We may not have it all together, but together we can have it all.
-Wookiefoot, “All Together”
Backstory – I was originally going to post this just on Facebook, but then it turned into this giant thing that I just kept writing over the course the the last three hours so I figured I ought to post it onto a blog to make it more accessible. So, here it goes…
Okay friends, so here’s the deal. I am of the belief that, collectively, everyone living today has the resources and knowledge we all need to take care of each other and build a better world. I also think that a lot of us want to help others, because deep down I really think we’re all just really good people, but we don’t know how to move from that desire to help to truly taking the time and energy to help someone without expecting anything in return, without condition. Now, I’m going to try to put this belief into action through the magic of the internet, and I hope that all of my wonderful friends on Internetlandia and Facebooklandia will help me make this work!
So, here’s my idea. I am creating my own personal “Please help me, because I can’t do this thing called life alone” list. I am currently in the middle of quite a few of transitions in life, and there are certain things I am simply unable to do/acquire/change/build on my own. I’m thinking it’s going to kind of be like those “Honey Do” lists my parents would make for each other (maybe they still do…? ) – things that need fixed, or moved, or bought, or whatever other actions either one of my parents just could not do on their own, individually, by themselves. I’m creating this list, and I am putting it out there into the Internet World in the belief that someone, somewhere, will be able to help me acquire the knowledge, tools, (hu)man power, and/or various other resources to help me create the life I know I deserve, so that I have a greater ability to help others build the same for themselves.
If you don’t really get what I’m saying, and/or you think this is just a bunch of hippie nonsense, here’s a metaphor that might help give ya a little perspective: if you’ve ever been on an airplane, one of the first things the flight attendant shows all of the passengers is what to do in case of an emergency. If the oxygen masks are released, the flight attendant instructs, passengers with small children need to put the air masks securely on themselves first, and then on their child(ren) or anyone else that needs help. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, or even a little selfish (“How could I not put my children first?”), but when you think about it deeply, it actually makes a lot of sense. The reason we’re told to put our own oxygen mask on first is because, in case of an airplane emergency, we need all the strength we can get so we don’t pass out from lack of oxygen if we were to try and save someone else first.
The thing is, I may know that I’m strong enough to help the world, but without allowing myself access to what I need so my body/mind/spirit can function properly, that strength goes (mostly) untapped. This is what (I believe) the beautifully wise writer/activist/wonderful human being Audre Lorde, meant when she wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” (I’ll find the source for that in a bit – I just want to get this written and posted so I can wash my uniform before work tonight!)
So, without (much) further ado, here is my “Please help me, because I can’t do this alone” list. I appreciate any and all help anyone is able to offer. Also, please feel free to share this list – not necessarily for my own direct benefit (although that is definitely appreciated!), but because I know I am not the only person out there that has things they need help with and just don’t know how to ask, or more likely don’t feel like they are worthwhile enough for someone to take the time to help (that’s something I’ve felt quite a bit during my 26 years alive thus far). But see, here’s my thought on that particular I’m-not-good/worthy/kind/loving/beautiful/whatever-enough-to-help feeling: All of us, everyone reading this, everyone talking about this, everyone you pass on the street without ever making eye contact, everyone sleeping on the streets, everyone making billions of dollars on the top floor of the tallest building in New Work City, everyone that comes through my drive-thru at Burgerville with an especially grumpy attitude, everyone hiding their hearts behind a police badge and riot gear, everyone trying desperately to distance themselves from one another but never truly feeling at peace, ever, anywhere… We are all alive. We are all breathing, living, coexisting on this planet. And that means we still, all of us, have the capacity and capability to share kindness, to share hope, to share love.
So share. Be kind. Love. Give whatever you can, whenever you can, freely and with no expectation of immediate or direct reciprocation. Because, in this painful, disconnected, fear- and catastrophe-driven society, we have to remember that kindness, compassion, empathy, and Love are the most powerful forces in the entire universe.
Okay. Here’s my list. I bolded the specific things that I am asking for, because I know I have a tendency to write a lot and some people do not necessarily want to read everything but still want to see if they can help. Please let me know if you are able to help or know of anyone that can – my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can contact me on Facebook (if we’re not friends yet, you can find me by searching my full name – Anniella Levitt). And I absolutely encourage everyone to make their own lists; you’ll be amazed at how much all of us already have to share and give to others, and how much others are completely willing to help us!
