I’ve always tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. I try to be independent. I don’t seek out charity. I don’t ask for help.
Now I’m injured. I can barely walk on my ankle. I’m also hungry because I’m running out of groceries. I need to do laundry. I need to clean the house. I need to go grocery shopping. I need to do all this but my ankle makes it difficult to do much of anything. I can’t fall asleep because I can’t find a comfortable position so I toss and turn. I’m physically exhausted and emotionally exhausted due to the frustration of needing to do something but putting myself in pain and potentially making things worse.
Now, knowing all of this, I made a dreadful decision. I threw all of my dirty clothes into the basement and managed to hobble down the stairs to do laundry. Now, of course, I didn’t think things through so it was a process bringing clean clothes up the stairs. I somehow managed and now I have clean underwear.
I let my laundry adventure make me think I could conquer the grocery store. The grocery store in my neighborhood was shuttered last summer so I’m still in the process of finding a new grocery store. I’ve been going to Meijer but I’m still trying to navigate Meijer since their remodel. I told myself if I was going to attempt to grocery shop then I needed a familiar store. I decided to go to Kroger in Hazel Park. I went and bought $50 worth of groceries but, like the laundry, I didn’t think things through. It was managable getting myself to Kroger but I didn’t think about how I was going to hobble home with x amount of grocery bags.
Tonight has made me question my decision to avoid help. In my family we have a stigma against asking for help. My family have characterized others as being lazy and weak. I know better. I’m a social work major. I know that asking for help, for assistance is one of the bravest things a person can do. But, knowing that and applying it to my own life is easier said than done.
Last year I read a brilliant book by Brêne Brown called Rising Strong. The book talks about vulnerability among other things. It’s the vulnerability piece that I struggle with.
For myself I equate vulnerability with weakness. I don’t ever want to be viewed as weak. As a gay man, there’s already an implicit bias against me because gay men are stereotyped as weak. Making myself vulnerable and asking for assistance makes me look weak. While I know that I could ask someone to take me grocery shopping and most wouldn’t mind there’s also this tiny voice that tells me that if I ask then I’m going to become a burden. Worse yet I grew up in a family where no effort went without strings attached. I don’t want to feel I’m forever indebted to someone because they did me a favor. In my family you don’t want to become beholden to someone else and you don’t want to become a burden. These twin thoughts rise up whenever I get to a breaking point. Like tonight , I choose to go my own way and, honestly, I probably did more damage to my ankle.
I don’t know what it all means. This is one of those times where my journal is my de facto therapist.