I was dropping my daughter off at preschool today when a woman got out of her vehicle to tell me her and her son were freezing because the car wouldn’t start. She explained she was waiting on AAA and they weren’t there yet. I told her that I had jumper cables and could easily help her out or if she wanted to wait for AAA I’m sure the school would allow them to warm up inside.
She went on to say that no one in the school could help her out. She asked and no one had cables. She explained again that AAA was coming. I offered to jump her car again and she explained that they were cold and AAA should be coming soon.
It was awkward. And mildly frustrating.
I finally assured her I could do it and insisted I didn’t mind. She agreed. I whipped my vehicle around and started her car in less than five minutes.
Then I thought about her the whole ride home.
Mostly I was just processing what just happened. And why it took so long to agree to let me help her out. Was she afraid I couldn’t do it? Was she concerned that AAA would show up in the middle of all this?
Was she afraid to ask for help?
She was so hesitant on letting me do this for her. It really seemed like she didn’t want to ask or to put me out of my way. The interesting thing is I brought my daughter to school a little early and was parked right behind this woman. At one point, she got out of the car and stood there like she was looking for someone. Eventually, she got back in and didn’t say anything to me until I was walking back to my vehicle.
I got to thinking… why did she wait so long to say something to someone? She had been sitting there for awhile with her son in the back. They both had thick coats on but it’s a whopping 23 degrees out today. They had to be cold. It seemed absurd.
Until I remembered the time when I was broken down and didn’t say anything.
I, too, was in a school admin parking lot and there were UPS drivers and maintenance people in and out of the building. Some walked right by me as I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I was waiting on AAA too. No one offered and I didn’t ask.
It was my own fault I sat there for as long as I did.
I think too often we don’t ask for help because we feel bad. We feel bad to put anyone out. We feel bad to interrupt someone else’s day. We feel bad because we [women] are caretakers and it’s ingrained in us to not need help. We run around with our duties and making other lives easier.
I’m not sure what it is but when we ask someone to help us, there is a feeling that comes up with the question. And it’s usually followed with a “sorry.” We apologize for needing. Is that feeling guilt? Embarrassment? Shame?
Whatever it is, we have to cut that shit out.
Asking for help doesn’t make us powerless or weak. It makes us human and sometimes it’s OK to lean on someone else. Without apologies.
Why do you think we apologize for needing help?
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