They say that everything in life has a price. And I’m not talking about a monetary price. I am talking about an emotional price. For every bit of growth we achieve, we pay a price in return. Painful memories. Hurt feelings. Lost friendships. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Fear. A broken heart. For the most part, the growth that comes with the pain overrides it, makes it worthwhile. And I guess that’s why we continue to grow. If it wasn’t worth it to us, we would still be the same people we were a year ago, 10 years ago, even a week ago. And how many of us can truly say that?
But sometimes, the growth gets stunted by the pain. Either from a bad experience, or many of them, or from an inordinate fear of failure or rejection. And sometimes that part of us that gets stunted becomes impervious to growth, stuck in a comfortable, SAFE rut that, over time, seems nearly impossible to climb back out of, and hardly worth the effort, since, so far, it has WORKED.
I have such a growth problem. It surrounds the issue of asking for help. I hate to do it. For ANY reason. My insides bunch up, my palms sweat, my heart races, and the certainty of rejection and ridicule and disdain pecks at my brain like the crow of a dark omen. I didn’t become this way overnight. Many, many incidents have contributed to the fear and anxiety and “underhanded” way I have developed to ask for help without feeling like I am really asking.
When I was being sexually abused as a child, I asked for help. I was called a liar. By the perpetrator, by the psychiatrist, by my own mother. When my mother changed her mind and believed me several years later, it helped me some. Until I found out it was all a selfish plot on her part to get money, not a genuine love for me that prompted her change of heart. I asked for help with homework, and got called stupid. I had a brief problem with shoplifting as a young teenager, and I asked for help. I got called a loser. I can still remember the very last time I asked for help with the feeling of confidence that I would be. I was 17 years old, only a few weeks away from leaving home for college. I happened to be at my boyfriend’s house, and had too much to drink. I called my mother, told her there was no way I would be able to drive home, and could she either pick me up, or I would just sleep it off there. She seemed ok with me sleeping it off. I knew she was angry, and I never thought she wouldn’t be, and never imagined I wouldn’t be punished, but I never thought she would be cruel. I thought calling and staying safe was the right thing to do. See, my boyfriend was black. Well, ALL of my boyfriends have been. And she didn’t like that much. When I woke up the next day, I found out that she had reported my car stolen. A report was in the newspaper. I went home to talk to her, and she was waiting for me. Told me to give her the keys, because she had already sold my car. I really couldn’t even believe it. I thought sure she was joking. She wasn’t. I started walking towards my room. She basically tackled me, pulling my hair, and grabbed the keys. There went my car. I had to call my job and tell them I quit because I had no way to get there. A few days later, my mother was stil not talking to me. It was only about a week and a half before it was time for me to leave for college. I started feeling really sick. The next day, I could barely even get up out of bed. My back hurt, and my head felt like it was on fire. Unfortunately, there was no medicine in the house at the time other than Tylenol, which didn’t do much. That night, my fever rose, I really don’t know how high, but I do know I was hallucinating a bit off and on, and my teeth were chattering out of control, despite having three blankets on. I guess my teeth must have been chattering really loudly, because all the sudden my mother burst into my room. “Shut up, I can’t even sleep through all your noise,” she said. I told her I was really sick, could she please help me, I needed medicine, and I couldn’t get it myself without a car. She told me to get it myself, and shut up in the meantime, cause she didn’t care anymore about my stupid lies. I called a friend the next day who was nice enough to bring me some medicine, and the symptoms subsided. Turns out what I had had was an acute kidney infection, because just a few weeks later it flared up again, and I was afraid to go to the doctor, and my roomates found me and literally had to drag me down to the clinic. By that time, it took two doses of antibiotic to get rid of it, and it very nearly became a chronic issue for me.
Since that day, it has been nearly impossible for me to ask for help without feeling hesitant, ashamed, mortified, weak. There have been other things that have happened since then that have only cemented my feelings. Although some of them were probably caused in part by my “new” defensive way of asking for help. Of using subtlety and talking around the subject, making the person guess at what it is I want instead of just asking directly and risk rejection, ridicule, or worse. That’s part of the reason it took me so long to leave my abusive situation, is that I didn’t feel like I deserved the help, and if I asked I would just be rejected and have to stay anyway. In fact, one of the staff at the shelter basically did tell me she didn’t think I should be there. Luckily for me, for the most part I got a much better reception, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here today, safe and moving upward bit by bit.
OK, um, the few of you who have been brave enough to read through all that are probably now wondering what the HECK the point of all this is. I think I have worked my way up to it now. OK. I need help. (OK, that was a bit difficult, but not devastating.)
This month, my computer is six years old. I wonder every day whether it will make it much longer. The only upgrades I have ever really been able to afford to do on it have been getting a bit more memory (have 48 megs now instead of 16) and I had to buy an external modem when the internal one went kaput. Before I left my boyfriend, I had nearly $1,000 saved up towards a new one from all the daycare I was doing. One of the hardest things for me being in the shelter was watching that money dwindle away. It was $200 a month just to keep my stuff in storage (this was the only unit they had available, even though I didn’t really need one that big). The baby had no winter clothes to speak of, so towards the end of the summer I had to start getting him things, and I had to buy Gregory some things for school, since although I planned to leave, I didn’t plan on being in a different state far away from all of his winter clothing that I had stored away. So here I am, all my hard-earned money gone, and my computer just barely cranking out enough speed to keep up with my typing. Before I left I was also beginning to try my hand at freelance web design as an additional source of income, although I used my boyfriend’s computer a lot for that, because it was much better than mine. I am also trying to get into the community college here for web design. So here is my dilemma. What I REALLY wanted to do was pay for a new computer on my own, but although my credit has improved to the point where they didn’t turn me down flat for the loan this time, I would need a cosigner. Unfortunately for me, while I am blessed with some of the best friends a person could ever want, and all of them were more than willing, they were not able to help me in this manner, although, for the record, they HAVE been wonderful enough to help with the free hosting of this site, and for the time being, with internet access so that I can be here with everyone. I am on a VERY fixed income of about $429 a month right now, so without this help it would be virtually impossible for me to be online. So, my friends suggested I try setting up a Paypal account and asking people to donate. Oh, how I agonized over this. I would NEVER want people to say I am taking advantage, or just out there trying to get money from people. I am NOT like that, and this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, I think. But, as one of my dearest friends once said, pride, one of those pesky deadly sins, has no place here.
If you feel moved to donate something that might help, I would be grateful from the bottom of my heart. If not, I would still be grateful that you even took the time out of your day to read about this. Besides, without you guys reading me, I am basically just a looney, lonely lady typing to myself. And I appreciate ALL of you so much. I guess I need to make my own button for this soon, but for now, if you DO want to help out, here’s the link.

