21 Days ago I came home to an eviction notice. I was already struggling to get by and knew it was coming. My mother is facing her own hardships. My grandparents. Stepdad #1. My sister’s father. EVERYONE I normally depend on I no longer felt comfortable asking for help. I didn’t want to further disadvantage them because I hadn’t figured it out.
I never asked my biological father. He’s barely been out of jail one season and I didn’t want some heroic attempt to prove he cares about me to get him sent right back.
I’ve always been pretty independent. My mother said she always knew I wouldn’t stay local for college. But 21 days ago I began to drown. Alone. Independently. As more & more bills and shut off notices arrived and no income coming in. I even owed the LIBRARY money. THE LIBRARY!
29 days ago I helped my older sister handle a serious setback in her life. I lie beside her as she asked Step Dad #1 to tell her he loved her & that he would always be there to support her. In that moment I envied her because although I may have the burden & blessing of THREE father figures I never built that type of bond. I never developed a sense of security and trust in the efforts of one other individual that their words alone were enough to fuel me through a tough situation.
Today my last boyfriend offered to pay my past due rent. I’ve been very short and dismissive of him for months. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable asking for …He stopped me and said “You didn’t ask I offered. I still care about you. I still love you. I still have love for you, and I want to help.” We talked outside for a few hours because the bank and the rental office were both closed due to unrest here in Baltimore. Before he left he said “Next time someone offers you help ask yourself ‘Am I the type of woman who deserves help?’ do it”
It never dawned on me that I had somehow convinced myself that I was undeserving of his help. I didn’t want it because I didn’t want to feel as though I owed him anything.
As he drove off he repeated “Just ask yourself if you deserve help. I think you do and that’s why I’m willing to help you.”
None of my father’s ever made me feel like I deserved something I didn’t work for. My biological father bought me things because he thought it made up for time lost. Step Dad #1 did nice things for me because at that time we did nice things as a unit. My sister’s father initially did things for me to impress my mother and later as a reward for good grades, but not once do I recall them instilling in me that even when I couldn’t do for self I was deserving of a hand up.
Maybe I’m overlooking instances of assistance because I felt like that’s what parents are SUPPOSED to do. I do know that those four words got my gears churning. DO I deserve help?
Penned April 28th, 2015