Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Living the Life of an Artist
Asking for help is an issue that many find difficult. For me, it was so. People mean well, but I’m always afraid that they don’t really have the time. That proves true when others are busy when I do ask. The hardest part for me was asking for help in the simplest of things and the chores that I felt was my job and that no one else should have to deal with. For instance, I couldn’t bend over to clean the cat box or empty my mother’s catheter bag. It was hard for me to have someone else do my laundry. If something got dropped on the floor, it stayed there until someone came over. These are things that you just can’t ask any person to do.

The very worst of having pulled muscles in my back was needing to twist and bend to take care of… private issues… when any kind of reaching brought tears and howls. That I refused to ask help in and had to deal with the pain and self embarrassment alone.

Dealing with feelings of guilt is a challenge, too. Will I ever be able to reciprocate? Should there be monetary payment and how could I afford that? And the most awful thought, would I be willing to do for someone else all they have done for me?

Then there were three shows in a row. I’d looked forward to these all summer. I couldn’t back out. I was committed. The first I was able to get delivery of my submission through the help of someone who also needed the same service.

For the Open Studio Tour, I couldn’t ask the people who were taking care of my mother’s needs to do this. All the regular people who would have come to my aid had prior commitments. Luckily, I’d met a woman last month who offered to help and she was great. The first show was a success.

However, my new friend got sick during the week and couldn’t help on the following weekend. Again others had commitments as September is a busy month. Another artist friend offered, but I was leery of taking her up on that because she had her own set up to do. I felt guilty because it wasn’t so much helping me do the work as it was doing ALL the work as I could not bend or lift.

The host of the event promised to help, too, and also volunteered her husband. My truck was packed up by another friend and I drove to Penacook. It was the longest drive since the injury and by the time I arrived, getting out of the vehicle was difficult, but I got over it. Between the host and hostess and help from another artisan’s husband, I was set up in no time, and another helped with the display. At the end of the weekend, these people were wonderfully gracious in packing me back up. I could not thank them enough.

What does this say about asking for help? Don’t give up when the first person you ask cannot. Be willing to say yes to those who offer. Do not feel guilty because in some time and in some way you will be able to help someone else. If you cannot pay, is there a something or a service you can trade?

I am so thankful for all the help that I’ve received during this stressful time. I am also grateful for all the advice, support, and encouragement. I’m still mending and improving every day. Life is good!

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