I need help.
I can’t do this alone. 50 years is enough.
I long ago bought into the SuperWoman myth and my unstated theme in life was to show everyone how much I could do. And hot damn, I actually rocked the Super cape!! You know what’s fucked?! I was trying to be an inspiration to others and carry my load honourably and proudly. At least that’s what I thought. Seriously, I was just trying to do my best. I didn’t grow up in the Instagram and Facebook age of highlight reeling; I was just being real. It was for realzzzzz.
Here’s an example.
I had cancer. No hair. Only 6 toenails. There were bags and tubes attached to various parts of my body, some pumped poison in and others drained it out. Every second of every day during chemo I felt like I had a garbage bag tied around my head, and like I was walking through quicksand. I was wearing diapers because my ass wasn’t giving its usual warning signs before it pooped black chemo tar. And I threw up a lot too. But I had a friend who was feeling down. Truth is, she felt down a lot. Over stuff like the weather. And the cable man being late. Plus the hairdresser fucked up her colour AGAIN. Still. I wanted to encourage her so I dragged my battered chemo body to the kitchen and baked her some cookies. I didn’t post the perfect pic of my chocolate chip cookies and gloat all day over everyone’s amazement at the Cancer chick doing it all. It was for realzzzzzzz, and I was feeling pretty SuperWomanish when I knocked on her door with my gift.
You know what she said???
You make me feel like a loser.
At that moment, I had an F ton of thoughts. Like you are a loser. or at least you are acting like a loser. and an ungrateful one too. But I shoved the cookies at her and went home to sleep for 6 hours to recover from the effort of baking a few cookies.
So. You know the old proverb After the ship has sunk everyone knows how she might have been saved? You know what would have made my friend feel like a winner? Besides focusing on the positive and not all the negative BS.
If I had knocked on her door or called her and said Help me.
I. Need. Help.
Every week I had an appointment with my oncologist. He was just checking in to see how I was coping. How are you doing? he’d ask. Good. I’d say. Good.
And Good is a good response to your doctor.
But your people?
I. Need. Help.
I’m scared. I need you.
I’m so sick. Can you pick up the dirty towels littered around my house and throw a load in the washing machine?
I’m down. Can we go for a walk together?
I’m bored. Make me laugh.
I’m sad. Tell me it will be okay.
I’m lonely. Hold my hand.
It’s Mother’s Day, and my Mom is gone. Tell me you love me.
And when you’re struggling, I’ll wash your towels and take you for a walk and make you laugh and promise you that it will be okay and I’ll hold your hand and tell you how much I love you.
And we will be human together. Instead of lonely SuperWomen or SuperMen.
Yes. We will hold hands and get through this sticky, ugly mess of a life together.
It’s a Win-Win.
You and Me.