Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ask For Help

One lesson I learned while visiting my friend in Arizona was to ask for help when I need it.

I am not used to traveling alone. On this particular day (Thursday before last) I was on a long bus (two whole buses joined together) trying to get off with a very heavy carry-on and another heavy personal bag. I needed both hands though to get down the steps of the bus and to then jump the distance to the curb. I tried various ways to pull both the suitcases and myself down and out and just couldn't do it. There were many people around me, mainly young men, and they watched, which made me feel even worse.

Finally I threw my personal bag out of the bus. It landed right-side-up with everything intact. With a push I let my carry-on tumble out of the bus and onto the curb. I then held onto the rails with both hands and got down the stairs (I have a leg problem that makes it hard for me to go down stairs). I pictured the young people laughing at me for having so much trouble (this was a total figment of my imagination). I jumped from the last step to the curb, which was quite painful. Then I burst into tears as the bus hurried away. I allowed myself to cry for a minute or so, then picked everything up and continued on. The mechanics of traveling had worn me down and I'd needed to just stop and let things go.

When I was telling my therapist about this after the trip, she asked me why I hadn't simply asked for help. I could have asked the bus driver (even though he was far in the front section of the two-section bus) and offered him a tip, or I could have asked any of the many people in the bus. It honestly hadn't occurred to me at all. I of course would help someone in my situation, but who would want to help me? Obviously, people might want to, or would want to, and so my attitude of just assuming they wouldn't told me a great deal about myself here.

Some people want to help. Others don't. That's okay. And it's fine to ask for help when we need it.

In many ways, lately, this late bloomer is just starting to feel like I'm beginning to grow up.


patti said...

I'm astounded that no-one offered to help you. But that's the way it is sometimes.

Anyhow, it turned into a revealing lesson for you and that's a good thing. Travelling on your own can be challenging!

Anonymous said...

I am with you on this one. I also have not grown up yet in this regard. I do not ask for help. I will pick up a hitchiker, give money to the person in line in front of me who is short of cash for the purchase, you name it. But I would rather stick hot pokers in my eyeballs than ask for help for myself.
Time to grow up, eh? Let me know how you do it.
xoxo K

Olivia said...

Patti, I think that part of it is because of the hustle-bustle and anonymity of the city. Phoenix is large and pretty rough from my perspective. I could not imagine this happening in my city, or even in Seattle, the largest city in my state. But Seattle is tiny compared to Phoenix.

Of course, it could also be that we Americans are relatively uncivilized compared to Australians, which I could very easily believe. What felt really weird is that at one point no one offered to give up a seat for me either, nor for another younger woman, and all of the people seated were men. We have progressed in many ways as a society but I think are quite behind in the area of civility.

It was indeed challenging, but so revealing, Patti.

It's good to be back and to see you here! xoO

Olivia said...


Why is that, I wonder? My therapist has said it is because I do not expect anyone to respond positively, because throughout my life people have not. However, this is not necessarily the case now, so I could be willing to take the risk. Especially the risk of rejection, which, as I'm sure you agree, is no big deal intellectually, but a whole other thing on the spot!

You are so right about it being time to grow up. As grown-ups, we can ask for what we need. If we're asking, the answer can always be "No", so then we ask someone else. I find that I've spent a great deal of my life letting others take risks for me, and now it's time to step up and take the risks for myself.

Kelly, let's share about this...being out in the world and asking for what we need...maybe we will learn from each other!

Peace and love, xoO

Kate said...

I used to have this problem but now I ask for help all the time. People generally like ot offer assistance. Try it once and you'll be able to do often.


Olivia said...

Okay, Kate, I'm willing to step out and try it! xoO