Not long after I left my abuser, I decided to run the New York City Marathon. As I scanned the list of charity partners, the Center Against Domestic Violence practically jumped off the page at me. I felt inspired–and terrified. I wanted my stand for myself to include a stand for others, but I would have to ask for a lot of help. What if it didn’t come?
I ran my marathon in November–and my community helped me exceed my fundraising goal well ahead of schedule. It was really moving for me. The thing is, I wanted that to be the end of my lesson in asking for help and trusting the universe. Asking for that money was uncomfortable, and vulnerable–but initially, I couldn’t even admit I was a survivor myself.
I need help all the time right now, because I’m on crutches and still going through a mental health crisis. I’ve struggled to accept the help I need. I feel guilty when a friend’s elderly grandmother opens the door for me. When a kind stranger carries my bags downstairs, she reminds me that I don’t have to hurry–she has time to help me. I almost tell a student I love that I can’t accept her gift, I’m so overwhelmed by her generosity. I have to remind myself that I need help, I deserve help, and that all this kindness is being freely given.
It’s really hard for me to lean into my own vulnerability, to trust that my need is not too much for those around me, and to allow myself to be held and carried. Having experienced some truly unloving treatment in my lifetime, it’s incredibly hard to trust that I am so well loved. Somehow, I must learn my need for that love is not powerlessness, not weakness–but indeed my greatest strength.