Recently, my family and I went swimming. It’s not something we do often, so when we go, we take full advantage. Water slide, diving board. It’s been a long time since I’d done a cannon ball. My older two can swim well. My youngest. . . well. . .
Not so much. She likes the water, and is perfectly glad to do what she can with the skills she has, but it’s not enough. And, my (very inexperienced) teaching hasn’t helped.
On this evening, she was doing . . . fine. Except she wasn’t brave enough to try the slide (something she could do), and she was scared to jump in allowing us to catch her, and she hadn’t learned to float, which basically meant that she hung on the edge. Not so fun.
Twenty minutes before we’d be leaving, I remembered the life vests. Our local pool keeps an entire mess of them. I hadn’t thought of them until then, but after watching my girl, gosh, I knew she needed a break.
I helped her strap it on and together we waded into the deep.
I’m not sure if she hasn’t experienced floating with a vest before or not. However, once she realized that she could jump, could swim. . .
Julia! Julia! I can swim with you! Watch me! Julia, watch me!
Dad! Dad! Watch! I can float! I can float! Watch!
And, while she was floating . . .
I feel so peaceful.
She was so happy.
I laughed so much. Swimming beside her, I danced in the water. She had gained an inch. Yeah, she wasn’t swimming on her own yet, but she was out there, independently able to do stuff. So what if she was getting help. She was doing it.
She was swimming.
Why is asking for help so hard?
Growing up, for me, there was shame in asking for help. I was expected to already know things, so not knowing translated into “I’m stupid”. I lived with that lie for many years. Not asking for help kept me on the outside of what could have been a different life. I didn’t step into an area on interest unless I “knew enough” about it so that I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I didn’t reach out to people when I was stuck because I was afraid of their perceptions. I took the Safe path with my education, my career choices, my relationships, keeping myself on the outside, trying to do everything on my own, to make myself good enough before I would engage.
I wonder if good enough ever would have become good enough.
Because, when life happened, I had to ask for help. I had no choice. As the year wore on, the pain worsened and I had no choice but to raise my hand, “I need help”.
What I found when I finally asked for it, from my husband, my friends, my counselor, from my mentors, was Love. Understanding. Patience (they didn’t expect me to have my shit together). And, honesty. The more I opened up and asked for what I needed, the more I saw the people around me step up, ready and willing to help me walk through my heartache.
I asked for help. I showed up, just as I was and I found the life that I needed so desperately.
What about you?
If it were just you and I, sitting on the front porch watching the sun sink slowly behind the trees, what would you say would help you right now?
What kind of life vest do you need?
What would help right now, right where you are? If you can, name something that is actionable.
Something else that I realized while watching my girl enjoy swimming for the first time is that I love being a part of these moments. I love seeing my people achieve things.
Want to share what would help you right now? Feel free to fill out my contact form. I would love to hear from you.
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