Ok, I guess I never really listened that closely to the lyrics of the very famous The Beatle’s song, “Help,” but when I heard it the other day, it dawned on me that John and Paul obviously wrote it when they themselves were moms in their late 30’s who’d done SOME therapy, but clearly needed more, and were home-schooling their rotten children during an international pandemic.
I feel seen. ;)
I’ve been working hard over the past few years to allow myself to be more vulnerable, more trusting. To share more of myself and my needs. To realize I’m not OK all the time, and that’s OK. It’s OK not to be OK.
“I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured (but now these days are gone)
(And now I find) Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors
I have always resisted help, hated that I can’t manage every single thing on my own, with a smile, faster than anyone, better than most. I hate that this fucking load of life along with my anxiety and depression make me…require things of others. It feels wicked selfish….the unthinkable sin.
I fancy myself a helper, a server, a support, a guide, a muse. I pride myself on getting in and out, on taking up the least amount of space or anyone’s time or attention, and being most efficient and exacting in the things that I do. I find value in being useful, in having clear purpose, and in being needed by others. My perfectionisms- being just enough academically and professionally rigorous, fit, pretty, charming, etc (but no so much that it’s presumptuous/arrogant)-is further effort to do right by others, to fit into a narrow slot and NOT to take up any more space than necessary. It’s essential that I’m not needing too much, not too noticable, not requiring too much care. I don’t make a scene. No one should have to help me. That’s what I’m there for, to help others limp through, not the other way around.
But….I don’t want to and can’t do this alone anymore. I want to be healthy. I want to be whole. And I need help to get there. And…this I whisper…but I think maybe I’m worth helping?
I’ve been in an increasingly funky funk lately: joblessness, the end of our business, necessary full-time mothering/teaching, the mental, financial, physical, existential strain of the pandemic and election and the conflicts over civil rights…I’m hurting. I’m angry, scared, sad all the time. And so I reached out for help from my friends, from my community. And they told me they were glad I asked. And they showed up for me.
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ‘round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?”
I turn forty next week and I’m just learning that maybe it’s not a sign of total abject failure and weakness to ask for help. Not just from therapists, whom I pay to listen to my (whiny privileged white lady nonsense) troubles, but from…people who don’t gain anything at all from it.
Maybe everyone gets to ask for help? Or expect help, even? A very wise friend told me last night that if I truly think it’s weak sauce to ask for help from the people who love me when I’m struggling, than it must mean that am I judging all those whom I love when they come to me for help, right? God, no. Of course not. That’s what I’m there for. That’s what I want them to do.
Mmmmkkk….so do I see the disconnect?
I have a lotta lotta work to do to unravel the coils within me that say I’m only worth what I can do for others and to shut down that panic I feel when I have needs beyond what I can meet alone. I’m working on trusting people to show up reliably for me, even though I’m uncomfortable in the dynamic. I’m working on it. Working on me.