What No One Tells You About Asking for Help

What No One Tells You About Asking for Help

What no one tells you about asking for help when you desperately need it is that most people? Actually REALLY want you to.

I know. Step back. You’re probably remembering your friend Shirley right now who scoffed in your face when you asked her something painfully mundane, like, to pass the salt, thinking, “Shirley definitely doesn’t want me to ask her for help!” Well surely there are Shirleys out there who are shameful charlatans when it comes to helping humankind. (Yes, I do enjoy dropping alliterations behind me like a trail of bread crumbs, thanks for noticing!) But Shirleys of the world aside, most people are good and caring at heart. (My most sincere apologies to any readers out there who are actually named Shirley. I’m sure you’re lovely.)

So if people are so willing to help, what is the real issue? Why do we all feel that lump of pride sheepherding our pleas of need back down our gullets before they get within two inches of the atmosphere?

I have news for you. It’s not them. It’s you. (Okay, sometimes it’s them. RE: Shirley.) But most of the time it’s because we don’t know how to ask.

This past week, I needed help. My husband Mandalf was leaving on a much needed respite, and I had no one to help take care of me. Ugh. I still retch in my mouth a bit at that thought. Needing someone to take care of me at thirty. But I digress.

So I swallowed my pride and reached out to an amazing group of women, plainly asking them to take time out of their busy lives and come stay with me. I had not one, but THREE “hell, yes!” responses, and a fourth couldn’t take off work, but generously loaned her car since ours would be hanging out at JFK airport.

Flash forward a week later to when they arrived, and I found out they had always wanted to help. They just didn’t know what I needed. Because I NEVER ASKED FOR IT.

Immediate interior monologue: “You mean all this time, all those years when I felt so isolated, so cut off from the world because of a disease that kept me housebound, it was all because I didn’t know how to plainly put out what I needed? Gah! Pesky pride! A pox on your house… wait. I am the house. Scratch that…. Be gone, ye scallywag! Pesky pride. <Snort.>” 

Asking for help is hard. When you’re chronically ill, you’re assailed with tsunami-force waves of guilt. Feeling like a burden. Feeling like you should be able to handle it on your own. Feeling angry at yourself that you can’t swallow this life-altering illness with complete ease and grace.

(Newsflash: You’re human. Not a droid. Although I suspect C-3PO wouldn’t be able to handle it either… super whiney, am I right? I, myself, am a die-hard R2D2 fan.)

So think about what you really need. And if you’re ready, try opening up. Be vulnerable. Let the world in. I promise, it won’t run shrieking like a kid from a haunted house. People really DO want to help. You just need to tell them how.

Until next time,

The Foda

Nature, I Reclaim You

“Nature, I Reclaim You”

Nature. I reclaim you.

I reclaim your sweet smelling grasses, your sappy stalks.

I reclaim your golden, radiant warmth, and cool, refreshing breath.

I reclaim the musky scent of earth beneath my feet, the balm of your salty oceans.

I reclaim it all, all your majesty, majesty I have quaked from in fear of one life-altering parasite, the one that stole my health without so much as a thank you, and left me bereft in the dark.

Too long have I let fear keep me from your life-giving beauty.

Too long have I denied myself the restorative serenity of your face.

Today, I reclaim this right.

I will be incarcerated no more.

I will feel your life on my face.

I will let your breezes fan my skin.

I will imbibe the ancient and breathtaking beauty that is you.

Nature. I reclaim you.

…..Bug spray. You’ll come too.

You Have a Gift to Give the World

I have a gift to give to the world. 

Say that out loud. I have a gift to give to the world. Now spin around three times in front of a mirror and when you open your eyes, you will see…

Han Solo standing roguishly next to your very own Mini Cooper!!!

Just kidding. You’ll see you.

But if you do see a royal blue Mini Cooper with white racing stripes, well, DIBS! But I digress.

I’ve been MIA for the past month because my stomach- forevermore dubbed “the Sarlacc”- decided to turn into the pit of Carkoon, and not accept anything other than broth and bread without violently spitting it back out. This caused me to go off all my medication, with the exception of two lovely bicillin shots a week (which, if you don’t know, go straight in your rump. Yowza!) And yet, as the huge quantities of medicine fled my system like Sand People spying a Krayt Dragon, my head began to clear, and I- despite the whole living on broth part- began to feel more like, well, ME.

Which is great, because on top of my newest affirmation “Surrender is Freedom”, as mentioned in my last post (click here to read), I have a new one.

I have a gift to give the world.

Now, this one is huge. Because to give a gift, you have to have something to give. And when you’re struggling with a chronic illness, you often feel so depleted, so desecrated, that you have nothing left even remotely worthy to offer the world. This usually spurs a kind of self-loathing. And I am going to be really honest with you, folks– until attending a transformative conference at the Omega Institute, I had a lot of that self-loathing.

Enter interior monologue: I am weak. My body is crippled. I am a burden to all around me. I have nothing to offer. I am helpless. Useless. I will never be of value again until I am healed. 

Feel the indignation as you read those words? You probably wanted to smack me upside the head and say: “now, wait just a dang minute! That’s plumb crazy talk!” (Oh, you’re also a character out of a Clint Eastwood Western… apparently.)  And you’re right. It is crazy talk. But it was the tape running through my head, until I realized…

Just because I’m sick doesn’t mean I can’t love myself. Because I have gifts to give the world. And they have nothing to do with whether or not my legs work. They have nothing to do with whether I need a wheelchair to go out, or my husband to drive me places. Because who I am– my purpose, my value– transcends far beyond my body’s limitations.

I have a gift to give the world. And you know what? You do, too.

Well, dang, don’t that feel good. So go on. Find yours. Give yourself a celebratory hand gun salute. (Literally. Literally hand-gun. As in imaginary guns made out of your thumb and index finger. Just to be clear.) So ask yourself. What is your gift?

Yee-haw! (Pshew, pshew, pshew!) <—- Firing into the air

The Foda