How do you ask for help?
It’s taken me almost fifty years to figure out how to do it; I’ve had a determined “I-can-do-it-on-my-own” approach to every aspect of my life, for most of it. A punk version of DIY, I suppose. Fiercely determined to be fiscally independent (although, twice, in my twenties, I’ve had to borrow money to pay off credit card debts). I went alone to the biopsies and mammograms, even that one time when I had both breasts aspirated; afterwards, I almost fainted AND I had an emotional reaction. The nurse sat patiently with me, rubbing my back while urging me to drink. It was the ultimate kindness from a stranger; were I to see her now, I would not recognize her, and yet, she is an important part of my history. I learned then that I ought to have someone with me when I went to a hospital; that person to hold my hand, to help me feel just a little bit better, the way someone who loves you, who is your friend does. That one episode came with some tough talk from my best friends, who upon learning of how wobbly I was on the subway, gave me a lecture. It didn’t occur to me that I could ask for their help, so ingrained my approach to doing it on my own. I didn’t want to burden anyone, to take them away from their daily routine of work or whatever. Thank goodness for my friends. It has been my friends who have shown me there is grace in asking for and accepting help. While I was pregnant—about to embrace solo parenthood—, my girlfriends rallied around me: one woman raised money to pay for a doula, another friend put a baby-naming book together, my two best girlfriends threw my baby shower. Still. All of that, including the asking of favors wrapped in the urgency of help, came with a narrowing eye on my backbone; I dreaded being a mooch, which is what kept me from asking for help, kept me from complaining, kept me in the Sunshine State of denial that I needed someone to hold my hand. In the years since becoming a mother, the onus has wafted. Asking for help feels less like an inadequate quality of mine, as it did when I was child free. Now, as everything I do is on behalf of my family, I can accept help, as well as ask for it. “Can my daughter have a playdate with yours?” was an ask I often, needing a place for my daughter to be while I continued working. That newfound humility without the humiliation has come into full view this past year, when it seems like I need help with something almost every week, whether it’s asking the Super in my building to replace lightbulbs or asking my mentor for a professional introduction. For me, now in this part of my life, asking for help is not a reflection of a quality lacking; rather it’s a sign of growth. And for me, being able to grow is as welcome as the help I receive.
Pink: “Women in music don’t need to step up — women have been stepping up since the beginning of time.”
Whitney Cummings: “The death of a parent tends to make you wonder if you were destined to follow in his footsteps or repeat his mistakes, but the wolves showed me that maybe the apple can fall far from the tree.”
Oh, Diane Keaton.
Gamechangers, which includes my daughter.
Also, Melania Trump.
Tap into your inner French Woman.
Dieting and Data, a love story.
Loss for Profit.
For the Shameless fan in you.
These Anya Hindmarch sneakers!
And now have a laugh with Nikki Glaser.