experience with all of us. I am learning a lot about you and Timmy from watching your exchange. I am learning a lot for myself by seeing what you are doing.

It seems that you are uniquely qualified to safely help this kid because of your work. You seem to be very aware of the care that must be taken. And all of this is at no small inconvenience to yourself. I'm proud to know you.

You've inspired me to make a contribution to the local homeless shelter.

Macky



Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
Ps 133:1 NASB
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59984 is a reply to message #59983] Fri, 04 December 2009 23:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



Thanks, Macky - glad that you've felt inspired to support your local shelter!

I must disclaim any pretence at being anything out of the ordinary, however - save perhaps that I have learned the hard way that expressing one's own vulnerability can sometimes give a greater strength than pretending one is invulnerable.

NW



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Vulnerability  [message #59986 is a reply to message #59984] Sat, 05 December 2009 09:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
acam is currently offline  acam

On fire!
Location: UK
Registered: July 2007
Messages: 1849



Yes, NW how right you are!

You wrote:
"I must disclaim any pretence at being anything out of the ordinary, however - save perhaps that I have learned the hard way that expressing one's own vulnerability can sometimes give a greater strength than pretending one is invulnerable."

It would only be a pretence, wouldn't it? And I don't know when I learned to say "I'm sorry. I was wrong." but I did though it was not a lesson my father could teach me. I don't remember him ever admitting he was wrong! It was a serious weakness I now think.

I just erased two sentences lest I embarrass you.

Just love,
Anthony

[Updated on: Sun, 06 December 2009 11:37]

Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59990 is a reply to message #59983] Sat, 05 December 2009 22:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



I hope you are learning about yourself first and NW second. I see very little to learn about me here, though Smile



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59991 is a reply to message #59990] Sat, 05 December 2009 23:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Macky is currently offline  Macky

Really getting into it
Location: USA
Registered: November 2008
Messages: 973



Yes, learning about me is most important. Still, there is a lot to appreciate in observing how you advise, and how NW takes care.

And it shows me a lot about you. First, you counsel NW about his own feelings with his anger incident. Then you mention constancy as the tactic for helping the young fellow. That says 1) Your paramount concern is for NW and 2. You ever so delicately warn against acquiring a 'messiah complex' by intimating that the only thing that can be done for the kid is to be there, be careful, and hope for the best.

That says a lot about you in my book. Or am I just building Luftschlösser?

Macky



Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
Ps 133:1 NASB
Re: Well, today was ... interesting.  [message #59992 is a reply to message #59991] Sun, 06 December 2009 08:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



in order to help someone it must be done within a framework that makes the helped person feel safe. A set of basic ground rules to which one is constant create that feeling of a safe framework. It's like training puppies.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Being non-threatening and not giving an inch ...  [message #59995 is a reply to message #59975] Sun, 06 December 2009 19:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Gay Deceiver is currently offline  The Gay Deceiver

Really getting into it
Location: Canada
Registered: December 2003
Messages: 869




... are the two most important elements in the paradigm of the relationship which is developing between N.W.® and this youth.

Three years ago, just prior to it being determined that I might quite possibly have my vision, even if only partially, restored I came upon Ryan, a not-quite aged 16 year old youth, whom I could not see but whose voice resonated with warmth, sincerity and at one and the same time, uncertainty.

Our meeting was in the aftermath of my heart attack, and my having faced the surety of the resultant blindness, and my having had made whatever adjustments were going to be necessary in order to function as near normal as the situation would allow.

Thrice daily, regardless of the weather, I had taken to walking "Lucky" (or rather she, me), my Staffordshire Terrier, on the grounds of either of two churches abutting where I then resided. The least sheltered, and enclosed, of these being Saint Stephen's Anclican Church which two days weekly hosted a local Food Bank. The other, a Baptist Church whose name escapes me is wholly fenced in. I would alternate between them.

