This post is based loosely on the Five Minute Friday community, in that I stole their word prompt: Because. And Overcome. (That’s pretty much the only resemblance.) This is a “just because I overcame” post.
When you’re not good at asking for help (ok, because I am not good at asking for help), sometimes my “question” comes out more like, “My basement sure is a disaster” when what I meant was “Could you find it somewhere in the deepest depths of your huge, benevolent heart to help a sister out and get me over this huge overwhelm of discouragement whenever I’m bombarded by the visual chaos in my basement?”
Besides the fact any first-grader can tell you the first approach is clearly a statement – I wasn’t actually asking for help – I’ve now unintentionally opened myself to a variety of interpretations I may not want. Following are real types of responses I’ve encountered to benign statements I’ve made or heard others make.
In no particular order:
- Always flaunting your stuff. Think having a basement makes you all that and a bag of chips, don’t you? Ever since you moved to that house…
- Selfish brat! You only think about yourself! Lloyd just got pink-slipped and is probably losing his basement and the rest of his house to the bank as we speak. What are you doing to help him?
- Greedy miser! Think about all the kids roaming homeless, starving, and wondering where their next meal is coming from. I’m sure they’d love to have your problem!
- That’s your problem: you know hoarding is a mental illness, right?
- That’s the problem with your generation. Always expecting something for nothing. Get off your lazy *blank* and clean your *blankety-blank* yourself!
- Are.You.Serious. There are kids being trafficked, cities being bombed, and you have the audacity to complain about your basement?
- You know, I heard a story once from a guy I met in a coffee shop when I was traveling through Timbuktu and he told me about this woman who collected blue porcelain cups from all over the world and kept them stored in her basement under her indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool. She actually trained with some famous coach but broke her leg right before trials. She had so much time sitting in hospital beds that she transformed her hobby and launched her porcelain cup career. I mean, she made some serious dough! After her leg healed, she abandoned her Olympic dream – swimming the 500m freestyle – to open an online museum and charge admission for virtual tours. Did you know she had one from Queen Elizabeth’s private collection? *
Have mercy. If it’s not others berating our feeble attempts at communication, we do a pretty good job berating ourselves. The internal dialogue can use a refresh sometimes…
So I really do have a basement. And it really was visual chaos that made me crazy in zero-to-sixty. You feel me?
I did attempt to clean it myself. Several times. I did try to prioritize other people’s more-important-than-my-basement’s needs over mine. (Gladly, not like I really enjoy sifting through chaos.) I probably was keeping stuff I didn’t need, but I hear that some of that is pretty normal, at least where I live. I think I was more discouraged than lazy. Conscientious is more commonly used to describe my work. The overwhelm that had to be overcome, especially at the beginning, required some serious energy I felt exhausted trying to muster.
So I really did ask a question and got some help. (Ok, the way it really went down was this dear friend, worth her weight in gold, asked me if I wanted help and I feebly answered “yes.” Same difference.)
She seemed like a safe person to trust with my mess. (I mean, isn’t that the heart of the matter? Asking for help screams vulnerability. Who likes to hand out guns to others and then trust them not to shoot you?) We made a good start in the short couple hours we had, and I was extremely grateful. But we’d only made a dent.
Then a couple weeks ago, another loving friend came over and kept me company and helped me chuck another big bag of trash and prep several boxes for giveaway. Again, very grateful she took time out of her day to hang with the real deal, suspend judgment, and help me.
Problem is: those several boxes are still sitting in my garage. And the momentum was lost to life. So I was back to crazy in zero-to-sixty.
My folks are visiting and my mother has that get’er’done attitude to power through a job I’m capable of with a little help and the right mind set. (Isn’t that what we’re asking for when we’re brave enough to reach out?) So when she asked, “Is there something you’d like help with?” I was honest. (Maybe a little trigger happy, but honest.)
We worked for three to four hours, breaked for lunch, and got back at it. We finished with ample time to pick up my kids from school. I think it’s against some unwritten writer’s rule to say, “My mother is freaking awesome!” but there – I just did. How will you cherish the people God puts in your life that help you look up sometimes?
And my basement is organized. Like, the whole thing! MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN!
So, it’s clear I’m asking you to not not ask for help. Right?
(And no, I’m not charging for virtual tours of my spotless basement, but I always accept likes, compliments, shares, money, and free coupons to virtual tours of blue porcelain cup museums.)
*Any and all resemblance to real persons is mostly coincidental and should not be relied upon for anything except entertainment purposes.