7 Reasons Not to NOT Ask for Help

7 Reasons Not to Not Ask for Help by Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)

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.

7 Reasons Not to Not Ask for Help by Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)

In no particular order:

  1. 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…
  2. 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?
  3. 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!
  4. That’s your problem: you know hoarding is a mental illness, right?
  5. That’s the problem with your generation. Always expecting something for nothing. Get off your lazy *blank* and clean your *blankety-blank* yourself!
  6. Are.You.Serious. There are kids being trafficked, cities being bombed, and you have the audacity to complain about your basement?
  7. 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?

7 Reasons Not to Not Ask for Help by Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)

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.7 Reasons Not to Not Ask for Help by Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)

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.

Until today.

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.)

My amazing mother and me with giant toothbrushes at a kids’ museum

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.








26 thoughts on “7 Reasons Not to NOT Ask for Help

  1. Oh, Pearl! We all have something. For me, it is my workstation at home. I try so hard to be organized, but the next thing I know I have piles of papers labeld: SHRED FILE RESPOND ASK DAN ABOUT

    Loved your humor in this piece. We all talk to ourselves every day, and I enjoy hearing what you told yourself! (Be kind to Pearl, please!)

  2. I totally freaked out on my family about a week ago because of the state of my basement. It had been bothering me for weeks, but I didn’t make them go down and clean it until I was near an explosion. In my defense, they’d been playing a game and got out half of the things stored down there (and then managed to lose a winter boot). But still, I need to be WAY better about asking for help than working a passive-aggressive, “you guys made a big mess down here” attitude. Thanks for the honesty, my friend.

    1. Janyre, I’m with you. Something about unfinished games with pieces strewn everywhere drives me nuts. (I’m currently staring at a half-finished game of Mario Monopoly!) Here’s to us being infinitely-loved works in progress! Hugs.

  3. I am right there with you – only it is my desk, not the basement. One day at a time I clean a little more off, and then three new things appear to take the empty space back. I need to just stay home one day when everyone is gone and get through the whole thing!
    Thanks for the laughs Pearl!

    1. Carol, glad you gained a laugh. 🙂 It’s such a process, isn’t it? I think half the battle is deciding how to deal with all the incoming stuff! I’d love to see a before/after pic of your desk!

  4. Lol! Pearl, you crack me up! And no, you’re not alone in that suggestive-statement-means-question trait. Been there, done that…maybe I should order the t-shirts?

    Though I don’t have a basement, I do have mucho junk shoved in closets and storage. We seriously need to eliminate, or trash A LOT. My sister in-law and I have talked many times about a joint garage sale and minimalist living. Not sure when that’s gonna happen.

    1. Melissa, if you order ’em, I’ll wear one, too! 😉 Wish I could help you gals set up your garage sale! You know the best part of even just going through one tiny drawer? It mysteriously seems to help clean the inside of me, too. (Now, how does that work??) I threw out two old pairs of socks the other day and felt so much better that there was less in my sock drawer. LOL Here’s to us taking a baby step in the right direction! Hugs, sweet sister. 🙂

  5. I can relate! I just recently finished a similar project with the help of my parents. (There’s still one tub that needs to be donated, but I digress.) And your description of awesome moms with “that get’er’done attitude to power through a job I’m capable of with a little help and the right mind set”? Spot on! Thanks for an entertaining and relateable post. 🙂

    1. Bless those amazing parents of ours! 🙂 I’m praying I can pay it forward and help my kids not end up on an episode of Hoarders! (Ha ha ha) Grateful you enjoyed the post. Hugs!

  6. Great! So now I’m jealous and need to repent. Or maybe I should ask for help. Can your mom come over to my basement please? Actually I want to throw away 75% of everything I own- throughout the entire house! Less is more sometimes- less to take care of and more time to write. (I do have friend coming over next week to do our annual reorganizing of my art studio. 🙂

    Hey- you’re distracting me from writing, Pearl! 😉

    1. Rachael! Sister, you crack me up!!! (No need to be jealous, trust me.) If I was closer, I’d love to come over and help you with your basement. Lord knows how many more years it would have been if I hadn’t had help! And once one thing is cleaned up, it just points out the next-messiest thing…always something to work on over here! How’d things go reorganizing your art studio?

