“Learning to Ask” Club

Can you please take out the trash? Can you please empty the dishwasher? Easy requests for most; not so for me. I have always had a hard time asking for things, having grown up being self-sufficient and self-reliant. Both my parents proudly claimed they “never had to ask for anything for anyone,” and I have mimicked their behaviors. Only life has often pounded me over the head with cliches and “no man is an island” is profoundly relevant.

My husband often watches me take a shower through the transparent glass doors. It’s not kinky or sexual (OK, maybe a little; he does say, “This is my teenage dreams come true” or else “My life is a porn” and I covet those sayings, storing each and every one of them in my arsenal for when I see imperfections in my body). He loves my body and studies it through an artist’s eye, and sees the ideal me, the one I wish I could magically see through his eyes. His eyes aren’t elevator eyes checking out the merchandise, imagining something to get a dick rise; he gazes at me as if I’m a sculpture brought to life. He appreciates my shape; I am a Picasso sculpture, he feels the softness of my skin with his eyes, he looks into my eyes as if I was an Oscar with his name on it. I love the conversations we have while in the shower; occasionally coming up with entire screenplays.

But the shower is also my Temple, my Brainstorming place, my dance studio, my meditation corner. Some days I need the time, the alone space, the brain space to do for me. (Not that him watching me isn’t also for me.) I crave attention and he gives it to me; show me a woman who doesn’t yearn to be wanted.

Today I needed that shower alone and I asked for it. My husband smiled slowly and happily walked away. He completely understood, and didn’t feel any resentment about it. Furthermore, I realized his smile meant something else. He was proud of me for being honest and choosing me. Because it’s hard to choose me. I do it in my writing every day, so I feel even more guilty doing it in “real life”. I want to make everyone happy because I’m one of those people. This too comes from a selfish place because it comes from wanting people to like me. I am a quintessential Leo, after all. Please like me, want me, appreciate me, and shower me with love because us lions are secretly very insecure.

Growing up, my father always quoted his mother: “If you want something, you have to knock on the door.” This is translated from Russian and seems elementary and obvious but somehow I don’t abide by it.

It’s still hard for me to ask for things, even if I’m paying. If the manicurist is doing a shitty job, I’ll make a face, be passive aggressive and commit to never going back rather than telling her to do it over. At a restaurant, I’ll only send something back if it’s drenched in a sauce with mustard or meat (I’m a vegetarian) but otherwise, I’ll follow the same guidelines of never going back.

I’m a constant proponent for my friends to ask for what they want; at work or in relationships. Lately, I realized I don’t practice what I preach. So now I’m learning, I’m starting, baby steps.

Today I went to get a manicure and I felt indecisive about a color choice and made a rash decision on a shade of glittery magenta. When she began painting them, I told her I didn’t like them. She tried three other colors and I shook my head each time, saying, “I’m sorry I’m so picky” each time. Finally, she suggested layering two colors and I was sold. I thanked her profusely, feeling guilty I wasn’t a simpler person, one more easily satisfied. Knowing and asking for what I want won’t make me simpler, but easier to understand and hopefully a lot closer to satisfied.

From years of perceived rejection, I must have gotten conditioned, like a child who got her hand slapped, not to ask anymore. I no longer want to risk rejection, or even worse asking more than once, and seeming like a nag. The truth is sometimes I take for granted that maybe the person I’m asking ALSO wants to please me.

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10 thoughts on ““Learning to Ask” Club

  1. This is a good post. I’ve had the same problems with not asking for help or what I wanted. My past relationships have suffered because of it so I’m learning to work on it!

  2. I have a hard time asking for help sometimes. I have no problem asking the kids to empty the dishwasher though.
    I’ve always tried to be self reliant at work, but sometimes it seems to get me nowhere. The people that flail about and make a lot of drama about how they can’t get their work done seem to get the most sympathy.
    With my depression, there are times where I really need help, mostly in the form of someone to listen, but the urge to ask makes me feel weak. I was reading a post today under the depression tag where someone is clearly depressed and knows he needs help, but actually making the first step of asking for help, he is not able to do that yet

  3. I’m not sure if we ever completely get better, but it seems easier with age. Also, it seems I’m hard to please so maybe asking will help those who love me know exactly how to please me… Or at least I hope.

  4. Asking should not be equated with weakness but with power. Think about an alcoholic asking for help. It rarely happens because they don’t acknowledge they have a problem. It’s once they finally ask, is when they maybe have hit rock bottom, but also when they have gotten the courage to do so. Asking for help takes strength and gives strength to the people who want to help us. It’s harder to battle with your own mind and it helps to let someone else try to help as an unbiased party!

  5. I think it is also connected to the “XX” chromosome. Women have the hardest time saying no … but in truth, saying No has become much easier. It’s the ASKING for help or anything which is still hard for me. Even the other day I noticed I said, “The garbage is full” or “The garbage needs taking out” and instead, the correct thing to say would be, “Can you please take the garbage out now?”

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