On what transpired was a Food Bank day, I, and Lucky, became entangled in brambles adjacent to the main thoroughfare to the church. Ryan, seeing my distress (although not yet aware that I was blind) came to Lucky's and mine rescue. Once freed, and back on firm footing, Ryan enquired if I knew where the Food Bank, supposedly somewhere around the church proper, was located. Lucky and I escorted him to the back of the building and the appropriate entryway into the basement of the church where he could receive service. Somewhere between coming to my aid and the back door he took notice of my being unsighted (I could sense this, although he never uttered a word about it), and asked if he could be of any further assistance to me. I thanked him, saying no, handed him my card, a ten-dollar bill, and told him to call me and let me know he was taken care of, all the while Lucky and I were preparing to walk the several hundred yards to the side door of my apartment building.

Several days later he called, asking if he might drop by to visit. He did, and would continue to do so with some frequency. During the intervening months, it became apparent Ryan was addicted to "crack-cocaine", and more probably "hustling" to make ends meet, with Philip (my Business Manager) and my eldest son Alan, both of whom resided with me, cautioning me so, and keeping an eye on him; this quite ironically, or so it seems in retrospect, as he neither suborned me for money, nor took nothing he was not entitled to do so from my premises; this too, not-with-standing that he would take the occasional meal with the "family" and once or twice in a 10-day period sleep over. Additionally, it was during this period in his and my acquaintance that I first received news of a potential treatment for, and subsequently underwent surgery to restore, my vision. During the months of my convalescence Ryan was in daily contact, and often in attendance, with him sharing his family difficulties, and my finally getting to meet his mother and her then "homme-du-jour".

I dissemble far too much; but purposefully, as my having been entirely "non-threatening" and "my not having given an inch" to his atypical teen-aged behaviour throughout this time period which most assuredly gave rise to his making the Judge and Crown Attorney aware of my existence when asking to be granted "Emancipated Teen" status later that year, at one and the same time as he dealt with outstanding juvenile criminal charges he continued to face.

I was ordered to appear before the court, apprised of the circumstances of my being there, and his, and asked if I would stand as his legal Guardian and Responsible Adult should the courts grant his request to become an emanicpated teen. I learned too, that primarily because it was Ryan's wish that I undertake to do, that the court would seriously consider his request. To cut to the chase, I did, he did and the courts did, and some three years on, Ryan is now entirely free of his drug-addiction, has resided in my home on and off throughout, and is currently domiciled in Vancouver with his mother, a stone's throw from his father who lives in neighbouring Alberta.

Just what the future holds for Ryan, and any future contact remains to be seen. What is certain is that he likely would not have survived either his drug-addiction or his uncertain home-life without "freely given", interested, yet passive, intervention, if and when he cared to ask for it.

H.W.® you are most likely at a crossroads in your relationship with this youth. Continue to be firm; re-enforce the boundaries, and adhere to them unwaveringly. Be compassionate, at one and the same time as you show resolve. Be interested, but do not be nagging in that interest. Above all, be responsible. Be the adult, and guide him in making the adult decisions he needs to make.

Warren C. E. Austin
The Gay Deceiver
Toronto, Canada

[Updated on: Sun, 06 December 2009 19:42]




"... comme recherché qu'un délice callipygian"
Re: Being non-threatening and not giving an inch ...  [message #59996 is a reply to message #59995] Sun, 06 December 2009 19:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1553



Thank you so much for sharing that - much kudos to you. I'm not sure whether or not I can make a difference to this lad, but you've very much reassured me that I'm going about things in the right way.

NW



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Being non-threatening and not giving an inch ...  [message #59997 is a reply to message #59996] Sun, 06 December 2009 20:01 Go to previous message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13659



You have made a difference already. But you'll never know what it is, he won't know either. But you've helped him do something, or to avoid doing something, or given him a bit more resolve to do what he has to do, or the chance to think about doing what he wants to do.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
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