It is a rainy dreary day here in Tennessee. And for some reason I am freezing. After I dropped the kids off at school this morning I joked with my husband that I was going back to bed. Something I would never do. Too much to be done for that.
He thought about it for a minute and told me that I should crawl back into the bed. He said I work hard for this family all day, every day and if I wanted to snuggle into the bed for the rest of the day, then I should do just that. Just be sure to set an alarm as to not forget the children at school, he joked.
I thought about his words for a minute. So now I am typing this post from my warm, comfy bed. Because why not? And yes as you have probably guessed by now, this mornings events triggered self-examination on my part.
So buckle up.
I am fascinated with why people are the way that they are. And especially myself. One thing I can say that is a constant, I feel like I have to be self-sufficient and self-contained. An island of sorts.
With age though comes introspection. I have been the way that I am for 43 years. But why?
A girlfriend said something to me the other day that really started me thinking.
I was home with a sick child and needed to get my other kids from school. My friend messaged out of the blue and offered to pick them up, as she would be there anyway, getting her own child. No trouble at all she said.
I went all the way around the world explaining how I had everything covered and would be able to take care of it without her help. Then I thanked her for being so kind to offer.
In a later conversation my friend mentioned how my passing on her help had seemed confusing to her, under my then current circumstances (puking child). But then she realized that was just me. She wasn’t offended by my rejection. As a friend, she understood that was how I operated.
But I wasn’t sure that I understood.
That was a revelation to me. It started me thinking. I don’t let people help me. Ever. Well except my husband will probably say that I wear him out but we are a team. He asked to marry me for goodness sake. He signed up for the gig.
I see people and especially women helping each other all the time. They help one another get through daily life without so much as an afterthought. And they are glad to do it. It is a sisterhood. I love that. But why is it so hard for me to accept help? I certainly don’t mind helping others.
I tell myself that I just don’t want to be a burden. Everyone has their own stuff to worry about.
After much soul-searching though I realized that I am terrified of making connections with people. Friendships are scary. If you let someone close then that gives them power. The power to hurt you. Or disappoint you. I have trust issues. I am fiercely guarded. Please keep a safe distance from my heart at all times.
That is a very sad way to experience life though. It’s actually not really living at all. Life is all about human connection. Many things have happened in my life that got me to this place. But I have to learn how to turn the negative into a positive. I decide who I am today. Not my past.
There have been many times in my life when I could have used some help from the sisterhood. But I didn’t let anyone close enough. Not really. Maybe this seems silly to you. Maybe it comes naturally for most. I have always considered myself a strong person. But even the strongest of people need a helping hand sometimes.
That is the great thing about aging (because let me tell you, there is a laundry list of not so great things about it). Time has a way of teaching lessons. Things can manage to become crystal clear. Odds are I won’t get another 43 years on this planet. I mean, it could happen but geez that’s really old.
I have always lived my life in a way as to not burden anyone. Even as a small child I tried not to burden my own mother. Do you know that my children are more than happy to burden me, all day long? I guess they are doing it the right way. I don’t want to ask people for help or even accept their help because I can handle it. I got this.
Even in those instances when I really could have used a hand. Or an ear. Or a hug.
Well, I don’t want to be that person anymore. Humans can change. I can change. If you don’t realize that there is a problem, then you are stuck, destined to repeat the pattern. But once you are enlightened then the power is all yours. Sure it is scary. But feeling alive means sometimes feeling afraid. Emotions are emotions. And we are designed to feel them all.
To every friend who has ever been in my life, I am sorry. I am sorry that I didn’t give you a chance. I am sorry that I never let you get close. I am sorry that I didn’t give you more time. I am sorry for refusing all of the effort that you put into trying to know me. And to be there for me.
I am sorry for every time that I said: No thank you. I got this. Now I understand that I wasn’t only hurting myself, but I was hurting you as well. You wanted to be there for me. You wanted to be a member of my sisterhood.
Well now I am ready. Who wants to be friends?