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Oh Hey, Vulnerability!

CaptureI’ve had a cold this entire week. Being a phlegm factory isn’t my favorite (I say that like there is a person out there who goes “WOOT! MUCAS!” To be fair, I’d probably be that person. And to be fair, there are some silver linings to listening to something assuredly yellow rattling around between your lungs…) but it granted me the opportunity for two things:

1)  Consider that I missed a huge side of the independent/relationship coin in my last post: the compromises I’ll need to make myself.

2)To practice allowing myself not to be stubbornly independent.

Let’s go in order:

1) One main takeaway from my conversation with Cyndy was this: “I think whoever you date is going to have to accept how independent you are…And you’re going to need someone who can see through the independence a little and help you get through stuff.” But in that conversation we totally ignored my responsibility in all of this.

Sure, my independence means that not only will whoever I date need to sort of be okay with that characteristic. However, it’s up to me to be able to accept – and ask for – help. And thus be absolutely vulnerable, and at the mercy of someone else, by simply asking for assistance.

I’ve always thought vulnerability meant sharing all my secrets and every thought I’ve ever had with someone. But it occurs to me now that instead, vulnerability is actually just admitting not being strong every second of the day. Letting a guard down, and letting someone else really in.

Asking for help means trusting someone else to actually help you – and for whatever reason, I’ve never been able to do that.

Guess there’s no time like the present to try.

2) I was not prepared in the least to become sick. Sure, I noticed my throat felt funny on Sunday, but I figured that was a side-effect of late-night singing at the top of my lungs from Saturday (I really hope someone captured my interpretation of Part of Your World, and though I didn’t actually get on stage to sing Wrecking Ball, I sang as loudly as though I had during that tune). It wasn’t until Monday morning when I woke up hardly able to swallow that I thought, “hells bells, this might be an illness.”

Of course it, took until Wednesday in the late afternoon to accept my fate. I went to soccer and got all out of breath and thought “man, am I out of shape!” I had no taste for coffee. I half-assedly had a drink with my old roommate. Come Wednesday it was clear I was not okay, as evidenced by my ab-workout of a cough that eventually sent me home from work.

I laid down in my sweats, miserable, with a kitchen stocked with exactly one and half sticks of butter, popcorn seeds, spinach, and apple juice (and a medicine cabinet full of anti-anxiety remedies, but nothing besides three year old sore throat spray for a cold). I willed myself to get up.

Nothing.

I begged myself to walk to the store and at least buy Kleenex so I could stop blowing my nose into an orange bandanna. This almost worked. Except then Jesse texted, knowing I’d gone home sick.

How ya feeling? he asked. Can I bring you anything? Being me, I declined at first.

He persisted. Funny story – my cousin is sick too, so I’m dropping off some items to him. I could easily swing by your place. caved. Scratch that. I allowed myself to accept some help.

Jesse swung by with soup, aloe water, strawberries in case I felt better, oregano oil for my tea, and a stack of DVD’s just in case.

The next evening, imagine the same sort of textversation with A-Ron, who showed up with Kleenex and ibuprofen, which I was much happier to see than the sushi he was also toting. We hung out watching Magnum PI while I sucked on cough drops, and I thought long and hard about how letting friends help me was incredibly challenging. I felt weak, pathetic, and frankly, sad.

True, I could have helped myself out. But it was nice not to, too.

 

2 Responses so far.

  1. Michael says:

    I’m a great helper, but I cherish my independence and strength, and I’m bad at asking for help. I usually refuse it when offered. I had a girlfriend tell me once that it’s insulting to refuse help when offered, akin to rejecting a gift or a compliment. People feel good when they can offer help. It fills their kindness bucket, and when you refuse it, it denies them that opportunity. So I’ve consciously tried to become better about asking for and accepting it. And I have to say, it feels better all around. It’s a gesture that fosters connections and community.

    • admin says:

      It’s so funny to think that this is something I will have to try at – and will likely have to try at for a long time (or at least be aware of). I love the concept of remembering that accepting help is like accepting a gift – and that people like to give. That notion will totally assist in me at least remembering to try and accept help. :)

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