Help is a weird equation for me. I didn't get the things I needed growing up, and so disappointment has far deeper implications for me than it probably does for most. Disappointment feels like the weight of everything that ever failed me all over again and all at once.
But because I didn't get the things I needed, and often still don't, I have to ask for help. It's terrifying. Without asking I don't think I'd exist right now. But not getting help when it's asked for can do as much damage. And it's happened more times than I can really stand. It's caused immense trust issues. It's caused these patterns where I put people around me that I know will fail me, but having logical things to point at as to why is far safer than if there was no good reason, which would strike those chords of every disappointment.
But this year I fell apart. I've pushed forward. I've asked for an immense amount of help. I've gotten a lot of help, and I've been failed many times. But I am here and I'm so grateful, and I'm so proud of myself.
Two weeks ago I sent an email with the subject line "Help?" – I had coffee with that person the next day, and they were truly helpful.
Today I had this conversation with a friend:
I burst into tears over this lol. If she bails on me I'll probably become a hysterical mess for an entire day, but if she doesn't then I'll have made significant progress in my life that I can honestly say I'm not sure I could have on my own.
There is a lot I can do on my own. I know that because I'm here! I can really do it all. But my mental health has taken such a toll without the support that I need from other people. This equation isn't good for me, but I've hit a point where it has to be worth the risk. It's been incredibly empowering to believe that other people can be there for me, coupled with knowing that I can do it alone – it's a strong feeling. I'm starting a company. I have to believe I could do it on my own. But it'll be a hell of a lot more successful if I ask for every ounce of help I can get. If I hire people to take care of things more efficiently and higher quality than I would. I'm most excited about that, about building a team that is strong and supportive and can really do it. I have a lot of faith it will happen.
Despite the history of my life and the poor equation I have to work with – the real danger I face when I ask for help – I also have to believe that there are great people out there that will put in the work. And I really do believe that because the more I ask the more help I've gotten, from good wonderful loving people★. It terrifies me but it's such a good feeling. I've dealt with some shit, I can deal with more. But I need the good to outweigh it, and the only way to shift the odds is to keep trying.★★
★Thank you so so so so so so much. If you've even asked how I'm doing once this year, thank you. I can't express how meaningful it has been to me.
★★I don't know anything about odds or gambling or if equation is even remotely the appropriate correlation here but I assume this is sound logic ;)
Last night my sister in law gave birth to a boy, and I am now an aunt! I didn't sleep much because I was worried something terrible might happen, which could be due to too much Jane the Virgin, but could also be because my mom sent this Seinfeld-esque text message:
I didn't really feel like it was happening until I got this message, took a second to realize it was her giving birth and not something terrible, then immediately burst into tears. But before this, and ever since I found out she was pregnant, I thought a lot about my brother and his wife as parents.
They're going to be great parents.
I was trying to plan a time to come visit Alyson before she gave birth, while she was working from home. I figured she'd be stuck on the couch and could use a buddy. I tried to insist that we didn't need to do anything but she kept making all these plans for us. This is a recurring thing, and no matter how exhausted she is from traveling or hosting or just generally doing things she will always make plans and make sure it's everything I want when I'm there. Then I tried to make plans for after she gave birth, to meet the baby and help them out. She insisted that the longer I wait the more fun it would be. I couldn't believe that in the one time of her life she could be the most selfish she just wouldn't do it. But she takes care of people, she takes such good care of me. She's matter-of-fact and generous and absolutely hilarious. I love her so much.
Jeff got a snapchat account a few weeks ago and has been posting silly face videos where he tells terrible pun dad jokes. I can't believe it really but he's already there, he is full on dad. He's also the person I looked up to most for most of my life. He's the kind of person that everyone wants to be friends with, and always surrounds himself with the very kindest people, and even though things have definitely been so hard for him he just keeps on going and he's doing so great. He was that kind of jerk brother that would beat you up and call you fat but also that good kind that said if you ever did drugs he'd kill you. But then you found out he was smoking weed and so you smoked together and just loved him even more. I'm really proud of my brother, and I love him so much. I wouldn't be who I am without him, and I've always wished I got to spend more time with him which seems weird but I just can't get enough. He is going to be such a great dad.
I've taken care of myself more than anyone else most of my life. But when I'm with them I feel so taken care of. We'll go out for dinner and Jeff will drive us home so we can drink too much wine and then we'll watch a movie and I'll fall asleep on the couch, but Jeff makes me go to bed so he can play video games without waking me up. And I'll get up in the morning and they'll ask how the temperature of my room was and Jeff will make bacon because it's really the only breakfast thing he likes to eat. I know they probably think all of this stuff is dumb but it means the world to me. I love them so much.
I honestly always wanted Jeff to be more overbearing in my life, to make up for when my dad wasn't around. He wouldn't do it, really, but it wouldn't have been fair for him to anyway. He did always give me plenty of shit for almost starting bar fights a few too many times. On the other hand Alyson would applaud my ability to fall asleep in bars, break up with boys, and dance so much, then hold my hair so I could puke in the front yard. I love them so much.
We haven't had it easy. But they're gonna do so right by this kid, and I'm going to try hard to be a good aunt. I hadn't been able to figure out why I'm so emotional about this but I'm sure I'm jealous. I'm jealous of how much pure unconditional unwavering and never-ending love this kid is going to get. The kind that I don't know, and don't know I ever will. He's one lucky kid. And I already love him so much.
It's hard that everyone thinks I'm fine all the time. And when I'm not they say I will be fine. Because I always am.
It's interesting that I hate that because it is actually how I operate. I know the reality is that things are bad and will be bad. But I also have to sustain an optimism that it will have to be ok. I couldn't exist if I didn't believe that. But it doesn't mean I don't fall apart.
Ask a strong person why they are.
I was born with some of this, I know that. But the traumas I experienced growing up and through now have necessitated and compounded it.
I've never felt like I experienced a long bout of depression, short ones probably. But I've never acknowledged any amount of it. I don't exhibit all of the traits – I don't push people away. I just don't have many people close enough to reach out to. I've also experienced a lot of disappointment in people... I can't risk it anymore. I can't risk asking someone to be here to hear that it's inconvenient for what has been too many times.
But I do experience briefer periods, and this week it's happening. I'm in it, and saw it growing. I'm not ok right now. I will be, just not right now. I need people to let that be the case and stop expecting me to be ok, and stop expecting me to take care of it myself. When I say I'm not ok I'm saying I don't know why I'm here. When I say I'm not ok I'm asking for help. The kind where someone is literally here for me, giving me hugs and love. Just because I've made it this far without doesn't mean I don't need it too.