Women are like flowers. There’s more to that simile than just a comparison of two beautiful things. We value a bloom’s beauty, and also its fragility. The hard-to-grow, fussy flowers are the ones that are most in demand. Nobody’s going nuts about wildflowers that grow between rocks and the weeds that bloom – no matter how beautiful.
Is it the same with women? As a self-sufficient, hyper-independent woman (trust me, I am working on that trauma) I’m in awe of women who can express their need for assistance. They throw tantrums and demand better treatment without fear of being abandoned. They ask for help and expect the people who love them to do things for them. There’s a sense of being difficult, but also being delicate. They exist to be looked after – and people fight to be the lucky person who gets to buy them a little treat and cuddle them while watching White Lotus when they’ve had a bad day.
I’ve always rejected help. I was taught that needing things is not okay; I should be able to do everything myself. I should be understanding when things don’t go my way. I find being comforted uncomfortable. If someone offers to do a nice thing for me, I’m finding it very fucking sus. Rationally, I’m aware that this makes little sense and it’s actually okay to need help. It doesn’t change the fact that I feel shame and guilt long after the act of uttering the words ‘I need help.’ I wish I could be a damsel, and I’m starting to feel like the self-sufficient energy is isolating me.
I compare myself to a weed. Maybe there’s a reason why nobody pays for the Dandelion. She’s pretty enough and gets admired in passing as you walk to your corner store to buy a new vape, but no one’s paying hundreds for her at the organic summer market.
So now I wonder if because I’m too self-sufficient, people look at me and think ‘she doesn’t need me so why bother?’ I always believed I would be the easiest partner because I don’t need anything. Turns out I’m the least capable of building a connection. Ironically, I feel closest to people when I’m helping them. So it’s taken me a very long time to understand that people need to feel needed by me in order to build a bond. The act of being there for someone makes us feel closer to them. Being needed is important in a relationship, and I never give the people around me permission to be helpful.
Learning to need help and be vulnerable or ‘needy’ is a daily battle. I feel a combination of pathetic and annoying putting myself out there and asking for help. I feel like I’m being manipulative. I’m finally able to let someone buy me a drink without feeling like I owe them something. The next step is sharing how I feel and letting someone comfort me when I’m feeling down without feeling embarrassed. The thought is unsettling, but this will be the start of a practice in softness.
I’ll start here: If you have any ideas on how I can get more comfortable asking for help, and allowing myself to need others, please send them to me – it’ll really help me.