Friday, June 22, 2012


Self-portrait of the Photographer as a Cantankerous Woman


I am a person who can sometimes be difficult to "help."
For one thing, I absolutely HATE unsolicited advice. A person giving unsolicited advice assumes himself to be better than me, to know more than I do, to understand my situation better than I do. (Even solicited advice can be way off the mark of what is needed.)
I will freely admit to being cantankerous. I get more so every year.
I have a difficult time following advice. It rarely seems to work for me. My situation often feels totally unique and separates me from the rest of humanity.
Worse yet, I hate being indebted to people, especially certain people, especially when I am feeling vulnerable. Often, I would rather suffer than ask for help. I feel as if I am begging--and that harks back to days when I lived on the streets and actually had to beg for food to survive. It makes me feel less than.
I hate long lectures with lots of irrelevant information when I ask a simple question.
On the other hand, I am often deeply grateful to certain people in certain circumstances for their help. It's hard for me to parse the difference between the times when help is joyous to receive and I feel deep gratitude and those times when I feel anger and resentment. This will require more thought.
Advice can be desired and helpful; for example, if someone has a skill I don't possess, sometimes the easiest way to learn something is to have someone show me. For example, I am learning how to do 3D photography, and I LOVE having someone show me little shortcuts and tricks. And since the experts in my 3D club seem EAGER to be helpful, I do not feel as if I am burdening them with my neediness.
I will freely ask a smiling person to take my picture when I am traveling alone. Smiles help me feel less frightened of asking for help.
Not wanting to be a possible burden to others and resenting being made to feel stupid are two of the main reasons asking for help is difficult for me.


Coffeypot said...

Well, if you want my advice I say CHILL!

John said...

Love your honesty and sincerity Mary. I think you missed out patronizing? That is one of my pet hates too and along with the rest it is probably something else I do without thinking. I better keep quiet now! :)