Asking For Help Is Not a Sign of Weakness

I was always taught that I should be able to take care of myself, that I need to be able to look out for number one because no one else would. In truth, that is not an unfair or unrealistic statement, but I realized that in my years of adulthood, I have a very difficult time asking for assistance when it comes to matters of life and the heart. This mentality somewhat ties into my Paladins write-up about not wanting to be a burden to another person or admitting that you cannot always be the strong one that others look up to.

There is a large portion of my life that is dedicated to connecting with people whether that be through professional or personal connections. I enjoy networking and I find it rewarding when I cross paths with someone who has similar interests as myself. One of the best things about meeting and e-meeting people is that you establish connections all over the world. Even better, you find that many of these people are genuinely good people.

Fun fact: I don’t like bothering people.

Time and time again, I have conversations that goes like this:

Me: Yeah, that part of my life was incredibly rough. I don’t know how I survived that.

Friend: Why didn’t you ask for help???

Me: I didn’t want to bug people with my issues.

Friend: DUDE. Ask for help! Friend help out friends. That’s what we do!

Similar conversations have happened in the past, and I can’t count how many times they’ve occurred. I would say that my reluctance to ask for help is comprised of many feelings and emotions including stubbornness, pride, and fear. The last one is a big one. I   have two fears when it comes to asking people for help. One, I’m scared of being rejected and two, I’m scared that some form of payment is expected at a later time even though this help is being offered to me under the guise of friendship/ the goodness of someone’s heart. There have been many times in my life when accepting help from someone has backfired on me later down the road. It’s essentially “well, I did this for during that time you needed me. Now you owe me.” That is a very scary statement if you think about it.

I’ve learned to shed the poisons out of my life, but a small level of paranoia stays in the back of my mind. In present day, I find myself in a pivotal moment in my life. I know what I want to do, and I know what I need to do, but I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot do it alone. As much as I want to be the epitome of unwavering strength, I have to think about my life in realistic terms. I have to understand that yes, I am strong, but I don’t have to carry the weight of life and the world on my own every waking moment.

I asked for help. And I’m getting it. And while I’m still scared, I don’t feel nearly as alone as I did. I am reminded that I am loved, and that I have good people in my life. These people understand me, and understand the difficulties and the hardships I am experiencing. I had a good talk with a friend and she told me she believed in me. I was nearly brought to tears because I had felt so much weight lifted off of me. I could literally breathe easier. And she’s not the only one who is willing to stop moments of her life for me. That hit me so hard, and realizing that these people care that much about me made me feel like I can take anything on. How is that weak? It isn’t. It was empowering. Knowing when you need that little extra bit of help, and lowering your guard in order to initiate the request is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of strength. It’s, I suppose, a form of baring yourself and allowing vulnerability for a moment or two.

I am in a very odd cross section in my life, and I don’t know if what I wrote made any sense. I’ve been thrown a lot of obstacles in the past year, and I am finding out more and more about myself and how I want to live my life. Hurdles, epiphanies, heartache, disappointment, and doubt have filled my mind in recent days, but I buckled down and told myself I can push through all of it. I just need a little help.

And I’m getting it.

And I am grateful for it. Forever and always.

Friendly reminder that you are not alone in your fight

Allow me to preface this with I, personally, am all right and this doesn’t have to do with my own life; however, I was reminded that people need this reminder.

Whether it is physical, mental, sexual, emotional… abuse is abuse. If someone beats you, if someone breaks you down to the point where you feel you are nothing, if someone forces them on you, if someone makes you believe you are worthless through telling you so every day, that is abuse. It also doesn’t matter if this is coming from a romantic partner, a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance. You do not have to put up with that. The Domestic Violence National Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. If you need to use it, then use it.

I’ve seen and heard so many different scenarios and it’s all scary. A friend of mine was afraid to leave her (thankfully now) ex-husband because he threatened to kill her if she left. Another friend was convinced all she was good for was being a bank account and cuddle buddy to her (thankfully now) ex-boyfriend. He called her names, was an alcoholic, put his hands on her violently and she put up with that for years. A male friend was married to someone who threatened to kill herself if he left her, yet she did everything possible to destroy their marriage. And I mean everything. She was embarrassed to be seen with him in social gatherings because he wasn’t as attractive as her or her friends. Her words. And she told him that constantly.

People who haven’t experienced an abusive relationship or haven’t been directly affected by a loved one suffering from that won’t quite understand why this goes on for so long. Abuse consumes you. That’s the best way I can describe it. The negativity, the threats, the insults, that environment becomes your world without you knowing it. Being treated that way becomes your normal. It’s not a sudden change; it’s gradual and it slowly contaminates your life. You don’t realize it’s bad for you until either your life is in danger or some other events jolts your from your reality. On top of realizing you’re in an unhealthy/dangerous relationship, you also have to process getting out and leaving what you considered normal for X amount of time. That is scary and sometimes scarier than dealing with the abuse itself. Your entire world will have to change.

1) If you’re going through abuse, don’t feel that you’re alone in that fight. Others are experiencing the same things as you.

2) Help is available. Whether you have to call that hotline or call the police or run away to a friend’s house, someone will help you. Safe havens are available to those who need it.

3) It is a life altering moment when you realize you need to leave a situation. Acknowledge that you need to leave and stick with that decision. When it comes to abuse, things don’t get better, they get worse. Abusive people will say and do whatever they can to keep you in the same spot which is under their heel (sometimes, literally), but that fake niceness only lasts for so long. Do not fall for that.

4) You deserve better. And there is better out there. It may not seem like it in the beginning, but trust me, once you leave, you will feel liberated. You may not have an exact plan to get back on your feet, but the first step is getting away, allowing yourself to breathe, and coming to terms that you are indeed precious and you will find people who will treat you that way.

5) I went through a lot in my life. Not as bad as some, but I have experienced enough to know that things do get better. You have to be the one that makes the first step to leave. Don’t stay. Life is too short. Live for you.

6) You can do this. I know you can.

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My friend needs some assistance getting cochlear implants for her ears

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A very dear friend of mine is need of a cochlear implant. In short, it makes sure that she can hear. I became friends with Rose in high school and we bonded over Lord of the Rings if you can believe it. I learned that she had issues with her hearing ever since she was a child and at the time, specialists told her that she would lose all hearing by the time she reached the age we are now.

I remember the first time she had a new set of these implants and she called me to tell me the news. After a few words were exchanged she went “holy cow…I can hear you, Jackie. I can actually HEAR your real voice for the first time!” And this was years after we met. Though I knew about her condition, it never really hit me that she could never truly hear me. The way she described it was that I sounded like a robot most of the time. Even to this day, I cannot comprehend what she experienced. 

When my grandmother passed, we all went to dinner and Rose stood up on front of the entire restaurant and sang an Italian song for us in my grandmother’s honor. She sang in perfect pitch. My dad (it was his mother who passed away) is a bit older now and he always tells me, “Jackie… I don’t remember what she looks like, but I remember how she sounded and what she did. I will remember that for the rest of my life.” 

Now Rose is in need of new cochlear implants but her insurance won’t cover the costs for them. She could really use help and I so love her with all my heart. If you can donate or share this, she would really appreciate it. If you can donate, please do so here. If you cannot, spreading the word is just as effective.