I posted something on social media yesterday, a kind of confession about having a hard time asking for help, and I wanted to share it with you, too, because I can see from people’s responses that I am not alone in this.
If there is just one somebody out there who needs to hear this, then I am so glad I sent this out.
This is a post for anyone who may be feeling scared or sad. (Especially anyone I know who, like me, tends to hide when you are sad.)
It is really difficult for me to reach out to people when I’m having a hard time.
I always think, “But there are so many harder things happening.” “Everyone’s dealing with their own trauma and grief.” “The world is crying enough over so many things and I don’t want to be a burden.”
I actually named a part of myself “Cardboard Sherry.” This is someone who looks and sounds a lot like me, but she is is like one of those life-sized cardboard photos — flat with a plastic veneer. I usually put her front + center when I’m in a hard place. I let her interact and often no one else knows the difference.
But I do.
Lately, I’ve been tossing Cardboard Sherry to the side and practicing asking for help.
I’m encouraging YOU to do this, too.
Really. I mean it. I know it is hard.
And, also, it is so much healthier.
This week, I reached out to a few friends. I’m so glad I did. I could tell that even in the moment, there is something that shifts in the telling.
The feelings start to move. (So important!)
And then, there’s the love that comes back, pure and sweet.
(I hope this is what happens for you, too, when you reach out.)
For example, I just listened to a voice note from my dear friend Maya Stein. It just so happens that not only is she a loving friend, but she is also a very talented poet. She read me the perfect poem.
I asked Maya if I could share her poem because I suspect there is someone else who needs to hear it. I’m going to post it below.
But before I do that, I want to share one other thing she said that was so helpful:
“We take turns falling apart. We hold the ground steady. Then we switch. There’s a gratitude that someone we love and care about is holding the ground for us when we are unsteady. And that we can hold that ground for them when it is their time.”
When she said that to me, I was reminded of the metaphor of the “vee” of geese — they take turns being the leader and when one gets tired, she falls to the back.
It is kind of like that with our friends and in the world, right?
Listen, if you are feeling lots of stuff, reach out to a safe, kind friend.
Maya Stein’s poem:
It looks like the sky is coming apart and together at the same time*
And the body is holding its losses like a fist. And a fleshy hope
is opening to an unprecedented vastness. And whatever we think we are leaving behind will keep insisting. And the things we desire will elude us. And our efforts will pose as failure. And we will not recognize
how far we’ve come. And we will solve one problem and create another. And we will feel broken. And we will not be broken. And the silence will be deafening. And we will love destructively. And no one will appear to be listening. And there will be too many doors
to choose from. And we will keep saying, “I don’t know how to do this.”
And we will be more capable than we ever imagined.
I’m grateful to Maya for letting me share this poem and her wise and comforting words.
And here’s what I want to say to you, reading this:
you are not alone.
This email is me, holding the ground for you, just like my friends did for me.
We need one another.
You can do this.
You are lovable, no matter what you are feeling.
You can be strong for others, no matter what they are going through.
We can take turns falling apart and pulling everyone back together again.
Everything is going to be okay.
I love you and am cheering you on, always.
Thanks for who you are and for being here on this journey with me.
Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,