  7. Beautiful photos on this page! Glad your basement is organized–I so understand. I am taking small steps at clutter reduction but have a ways to go. Visiting from FMF.

    1. Carol, yay for baby steps! There is always some work-in-progress going on, isn’t there? Around us, in us… Grateful you enjoyed the photos! Photo credit: Johanna Froese Photography. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting from FMF!

  8. I’m just very glad i wasn’t taking a sip of coffee when i read this. Lol. Especially #3. But I’d rather like to think its genetic. I have issues. What keeps me chained is indeed the overwhelm and lack of time, (i know flylady can go thru stuff in an hour but i can’t). Also, right now I’m wating on our lower level to be finished (remodeled) from the floods of ’08 and ’09. Then i can start an upstairs room that needs purged. But in the purging i need places , i.e. downstairs, to put the “to save”, “to put back ” things. Once those two rooms are done i think i will have space physical, mental and time to work on the rest. Mostly excuses, some valid. I do have one daughter who is very good at pitching. She is also good at saving things she knows i need to make decisions about, or that she knows not to toss. The other daughter…would just toss everything. ? i also have friends who have offered to help. But then there is that need to have some projects finished and the house immaculate before i invite them over. Lol .

    1. Hee hee hee! 😉 Carol, so glad it resonated! Sounds like you’ve got a good mother-daughter duo going on, too. Oh girl…I feel your pain. Like we have to have it all together or something before we let people in. I’m so with you. Baby steps, right? It definitely feels good to have breathing room when you’re done – even a small piece at a time. Here’s to eating our elephants one bite at a time – with friends! Hugs.

  9. This post came at a good time for me. I’m really glad you got your basement done. House work of any variety can be overwhelming and feel intimidating to start. I had a situation this week where I messaged some friends from church to see if they knew of a good handyman they could recommend. We have a list of items that need doing that I am not able to do and neither is my husband either due to lack of expertise or physical limitation. I got a recommendation but also got how wonderful this individual’s husband is because he did everything around their house. It’s difficult for me to ask for help for many reasons, not just the innate vulnerability, and the additional detail with the response didn’t help. After speaking to another Christian friend yesterday and this post, it’s helping me not read too much into the WAY MORE than adequate response to my need. Thank you for the post. I’ve also been praying about finding the right handyman and I KNOW HE will best fill our need and in the time we need.

    1. Michelle! Sweet sister! I shredded your address after I mailed you, and I didn’t see a return address on the letter you sent – so I had no way to tell you THANK YOU for your incredibly sweet letter and the beautiful bookmarks! You seriously made my day!!! Your MawMaw sounds like an amazing woman. I’ll admit I haven’t yet read Eugenia Price’s books but I plan to (don’t give up on me!). Thrilled to hear this post is helpful to you! We need each other, don’t we? Praying with you that the right person for the job will bless you far beyond what you’re even hoping! Hugs. 🙂

  10. Haaaaaaaahahahahaha! Love, love, love this post! And I totally feel your pain and your joy. I’m actually gonna revel in the giddiness while ignoring the chaos in my basement. Until I go down there. Then I suspect I’ll slump my shoulders, wince, and trudge back upstairs to read this again. And pray for some help. 😀

    1. Phew! If Dots likes it, I’m alright. 🙂 Sister, I so wish I could come and help you with your basement! Feeling the pain! Hmmm, wondering if there’s a future FaceTime-ing with clients as they clean. I could be their virtual cheerleader and help them feel permission to chuck what’s served its purpose…Hmmm, you got my wheels spinning! Hahahaha!

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