I’ve just finished The Art of Asking, and I feel like I might cry.
I don’t ask, you see. Oh, sure, if I need change for the laundrette and I know I’ll pay them back at some point, I’ll ask a flatmate. But that’s not asking, not to me.
Asking is eleven year-old me realising that she’ll be wheelchair bound for six to eight weeks and knowing that she’ll need help to even do the basic things.
Asking is seventeen year-old me breaking down in a school counsellor’s office because she doesn’t know how to cope with life anymore.
Asking is twenty-one year-old me, the current me, realising at 3am one night that she might have been sexually abused aged fourteen and not knowing how to process, or what to do.
I could ask for help then – but I’ve only ever asked when I’m desperate. I find it so very hard to understand that asking for help isn’t being dependent. I don’t lose this independence I’ve worked so hard to gain because I always believed I had to prove myself.
(I’m physically disabled, and always, always fought for that self-sufficiency, you see. I didn’t want to depend upon anyone. I still don’t.)
And reading your words, your stories… it’s making me realise that maybe, just maybe, I don’t have to be so stubborn. I am loved, I am supported, and there is no shame in asking for that £50 to cover food expenses from my parents while at university, or a hug from a friend when I feel like that seventeen year-old self again.
There is no shame. And I will remember that.
So thank you, Amanda Palmer. Thank you. I don’t know you, have never met you, but your words have shifted something in me. Thank you.
The flower really fucking helps.
(And damn it, I’m crying.)