It’s official. My marbles have rolled under the bed. Or the dog has chucked them out of the window. Today I did something I have never done in eleven years of blogging: I accidentally posted something I have posted before. (Blink and you would have missed it).
After a morning of dog walking and carrot juicing I was feeling fired up and I sat down with my little notebook full of scrawled poems and settled on one that seemed to reflect my mood. I added a picture, pressed publish and lo and behold I had posted a poem I had already shared and didn’t realise until I found myself thinking as I stood pouring water on to coffee, that the reason why the poem seemed so familiar is because I had already posted it.
I am not good at asking for help. In fact I am even pretty rubbish at taking it when it is offered. And people are so very kind. Lately I have been awash with offers of help as I continue to drag myself out of the mud that has been the past three years. They offer and I pretend I didn’t hear them. Or I mutter, please don’t worry, I am ok, no really I am ok, when it must be obvious to all and sundry that right now I couldn’t be less than ok. Shouldn’t be ok. Ok is in fact something not required of me at all right now.
You see, put it this way: If my house was a hotel and I arrived to stay here and met me, as my landlady, I would not only refuse to stay but would firmly confound matters by writing the kind of review of Trip Advisor that would make the national newspapers. Hell yes: I can no longer refer to Chez Brocante but must now call home, Shed Brocante where she who used to be Alison May now resides.
Help is a conundrum of awkward manners and the admittance of failure. Refuse it and you seem rude. Or stubborn. Or stupid and curmudgeonly. Accept it and you feel as though you are letting the whole world down. And worse than that, that you have failed in the kind of spectacular fashion it is all too obvious, the whole world can see. That makes me feel ashamed. Vulnerable. And silly. And weak. And silly and weak are the kind of personality traits I cannot abide in other people so how in the name of all things festive am I too admit that today I am feeling both silly and weak? Frankly it’s a no-can-do in a situation where help right now could make all the difference.
But people want to help. They offer time, and money, advice, cold hot chocolate and a hug. They bring flowers and a smile, they send middle of the night texts that simply say “Are you ok?” and they tell me that they love me over and over again and that none of this is my fault. That it would be ok to stop sacrificing all that I need and sit down and have a little sob for all that is lost. For all that will soon be lost. That it would be mighty fine and just downright bloody dandy to say I can’t do this right now. I don’t know what to do next on a list of a million things I don’t feel capable of doing. I’m a little frightened Sweetie.
It would be all right for me to say it and readers, my darling lovely readers, it would be all right for you to say it too. For here is the thing: if we were watching someone else struggle we would down tools and do everything we could to help them, even when we are utterly incapable of helping ourselves. We would step out of our coat and wrap it around someone who really needed it. Hand over our last penny. Stop the clock and try to fix them. I would. You would. We all would. So why is it so terribly hard to ask for help with both the big stuff (the un-paid bill, the child who seems sad, the house we cannot keep warm) and the little stuff (the door that sticks, the pint of milk we could do with someone bringing in, time out from a busy day)? I would like to say I have the answer, but I am probably ludicrously prouder or even more stubborn than you are.
So this is a turning point. Today I am going to ask for the help I need. I am going to say NO to anyone who asks me if I’m ok and then I am going to take whatever they offer because despite my reluctance to accept help, today I need it. And maybe you do too. Maybe you too need a little patience from those who care. Maybe you need to hear them say I love you and I can fix this and for once you are going to let me. Maybe you need to return the calls, answer the texts, lose yourself in their arms or let them cook dinner tonight.
Maybe it is time to stop and face the music: you cannot do everything yourself and you are destroying your whole life, trying. Your body will give in long before your head does and that is a dangerous place to be. You don’t have to keep on keeping on when you are going around in circles. You aren’t designed to handle catastrophe all by yourself. No-one, not even you, is strong enough for that.
And so there we have it readers: another blogging first – the first blog post I have written with tears in my eyes. Time to stop trying to be strong.