“WHO’S GOT A TAMPON? I JUST GOT MY PERIOD.”
It’s a problem so many of us have, we know we need help but we’re afraid to ask. Whether it’s money, work or emotional there is a fear that surrounds admitting you need help. In the past I’ve definitely struggled to admit that I can’t handle everything and accepting help seemed to me like failing. Of course this has led to countless disasters and many tearful evenings as I sat in my room with piles of work I knew I couldn’t handle alone but didn’t know how to ask for help with.
Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that you aren’t supposed to handle everything alone. It isn’t possible. Our lives are designed around the concept of a community, yet so often we are afraid to ask others for anything. I used to struggle asking someone if it was ok to use their toilet. I know. It’s ridiculous, right?
Then one day I stumbled upon a Ted talk by one of my favourite musicians Amanda Palmer. Her talk ‘The Art of Asking’ addressed the topic of why we’re so afraid to ask for help and caused a massive change in my perspective. I was most inspired by her story of work as a human statue, the description she gave of the connection she felt to the people who watched her and gave money was incredible. For a second it was my dream to become a human statue, just a second though.
When her Ted talk went viral she transformed it into a beautiful 336 page book which has to be one of my top 5 non-fiction books. As she speaks of her journey from human statue to struggling musician to not so struggling musician you become dragged into her world, into her life and it’s beautifully unique. Amanda delves deeply into each stage of her life changing your view of human connection, love and generosity. I learned more about her relationship with author Neil Gaiman then I ever thought I would but it only cemented my opinion that they are the perfect couple. Her honesty was refreshing, there was no airbrushing of the pain in the hard parts but at the same time there was no restraint to her enthusiasm in her successes. It’s that same honesty that I’ve always admired in her music so to see it shining through her book was magical.
When she spoke about how she felt asking her fans for help, or asking Neil for help it made me think back to when I’ve had to ask for something. The situations were vastly different but the feelings were the same, fear. Fear of being bound to someone, of having it thrown in your face later. Fear of being told no. It’s all the same whether your asking for help funding your album or asking for a tampon in a public toilet. It’s so easy to forget that most of the time people want to help. Not because you then owe them something but because people are good. People don’t expect you to do it all yourself because deep down, they know that they couldn’t either.