• 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 35 (Asking for Help)


    Friday, August 15, 2014

    Day 35 of 100 Days of Good Karma.

    I was tired today.  Really tired.  The effects of chemotherapy seem to take a few days to take their toll.

    So I paid someone to come clean the house.

    At first, I resisted hiring someone.

    I’m hopelessly stubborn sometimes.  I wanted to believe I could do it all.

    But things have slipped in the last month.

    I didn’t realize cancer would become a full time job so toilets have gone unscrubbed, floors needed to be mopped, the showers required some serious attention.

    I don’t want to spend my limited energy reserves doing these things.

    I want to write.  Or run.  Or play with the kids.

    So I made the call, and my house is clean.

    When I need help, asking is the hardest part.

    I hate asking for help.

    Hate it.

    In the last month, I’ve been overwhelmed with offers of help.  Everyone I’ve spoken to says, “Let me know if I can do anything.”

    I blink like a deer in headlights before remembering to smile and say ‘thank you’.

    I don’t know what to do with this sort of blank check.

    I know the offers are genuine.  That they come from a place of caring and kindness.

    I know people want to help, but they don’t know how.

    The truth is, I don’t know what to ask for and I feel like I’m taking advantage of people when I do ask.

    My friend Erica laughed when I told her this.  She’s said she’s going to make me a “Ways to Help Meghan” list.

    “Because,” she said, “you’ll never think to ask on your own.”

    And she’s right.

    Asking for help is hard because I don’t want to need help in the first place.

    Call it pride, stubbornness, conceit.

    I don’t know what it is.  I only know I suck at asking for help because:

    Asking for help is admitting I’ve lost control.

    It means all my carefully organized To Do lists, my color coded day planner, my timelines for completing everything and still making it to appointments on time, are all for shit.

    Asking for help makes me feel stupid and incompetent.

    I want to believe I’m an intelligent, independent person who can do everything for herself.  Feeling stupid and incompetent flies directly in the face of my self image.

    And then there’s this:

    What is the price for asking for help?  What is it going to cost me?

    That probably makes me sound like an asshole, but no one likes feeling indebted.

    I prefer accepting help when I can reciprocate in kind.  That’s problematic when I don’t know how I’m going to feel day to day.

    Asking for help is much harder when I don’t know if I’ll be able to return the favor.

    And then I get a reality check. 

    I keep returning to the reality that I do need help sometimes.  Everyone does.

    Like needing help cleaning the house.  Toilets, showers and floors were not going to scrub themselves.

    So I swallowed a large lump of pride and made the call.

    Today’s silver lining:  I love being in a clean house.  Even if I didn’t do it myself.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!


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19 Responsesso far.

  1. Linda says:

    I have had these same feelings — at a time when a lot of people said “Now, if there’s anything I can do. . .” or “If I can help in any way. . . ” you just let me know. It IS very difficult to ask for help. My lesson learned is this. When I want to help someone, I try to come up with a SPECIFIC offer (this involves really being observant about their situation and where the help is needed). “I will bring supper over tonight” or “I’ll stop by and do your laundry on Monday”, “I’m going to the grocery store, give me your grocery list.” I think (hope) that having gone through the other side of it has made me a better helper to others.

    • Meghan says:

      Yes, good call, Linda. Being specific helps a lot, both on the asking side and the giving side. I am trying to be more specific about the type of help I need, and in the future, I hope I’ll be of more use to others who are going through a time where they need help. Great comment!

  2. kalieris says:

    This is true for me too (right down to the color coded lists and the aversion to indebtedness). Love the “how to help Meghan” list. What a good friend!

  3. Erica says:

    I haven’t finished reading this one. It’s all about perspective. People love you and want to make every moment count. They want you to spend your time happy, not cleaning toilets. I was full term and Mike was out of state, I too hated asking for help but accepting an offer didn’t seen so bad. I enjoyed the company while someone washed dishes, cleaned the litter box or folded clothes. Oh and bless everyone who brought food!!
    I think it’s safe to say that people don’t know what to do but want to help, so let them love you by helping.
    You don’t owe a thing, cleaning de-stresses me, helps you, it was a win/win.
    I wrote a list, on a scratch pad.. I’ll make it electronic, then you don’t have to ask, just be kind enough to accept an offer when someone wants to lend a hand. It’s called a labor of love for a reason.

  4. Veronica Loftis says:

    Don’t think of it as getting “help”. Think of it as personal assistants doing what you don’t have time for

  5. Erica says:

    I oppose censorship but fine…

  6. If I were closer I would come and help you and you wouldn’t have to feel indebted because I’m your Aunt!! Would love to help but I can only give moral support from afar. Love You

    • Meghan says:

      I love moral support! We’ll have to arrange a trip to Texas for you. Talk to Debbie and Annette. We have plans for a few bottles of wine next summer. 😉

  7. Kkathy Talbert says:

    We all want to help because we truly love you and what hardvwork it is to be a momand all thecleaning cookingand running arund with kidsbandvall of the other hundreds of other responsibilities that require your attention. Im not the cook of thebfamily but I love kids. So just call mell

    • Meghan says:

      I know and I appreciate everything everyone has done for me more than I can say. I don’t know how I would have managed without the support of this big crazy family. It’s hard to ask, but I’m learning. Besides… the kids like your house more than mine. Aunt Kathy takes them horseback riding. 😉

  8. Cindy Smith says:

    On a FB post I offered dinner one day. That goes for a day when you might want some company or when you just can’t go any more and need something to feed the family. Send me a message and let me know what kinds of foods you guys like. I’m sure I can come up with a couple things that you can toss in the fridge or freezer if needed. (I had thought about you guys a couple of times recently – there was obviously a reason why!)

  9. Pat Sincox says:

    I feel a little metrosexual replying here, since I am the only dude in the post, but that has not stopped me in the past, nor likely to slow me down in the future. Meghan, you and I are cut from the same piece of cloth, it seems, on this account, any way. Meaning, it is always hard for us to ask for help. I may strain my back doing something stupid, but, by god, I did it by myself. Don’t do it, b%#$*!!!! You have so many doting friends…..lean on them!! I can guarantee you that WHEN you are all over this ordeal (and that IS pre-ordained), we all know that you are quite likely to be the first one in line to help the next person in the BLOG (or not) that is in need. Ask!!

    • Meghan says:

      Yeah, Pat, I think we are cut from the same cloth. But I think we knew that from the minute we met, right? I have been doing a lot more asking. And I am immeasurably grateful for all of my friends. I look forward to the day I can give back, in whatever manner needed. 🙂

  10. […] for help is hard for me.  I’d much rather be the one giving help than receiving it.  In the last couple of […]

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