Asking for Help
I read what a lot of you write to me… and I feel like there is a common theme of not getting what you need from the people in your life. I remember feeling this way too when I was younger… and even occasionally as an adult.
However, sometimes, unexpected people (teachers, extended relatives, yourself, friendly dogs, etc.) are offering you help that you might not be taking.
I want to make a video about this…so let me ask you night owls first:
Why is it so hard to ask for help?
Well, at a guess: If you ask for help you admit a vulnerability. That is tactically unwise in competitive situations, because if someone knows you are vulnerable then they could take advantage of that.
Life is presented to us as a competition. Not necessarily by nature but certainly by the people who teach us and our peers.
We live in quite an individualistic society (in the US and UK, at least) where we’re told “best the best you can be”, “try your hardest”, “believe in yourself”, and other such slogans. Our myths and stories are centred on singular heroes. Maybe they have friends, but mostly there is one who is best (Optimus Prime, Jesus, Tank Girl, etc.).
Part of our moral core (regardless of faith, or non-faith) is the Golden Rule. But this is directly affected by the culture of individuality, leading us toward an almost Nietzschian mindset where pity is considered insulting and to ask for help is to admit weakness.
So that is why asking for help is hard, because we are more afraid of being perceived as weak and so opening up ourselves to abuse and to being perceived as lesser people.
“Don’t look now Turboman, but we’re surrounded,” Zapperella’s voice was on edge.
“Don’t worry Zaps, we’ll get out of this.”
The two stood back to back as the circling henchmen slunk ever closer.
“I have you now!” came an arrogant cry from the walkway above the factory floor. Doctor Spasm glowered down at the pair as his minions slowly manoeuvred for the kill.
“You’re getting cocky, Spasm, we’re not done yet,” Turboman shouted back in grim defiance of the overwhelming odds.
“I have your powers, Turbochump. You’re nothing but two helpless clowns, now.”
The henchmen pounced at the stricken duo!
“Mum!” Tom shouted down the stairs.
“I know, love. There’s a power cut. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s only temporary.”
“But I’m in the middle of reading Turboman,” he whined, ineffectually.
“There’s nothing I can do. You’ll just have to be patient.”
Tom sat down sulkily in his dark room. “Stupid black out. Why can’t they happen when I’m at school? Only when I’m at home.”
This blog post is a writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com. Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises. This week’s exercise: 10 minutes to write about “power outage”.
First day at school
“OK, love?” Mum asked.
I nodded my assent.
“I’ll be here at the end of the day to pick you up,” she said reassuringly, giving me a kiss on the forehead.
“K. Bye.” I replied and turned and walked into the new school.
There was lots of noise as I entered the playground. An adult was walking towards me. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I carried on walking. Eventually the adult got in my path.
“Hello, Matt, how are you?” She said.
I looked up, unsure what to say.
“Come with me and I’ll show you to your classmates.” She took my hand and walked towards a group of children. “Jordan!” she called. “Come over here.”
A boy about my age started to walk over.
“Hello, Miss” the boy said. He looked a bit unsure why he’d been called over.
“Jordan, this is Matt.”
“Hullo,” I said.
“Hullo,” said Jordan.
“I want you to show him around, Jordan. Today is his first day.”
“OK, Miss.” Jordan started to walk off.
“Go on then,” said the adult, smiling.
I walked off towards Jordan. He and some other boys were playing tag over the other side of the playground. They stopped as they saw us approach.
This blog post is a writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com. Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises. This week’s exercise: 10 minutes to write about “First day at school”.
A nice summer memory
The sun the sun the sun the sun. Oh how we worshipped the sun. Lying on our backs, staring at the sky. We let the breeze tickle our toes and listened as it rustled through the grass.
Michael sat up and stretched his arms, letting out a long relaxed sigh.
“Anyone want a hit on this?” he proffered the joint, its smoke slowly rising.
“Mmm hmm,” a murmur came from across the circle, but there was no sign of movement.
People started to sit up. Sophie walked over to Michael, took the joint and sat beside him. Someone started strumming a guitar. We all started talking amongst ourselves, laughing and joking.
I was sharing a cider with a friend, as we looked at the clouds as they rolled by, trying to find shapes in them.
This blog post is a writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com. Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises. This week’s exercise: 10 minutes to write about “A nice summer memory”.