Asking for Help II

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out… you put your right foot in, and you shake it all about…

So goes the little routine that I was taught when I was young, the good ol’ Hokey Pokey. And in my turn, I taught it to any youngsters of my acquaintance and to the family dog.

Yet here I stand, doing an awkward version of it on the back fringes of a cluster of people. The reason I shuffle awkwardly back and forth, wearing a little path on the carpet with my frayed graduate school sneakers, hanging near the back of the conversation circle, is that I need to ask for help. Yet to do that, I’m waging a painful battle against a whole chorus line of little voices. I’ve figured out I need some help with something… but the girl on the end in the bright tights and sparkly headdress is doing a high kick and telling me I’ll be judged for asking for help when I look fine. The doofus front and center, doing jazz hands, is making me question again whether I need this favor at all, and maybe I should just risk going it alone. The woman in blue glitter in front of the mike is getting ready to solo about asking for help and then finding that you actually didn’t need the assist. The trio doing the splits is reminding me of the acrobatics it’s going to take for anyone to accommodate me. The active stage of my mind, with curtains of shyness.

So I just have to embark on stage two, which is mental as well. I charge in like, well, who I am, which is a lot less “chorus line” and a lot more “Invasion of the People with Two Left Feet.”

There are numerous people with the so-called “invisible illnesses” out there. Education is helping those who suffer from these conditions gain more understanding from the broader world (a sub-reason for the existence of this blog), so perhaps I won’t be judged too much for looking fine when in fact I am not. But even so, I’ll take the stand, explain, and educate — and if they judge in a negative, condescending way, fine. It’s not a reflection on me. High kick girl goes down.

I’ve really already taken out Mr. Jazz Hands earlier. Sorry, mate, all the hand fluttering in the world won’t disguise how uncool of a performance my body might be giving on a certain day. I’ve already weighed the risk to the outside world or my family and friends if I don’t ask for help, and decided that I’m not a three-year old’s art project but a real live girl, so… down goes that straw man.

The glittery woman singing the soulful tune is Mr. Jazz Hand’s relative, reminding me of the shame I’ll feel if I ask for (XYZ) and then… I can do it myself. Or could have. And then all I’ll feel is miserable for putting someone out. But I don’t really know; so I weigh the probabilities again. I make the decision again. Most of us go through life making many decisions of which we’re never absolutely 100% certain. I do all the time. Apple-banana-pecan streusel topped muffins that I’m sure will turn out but are really flavored bricks. Flight connections I’m certain I’ll make and don’t. The time I calculate to run the errands. The amount of effort it will take to get through a day… a hundred little decisions where most are in actuality a series of probabilities where the benefits and chances of success outweigh the risks and the drawbacks of failure. Why on earth should I treat this so much differently? After all, everyone has these experiences. (I think.) I’ll make the best decision I can. I’ll apologize for my failures, learn from my mistakes, and move on… and just really slather the butter on the brick/muffins. J Once again I body slam the stage character, ignore the fact that others may judge, and get on with the real show.

Everyone has a life. Me included. It just seems like, as I’ve grown older, the lives of people around me have grown more busy, not less. Perhaps it’s merely maturing and noticing more about the world around me. Perhaps it’s also the environment I live in now — a much bigger city, a graduate program, friendships with 20-30 somethings than 8-12 year olds. 😉 People around me have yoga, lacrosse, soccer, cooking classes, college classes, part-time jobs, full-time jobs, family commitments, book clubs, prayer meetings, and date nights. Nearly every hour is booked and the few that aren’t are reserved for laundry and grocery shopping and… I feel myself curling into a ball at the thought of interrupting that train that is someone else’s life. I’ll get run over! And what possible right have I to get in the way of that train in the first place? But time and again I’m shocked by someone taking the time from their busy life to help me out. Of realizing how many people out there are kind and caring, and of the incredible love of my family and friends. Of learning more about people’s lives as I work around their schedules, and they around mine. It’s not a right of my existence to bother yours, no. It is part of the gift of being friends, family, members of the same club, “humanity.” Compassion costs. Sometimes quite dreadfully. Yet I pray that I don’t forget it, and that others don’t either. And of course, there are other options out there — paid carers, medical taxis, and support groups to name a few. So even if it takes a couple of tries, the trio doing the splits and back handsprings does, eventually, go down too.

