I’ve always loved to be social, spend time with my friends and family and even on occasion meet new people. I would never label myself as a people person though, I actually consider myself rather anti-social. In part because I’m that typical “shy until you get to know me…. then WOAH wild child!” but also because I’ve always been incredibly driven and independent. I loathe having to ask for help, I hate even more NEEDING to ask for help.
Through my life, I’ve grown very accustomed to the I’ll do it myself attitude, and it’s worked well for me. I’m the oldest out of 3 siblings, always a couple steps ahead being able to do and be in charge of more. I took care of my youngest brother (12 year age difference) when my mom’s arthritis took a turn for the worse. That in turn prepared me for single parent hood at the tender age of 19 when I chose to leave a bad environment for the better. Even now in a loving partnership I have spent years rarely asking for help, from Mr. Mango or anyone else.
IF help is needed, its usually offered far before me getting to the point of having to ask. While over the past years this has never really caused a problem. I’m seen as a go get em feminist (and perfectionist) and honestly if you were to help me I’d probably feel like I have to fix it anyways.
This all is having to change though. Over the last year especially pain swelling and numbness is effecting my upper body more and more, along with the ever present fatigue and dizziness. It’s making it impossible for me to get done everything I’m used to tackling all on my own.
It started out simple and small. Help opening tough jars. Letting the Mr. bring in the groceries on his own while I put them away. Purchasing gizmos and gadgets for around the kitchen to save my hands. But as time is going on and I’m learning I NEED to adjust my self expectations and conserve my energy and strength for the most important things I am having to adapt to be the kind of person that asks for help.
Things like asking for parcel pick up when I get groceries, help clearing snow from the neighbor (with his snow blower) or asking Mr. Mango to help finish supper because my hands just can’t hold the stirring spoon anymore. Asking for help before it’s too late, before its a necessity and I’ll be paying the consequence.
Yesterday was a whole new experience.
My personal care upkeep has been slowly dying down. I rarely paint my nails anymore. I do my make up only when we’re going out to the city or on special occasions (so I don’t look like a half dead zombie) and I let my roots grow out horrendously long before tackling the next bright and best colour (I’ve even gone so far as to try and put it back to a some-what natural colour, though that didn’t last long). Sure it saves on cosmetic costs and time and energy but it does take a toll on me as a whole. I love cosmetics, I used to spend a lot of my free time designing long nail patterns or practicing mardi gras masks, and my hair generally speaks for itself.
It’s gotten to the point where on Friday evening Mr. Mango casually asks “So are you planning on going all natural? Or are we picking up more dye?” I was a little shocked, but I did admit that while I had been DYING to fix my hair up, I just didn’t think I could handle my hands above my head for that long first to bleach the roots and then to go through all the hassle of re-dying. “I suppose you didn’t plan on asking me to help?” He mumbled. No. No I had not.
I went through a range of emotions at that point. Being unfairly pissed that he was pointing out I wasn’t looking as put together as usual (unfair to him) being hard on myself for letting myself go so much (unfair to myself) and extremely peeved at my sickly body for yet again getting in the way of one of the few ME THINGS I have left.
In the end though, yesterday morning, I asked him for help. He watched a couple wonderful Youtube videos on how to touch up roots and we sat and laughed while he nervously attempted to give me the salon experience (I didn’t have the heart to tell him the salon experience is exactly why I don’t go to the salon). It was a little nerve wracking of course trusting my hair in the hands of a man who’s idea of hair care is head and shoulders and buzz cuts but all in all it was actually an entertaining time and he did a great job for a first timer.
It hasn’t been the first time I’ve had to humbly ask for help and I’ve come to accept that it won’t be the last. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s all on me, generally people don’t mind lending a hand, going an extra step or giving some aid when someone needs. It’s a problem with ME not wanting it, not a problem with people not willing to give it.
I have to learn to get over myself. There are a lot of things I just can’t do myself any more and unfortunately that list is probably only going to grow longer from here on out.