Day 21::”People…People Who Need People…”

The title taken from, of course, “Funny Girl“. Everytime I see it, I wish my life would be one big musical, and I could burst in to song at important moments. I mean, I do it anyway, but I never have the full orchestra supporting me. But if it were a musical, I would totally be breaking out into this particular song.

“People,
People who need people,
Are the luckiest people in the world.
We’re children, needing other children,
And yet letting a grown-up pride,
Hide all the need inside,
Acting more like children than children.”

I’ve learned a very important lesson during my blitzkrieg moving experience. I think it’s called, ‘Humility’ with a capital H. I am typically the type of person that prefers to handle things on my own. I don’t like a lot of help, I don’t like to open up my entire life to people, I don’t like to feel needy or indebted to anyone. I like to take care of my own stuff, keep hidden all the messy parts to my life, and function a bit independently.

Well, it didn’t happen this time. It couldn’t happen this time. This move has been such a huge undertaking in such a short amount of time, I never could have completed it all by myself. So I found myself in the situation of asking for and accepting loads and loads of help. Not only was the messy part of my life out on display, the messy side of my house was too. My standard answer for ‘How are you doing?” is always “OK!” even when I’m not. But this past month, I can’t say anything other than, “I’m totally freaking out! Like, I think I’m losing my mind! I am a complete mess!” At first the words were hard to say, because I like to put on a cool, calm, capable front to the world. But I just had no energy for it. And it was so obviously not the case.

I have to say, not being accustomed to opening up so completely to people, I was (and am) still so overwhelmed by the help and care people have shown me. My friend bringing over Starbucks after my particularly pathetic facebook rant and helping me price items. A group of them coming over on Friday nights with food and company and lots and lots of laughter. My brother flying in from California to spend this last week helping do everything I needed him to do. My sister watching my kids for me. My ex BIL taking them for sleepovers with the cousins on the weekends. My best friend flying in from Chicago next week to do whatever she can for me. My mom sending me a fruit arrangement, and my Dad sending me pictures of the RV that’s waiting for us in California. Naturalist tells me every day how great a job I’m doing and that she’s going to have a big party for me when we finally get to our new ‘home’.

It’s not just people I know that I’m grateful for, there have been so many ‘strangers’ to help, also. Many of the comments in here have been by people I’ve never met but have been so encouraging! It’s the people who have come to get my stuff. The people who are watching my best friend’s children so she can take this trip to come be with me. The dude at Target who helped me down the aisle with a big bunch of storage totes that I couldn’t have handled without him.

I’ve had time to wonder about why I have been so closed off to help or support from people up till now. And the sad truth is, I think I was afraid that I’d need it and no one would be there to help. Like, I’d be ignored in the cosmic sense, and be all alone in the world while everyone else went about helping other people besides me. But you know what? In the instance that I opened myself up to the world, I was filled with such an amazing amount of love and support, and I’ll never be the same.

Up till now I’ve taught my kids to be self sufficient…strong…independent…to figure things out for themselves. It’s the unschooling way, after all! The bigger lesson, though, is how to be humble enough to ask for help when you need it. And to acknowledge the times that you just can’t make it without others. (In the musical of my life, this is the point I would start bursting out to “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.”) I absolutely would not be able to do this…to pack up my house, to sell of the things we don’t need…to organize things…to keep my head above water…to manage everything I need to…without help.

The interesting side effect to this is, at a time when I feel most beaten down and totally spent, receiving the help has made me feel such a strong sense of gratitude. I feel crazy, yes, but not depressed! I feel totally blessed. I think there is going to be a new me emerging from this experience. And I think the new me won’t ever be as closed off and independent as the old me was. I’ve gained stronger friendships, more support, and an increased sense of thankfulness that won’t ever go away.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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10 Responses

  1. This is a lesson only learned by one who has gone through such difficulties. I only learned how much each of us rely on each other after the stroke. It is humbling, but expanding. You don’t have to wait till your funeral to feel what people think of you! And you are then in a position to “Pay it Forward”. You are a fortunate lady to be loved by so many people.

  2. >the RV thatโ€™s waiting for us in California

    In California?! How does the stuff get packed into it? I had this movie in my head of ‘Day 25: Packing our Belongings (Now So Few) Into the RV’. Wrong movie. Wrong musical. ;^)

    • I’m driving the kids and our stuff from Colorado via our minivan. So technically, everything has to fit in our minivan before it gets to the RV.

      “Packing our belongings (now so few)” LOL!

  3. you are so right Tiff. So many of us put off help until we are sooo desperate that the help is more than obvious to others and yet we still believe we are hiding our vulnerability from others. In reality, when we open ourselves up to help we create friendships and bonds that are strengthened along the way. Thank you for sharing so honestly this journey you are on. It is so inspiring. You are almost done my dear and I can hardly wait to see where this journey goes next!

  4. Hmmmm, maybe this is a sign I should ask for help. Maybe not even because I need it but because I need the time spent with the people I love.

    • Yes, it has become a really special time for me to spend with the people I am leaving. And I’m running around so crazy, I’d never have time to take a night off to spend it with them. When they’re here to help, we spend time and I get lots more done. It’s strengthened a lot of friendships that I feel lucky to have. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Yeah, I know what you mean. I am always the helper, never the helped. I have a friend who found out he has cancer 15 days ago and whoosh is now in ICU in an induced coma, and he is surrounded by people who flew in from around the globe at a moments notice to help. I have this feeling that if that happened there wouldn’t even be anybody to feed my kids lunch, let alone visit me. ;p So not asking then doesn’t open up that can of worms. Bwah ha!

    I have enjoyed reading about your journey, purging, cleaning, removing – emotionally and physically. And it sounds like you are finding more of yourself along the way!

    • Oh denise ๐Ÿ˜ฆ so sad. In a sad coincidence, a family friend who was diagnosed with Cancer right before Christmas now only has days to live. People are also flying in to be with her.

      I know you feel no one would be there, as I did and yes is the biggest reason why I try not to ask, but this experience has shown me that people are all around me ready to give love and support if and when I need it. Just know that I would come feed your kids lunch and visit, and I’m not the only one. You’d have unschoolers from all over the country dropping by, LOL.

  6. you really wouldn’t believe the parallels in our lives right now. Someday we will talk about it. I have recently been offered, asked for, and accepted more help than I have ever asked for, been offered, accepted in my entire life. I know what we’re doing isn’t on quite the same magnitude as yours but trying to “organize” a 1500 sq ft house to hold 5 people and 2 dogs is a chore…oy. We’ve cancelled our March trip to Col (I can’t see coming if you aren’t there ๐Ÿ˜ฆ wah!!) I will keep following your adventures and cheering for you from the East Coast and hopefully we can catch up one of these days in the near future (((((hugs)))))

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