Help and I don’t really get along. As the oldest of four children born in five years, I grew up quick. I took pride in being the first to do everything. The attention I got from my parents was oriented around that like a sacred willow tree. Learning to tie my own shoelaces, learning to read, taking public transport home first from secondary school. I went places first. I did things first. I moved thousands of miles away to a new country, a new continent. And it was all about doing them on my own, without anyone else’s help.
Well, fast forward about 2 and ¾ decades, and I feel like I’m on an island of population one. In our family therapy sessions over this winter break, a theme that came up for me was: wow, I live such a fiercely independent life, what would it even look like to ask for help? I have learnt to survive on my own for so long, I feel like I’ve lost the capacity to rely on others, to see how they could fit into my life, to see how I could let myself be taken care of. It’s pretty unhealthy and lonely where I am here, at least that’s what I’m being taught to think. Living that far away from your immediate family, in a foreign country, is really fucking hard. I’m worried of having others rely on me though too, because I want the freedom to come and go as I please. I don’t want to be tied down by anything, but that leaves me feeling cut off from any kind of static grounded-ness, the kind of acceptance and presence you need to be deeply connected to others.
I lack mentors. I can be a snob when it comes to other people, and for some reason most of the older folks that I have in my life are no one that I would want to be like. I admire some of them for their fierce independence, or calm demeanor, or kindheartedness. But the thought of them mentoring me terrifies me. I judge others so harshly because I have judged myself harshly also. Anxiety and perfectionism has often coursed through my veins, as well as my blood. I’m irritated easily by my family, and yet, recently all I have been thinking about is that at the end of the day, I just want to feel that I was loved. It’s as simple as that, really. Whether it’s from family or fame, or perhaps being an ambassador or leading a small country, I would just like to feel that I was loved.
I think I will resolve to make a list of things I need help with. I think I need to realize that I don’t know what I don’t know, and actually, talking to people might be really helpful for getting me to where I want to go in my life. I’ll make a list of things now. I will, I promise. I have to remember that asking for help is not a kind of weakness, but a strength
- I want to send my book to my beta readers, and ask for their feedback in reading it
- I would really like my dad’s help in paying for my extra bag to New York
- I would like some help from the staff at Bistro So to make my sure my birthday party runs smoothly on 27th
- I would like help from Meg Walton to get a Data Product Manager job at Vox
- I would like to set up some time to meet with Klara and other authors who have actually published fiction, to see what I am doing wrong
- I would like to ask my manager for a merit increase, so it is easier for me to pay my rent or get rid of my rent entirely
- I would like help editing my podcast so that I can actually produce the stories that I want to make
- I would love an invitation to stay somewhere warm.
This piece was from my first time in the UnMute writing series, led by Ann Randolph, January 2022.