Is there a greater feeling than having a safe embrace to run and hide in when something scares you? A feeling greater than that soft quiet triumph of overcoming oneself and admitting the need for help and understanding?
For years – most of my life in fact – I was almost totally self-proficient in this respect. You see, when one doesn’t need anyone else there is little or no chance of getting hurt. So really, it seemed a great deal to me. I got to be independent and stand on my own two feet… and outwardly I seemed rock solid to the rest of the world. Always there, always a comfort and support when others were struggling. Never being the one needing to reach out and ask for anything myself.
I guess for the longest time I’d arrogantly convinced myself it was because I was just “that good” at maintaining myself. And I believed it as firmly as anything. Then one day I met someone… He was different from me but had conditioned himself to being much the same way. A hard ass. It never impressed me. In fact, I found it rather primitive and obviously a cover-up. I guess that was arrogant of me too, because in truth I never gained enough insight into him or his way to understand his motives and reasons.
But what it did do was mirror to me what I was doing myself. And if I didn’t like it in him, I most certainly abhorred it in me. That’s when all the walls began crumbling. That’s when I started to wonder for the first time just how much of my own behaviour and character I was and had been blind to. And I made a vow to myself that I would learn to need again.
It was freeing to be honest. To suddenly be dependent on others again. To have expectations of them and of myself as well. Nothing comes for free, I knew that… and somehow it made me feel more whole to admit that I was not omnipotent – no big surprise in that to most I guess, but at the time it was to me. However, what felt even better was realizing the gift of allowing others to be something to me… to be needed by me… to have purpose and strength and loyalty and support and love to give to me and actually feel that it made a difference to me. It made them happy and feel good… those who’d stuck it out with this brick wall that was me for so long. It balanced things somehow in a way I’d never understood was necessary.
Of all the things I have learned in my adult life, this probably was the one I consider the most important. And I have learned to need… learned to ask for help. I have learned to fear the way I was before far more than the possibility of rejection. And it is there. Ever-present. But such is life.
The man who inspired this lesson in me I lost touch with long ago. It could never have worked… two people insisting they had no need for each other, yet having this insatiable need to be needed. *smiles softly* It is kind of funny now that I think back on it. But wherever he is now, I am hoping he is well and has found what fulfils him.
As for myself… I go along, doing the best I can. Sometimes, it is hopelessly inadequate. Other times, I do okay, I think. The act of reaching out for help has slowly become sacred to me. It is something I still only entrust with those few people I hold the closest to my heart. I am sure they must sometimes wonder and grit their teeth when I hesitate or stumble through what seems so simple to them… but they are good people and luckily for me it is rarely ever really held against me.
So even if my hand is trembling and I feel a little queasy … usually there is always someone there to take it and hold it tightly and safely until the tremors subside. I do not know that I could ever hope or wish for a greater blessing than that.