After reading Shailaja V’s post over at Blog-A-Rhythm about asking for help, I felt compelled to write a post about my own struggles on asking for help. Although Shailaja V’s post is about asking for help with your blog, my post will be more personal in nature.
As a youngster growing up in a house with two other siblings and being the middle child, I heard “no” more often than I care to remember whenever I asked for help. There was never enough money or advice to go around, or at least not the kind of advice *I* needed. My mother lived in her past, my dad worked too hard and too many long hours, my sister was self-absorbed, and my brother was too young to care. I found out way too young that if I needed anything or needed advice, to deal with the situations on my own and in my own way.
Some of my hard earned lessons included asking my dad to buy the neighbor’s car for me. She’d recently passed away and left a great old 70s model car to her grandson and he was only asking $200 for it. I begged dad, he went to mom, she said “no” and I didn’t get the car. Why this hurts so badly is that my sister, a year earlier, received a car when it was time to learn to drive, but was also given that car as a wedding present the next year when it was my time to learn to drive. Years later, my brother was also given a car when it was his time. In fact, over the years, dad helped my brother buy 2 other cars and my sister one other car. They both skipped out on payments and lost the cars as well as affected my dad’s stellar credit rating. He said he would never help any of us with a car again. Well he never helped me with one. I bought my first car with my own money, as well as the following 2 cars.
Another lesson came when I asked my grandfather for money for tuition and books in my first year of college. Grandmother had told him if any of her grandkids needed help with college, he was to help them. This was one of her deathbed wishes. He *did* help the first semester and I was grateful. But the second semester when I asked for money for books, he called my mother ranting and raving about me asking for money for food and rent. In his drunken state, he had confused me with another cousin who *had* asked for those things. I was horrified. He refused me the funds, my mother cursed me out, and I ended up dropping out of school because I didn’t have the money for the books. I went back to college a few years later with grants and loans that took out on my own. I finished college and although I am still paying off the loans, I did it all on my own.
The only times I *did* receive help was if I was moving from one place to another and my dad and brother helped with the moving a few times. However, the one time I really desperately needed help was when I was living in Oklahoma, my marriage was wreck, I was an emotional and mental wreck and begged my dad to let me come home. I had no income as I could not work because of my mental state, so I was told no because he couldn’t afford to support himself, my brother (who was living with him and not working – and still does live here and not work) and me. I had to stay in my wreck of a marriage for another year until my disability came through. Only then did he say I could come home.
So no, asking for help does not come easy for me, but it has helped me to be an independent woman. I can say that nearly every achievement of my life has been by my own hands. I still harbor some resentment from all of the times I was denied help and others received it, but the older I get, the more I realize that those things don’t matter much anymore. I am still working through the anger, but getting better at it every day.