Just me huddled in the backstage grime now, clutching curtains of shyness. Overcoming your own “shyness” and/or social anxiety can be a tremendous battle for some. Others have written on that, far more ably than I ever could. For myself, it’s a pep talk: Look how many battles you’ve already won, I tell myself! Go, girl! …. And remember, if it really is so difficult to broach a subject in person, to talk about this face to face, there’s always other options…

Pull back the curtains, take center stage, and here we go, real me in the spotlight, making the decisions for this play. Flying free of the chorus line of little puppet fears. I pray you can too.

…you do the hokey pokey, knock some straw men to the ground…that’s what it’s all about! Yeah!!


Losing Things I


I’m losing my eyelashes.

Actually, all of my hair, everywhere, is just gently shedding. It’s a side effect, we think, of the meds I’m on. My hair hasn’t stopped growing, and I’ll not lose it all completely, although it might get a bit thinner for a while.

In the meantime, does anyone out there have any ideas on how to deal with the persistent irritant of always having eyelashes in one’s eyes? Or dealing with eyes that seem to tear up or get gooky more frequently?

Peach-Strawberry Stuff

This is what happens when I open up the fridge and freezer and find just little half-swallows of juice and baggies of frozen berries left over…


I don’t really even know what’s in this in what amounts….It’s got frozen strawberries and frozen peaches and ice cubes and peach nectar and some leftover pineapple juice and a bit of water. 🙂 Fruit smoothie heaven, and goes to show just about anything can be blended with ice and water and taste not so bad.

Asking for Help I

A long time ago, in a small world not so terribly far away, I wrote about offering help.

Today is the start of the wretched realm of self-examination that is “asking for help.”

It’s always such a wrench. I am a Christian. I was raised in the faith. I have been and am extraordinarily blessed. Strangely enough, it seems I have fewer issues trusting that, when it comes to my (definitely enthusiastically sinful) soul, I need help. Someone Else needs to step in there and smash away the dark and apply strong crime-scene level spiritual bleach. However when it comes to asking for a ride to a medical appointment, test, procedure, operation, or whatever the terminology of the day is… I dither.

The truth is that the version of myself, me in my head, is *of course* Hollywood beautiful and Ivy League brilliant and Navy Seal strong, and *that* person has no need of someone to help them lug in the groceries from the back of the car.

Yet to ask for help, I have to scrape all of those imaginings off that are really more like a three-year old’s art project than anything else: A couple stiff layers of glittery-glue pride here, a few twirls of pretty pink self-illusion ribbon there, a popsicle stick or two of the good ol’ stiff upper lip of false stoicism, a hefty layer of scented crayon in the colors of deception, and then the last few inches of construction paper in a tasteful array of desperate shielding.

The truth is that what is underneath is a good deal more real and interesting and ugly than the little art project. I just have to accept that who I am is not only a bad cook, a decent pianist, or an amateur photographer (whose camera lens is only semi-working!), but also someone who needs real help on this lovely little blue-green ball — and yet this sort of physical, everyday help doesn’t negate my intelligence, my beauty, my character. For me, at least, that is step one.

Spring sunset


Compliments of PoetrySoup. Can anyone tell me if the language at the beginning is Japanese and if the English at the bottom is a translation? I like that it is a positive poem about sunset.

Growing Contentment

No ryokucha
Urara ka na shunsho
Kamo suiei
Utsukushi yuyake
Kansha kimochi
Kokoro michitari
Kaori takai hana
No wa kami no niwa


Kono shunkan ni
Imi o motomete
Fuyu sekai no
Kantan'na kotode wa
Shin'en'na fukyu shinri

Green tea
Balmy spring evening
Duck swimming
Beautiful sunset
Contented mind
Fragrant flowers
The garden of God


In this moment
Seeking for meaning
Of the floating world
In simple things
Profound timeless truth

Copyright © Michael Spangle | Year Posted 2016