- I’ve lost around 100 pounds over the last two years or so (I’ll post about that whole adventure later, but basically I just started paying more attention to what I put in my body and how I felt afterwards; if it doesn’t feel good, I cut back on it, and if it feels good, I’ll do more of it. Because of that, I don’t eat meat anymore, and I drink tons of water, and whenever I feel sleepy I dance around in my living room or go for a walk or eat something green, rather than pump myself full of caffeine until I crash). I feel a lot better physically and emotionally, which is awesome and wonderful and beautiful, and here’s where I need help: I need clothing that fits. Essentially none of my old clothes fit. I have a closet full of 2X and 3X shirts and skirts and dresses and pants and none of them fit me anymore (I’ve given away quite a bit of my old clothes already, but I’ve held on to the ones I can wear if I absolutely need to, even if I look like I’m wearing a pillowcase…). I’ve been making do with what I have, and I will for as long as possible, but honestly I have exactly one outfit that I really feel good in (I splurged and spent $20 at Value Village the other day on a really awesome skirt and top). I think I wear between a XL and a Large in tops and dresses, and I’m somewhere between a 14 and a 12 in women’s pant and skirt sizes right now, depending on the style. If you or anyone you know has any extra clothes they don’t want in those sizes, I would love to take them off your hands. If they don’t fit me or I can’t use them for whatever reason, I’m sure I can find someone that will appreciate the gift!
- So, to sum that all up – I need clothing that fits because I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight in the past two years, and I do not have the financial means to go purchase anything for myself. A gift card to Value Village, or Goodwill, or Spanky’s, or some other secondhand clothing shop, and perhaps a gift card for somewhere like Fred Meyer or a smaller local shop for new bras and underwear would be super wonderful and very, very much appreciated.
- My partner and I are in the middle of moving right now, and we need to figure out how to move our washer and dryer from our old apartment to our new townhouse. I have no idea how to disconnect anything or even try to move it, and we cannot move the appliances just the two of us. If you or anyone you know might be able to help us with disconnecting, moving, and reconnecting our washer and dryer, I definitely appreciate it!
- Our old apartment has roaches, and I have the bug bombs that our landlady there gave me to deploy, but I have not set them off yet because I don’t know how that is going to affect everything else in the apartment. We’ve got the majority of the big stuff (aside from the washer/dryer) at our new home, and our three cats have been at our new place for a week now, so there shouldn’t be any serious danger with the bombs. The thing I really need help for with this is advice/guidance on exactly how to deploy the bug bombs with the least amount of damage to the stuff that is still left over at our old apartment.
- A few household things we need for our new home:
- A comfortable couch (preferably from a home without cats, but as long as no other cats have sprayed or marked it I’m pretty sure our cats will be able to adjust)
- Two or three standing lights
- A coffee table
- A working shower head
So that’s my list, for now. Needs, like people, evolve and change and transform over time, so I’m sure this list will change also. If you are able to help me in any way, with any of these, please feel free to contact me on Facebook, by phone if you already have my number, and/or email me at email@example.com.
From my experience, it’s a hell of a lot easier to give without expectation than it is to ask for what we need and be able to receive it without feeling guilty or getting wrapped up in the urge to reciprocate immediately and directly – which is pretty much exactly why I haven’t asked for help in this way, or posted a lot publicly about this stuff before. It’s really, really hard for me to receive help. I recognize that, and I am choosing to acknowledge it so that I can move through it. It used to be like, there are so many people out there suffering through so, so much more than me, so who the hell am I to ask for help and think I deserve it? A lot of my life I’ve felt like I’m not good enough, like I’m not doing enough, like my struggles aren’t worthy of getting help from other people. But what I’m realizing now, finally, is that I need to take care of myself first, and through that, I will be more able and willing to help others. I need to put my oxygen mask on first, before I can help the person next to me with theirs – so that person next to me can help the person next to them, who can help the person behind them, and so on and so forth.
Please know that I’m not just writing this list, or this post, for myself. We need to allow ourselves to ask for what we need, and we need to realize that everyone needs help sometimes, and most of all we need to remember that everyone needs, and deserves, help. No one can do this thing called life alone. I am asking for help so that I may give more to the world in the long run.
I believe that kindness is love in motion, and the only prerequisite for love is life. If you’re reading this, you are alive, and therefore worthy of love and kindness. Remember that. We must always remember that.