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Categories: Miscellany


Kari · October 11, 2002 at 11:33 am

I’m leavin you the first comment… tellin you how very proud i am of you…and how brave you are.
I support you whole heartedly…and think only good things about you, Tricia.
I’ll be back later to read and comment again. Just needed to be the first one to say….I LOVE YOU. And i’m all for this….100 percent.

Kari · October 11, 2002 at 11:40 am

Ok. I am literally crying over here. I just read everything… didn’t think I had the chance to… and you are… remarkable. The risk you put in placing yourself out there even after the consequences of doin so in the past… is… breathtaking.
You opened yourself up Tricia…sacraficing self indeed … maybe now you can see that askin for help does not result in pain.
I am so sorry if my earlier reactions added fuel to this already flamin issue. I feel like an ass.
I am so glad you are a part of my life. So glad.
GOtta go for reals now… I love you.

Rikki · October 11, 2002 at 4:17 pm

:wah: Tricia…I relate to that post on SO many levels. I can’t even get into that here. I just wanted you to know that you are not weak. You are not stupid. You are a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit. And if people know the little bit I know about you, this is a chance to show that you are appreciated. Count me in. :lovey:

alex · October 11, 2002 at 4:21 pm

you know i understand some of what you’ve been through, and i know the emotional risk you take by sharing all of this with us. i am SO proud of you AND proud to know you. 🙂
love you!!!!!!!

Rashida · October 11, 2002 at 10:38 pm

Wow Tricia. I wish I could give you a real hug. Not because I feel pity, but because I feel your pain. My childhood was somewhat like yours…one the sexual abuse thing, ‘cept I kept it all inside…but I am very hesitant on asking people for help also. Probably to the point of stupidity. But I’d much rather do things on my own, and not needing to become dependant on anybody.

Allan · October 12, 2002 at 8:42 am

hmm… i was moved by that.
take care.

rowz · October 12, 2002 at 8:49 am


Missie · October 12, 2002 at 11:02 am

You are such a special person. I only wish that i could have a fraction of your bravery and strength. You trully are an inspiration.
With Love
Missie xx

su(zi)e · October 12, 2002 at 4:01 pm

You break my heart, girl. Every time. I’m saying, “oh, my life is so difficult…”. And it isn’t. It’s a bloody bed of roses. Thank you for making me see how good I have it. And for being so brave and strong and never for one moment losing yourself in the crap that other people have made you deal with.

cat · October 12, 2002 at 4:19 pm

everyone thinks they have it bad, and they do. in some way or another. some face more than others, and some face hardly any. that’s why when something horrible happens many aren’t prepared, but you tricia, it’s amazing what you’ve been through and what you can now do because of your experiences. this has hopefully made you stronger than most people, and it’s ok to ask for help. always. :lovey:

drublood · October 12, 2002 at 6:25 pm

I feel moved to comment, although I’m not quite sure what to say. I hope you are able to get the help you need – I would certainly help you if I could afford to.
Please let me know if there’s anything else you need that I can help with.

Al · October 12, 2002 at 10:39 pm

October 12, 2002

sicksider · October 13, 2002 at 11:58 am

wow, i went thru such similar situations with my own mother. sometimes i look back at her cruelty with amazement.
i too, have had to ask for help and as hard as it was, i am glad i broke down and did it. the help received has restored my faith in people again little by little.
sending good thoughts your way…..

Lloyd R. Belthazar · October 14, 2002 at 12:31 am

I am shocked in reading this one.
WOW… I never really knew there was this side till now, and I’m just holding my breath trying to read this post outloud to myself. No wonder your growth has gotten you all the way into the height of wisdom.
*HUGS 10000000x*

Simply Sara · October 16, 2002 at 6:47 pm

Tricia *HUGS* I can relate to your post as much of my childhood was the same. I wish I had the funds to help you…you are so brave and I’m so glad you are in the place you are today. Do you know how many aren’t…too many!

Darni · October 18, 2002 at 7:12 pm

i don’t know what to say. i just want you to see / to know that i’m here. life has been hard for me for the past year and a half but i must say that i was blessed to have the mother i had. its funny ’cause her mother was somewhat similar to yours (we call our grandmother grumpy). nevertheless i’m rambling. something some folks do when they don’t really know what to say.

Antonio g · October 18, 2002 at 9:06 pm

Thanks for sharing … ’cause opening up could be one of the hardest things to do.

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