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An Imbalance of Give and Take

Well, dear readers, this has been one of the physically roughest weeks of my life. I’m moved into my tiny house, more or less—it’s a process. Even more than a new regular house, the space has to be planned and arranged. For the first 2 days, I pretty much stayed in a too-big chair surrounded by debris, my cats wide-eyed with aghastitude.

I tried to take as much of this move on myself as I could, but the fact is, I can’t do this much on my own, even dragged out to a 3-month process as it was. I had to (shudder) accept help.

One friend in particular gave up 4 weekends in a row to help me move, and he’s not done yet. The owner of the land where I parked my tiny house has provided a ridiculous amount of help. Some of it I paid for, but at rates well below market. I would never have been able to afford what he did at commercial rates.

The move has been more expensive than I planned for, because of the delay in getting the financing approved. I had to take money from my mom and borrow more so I could get my condo ready to sell.

All this led to a feeling of being a “taker.” I’m a fiercely independent person. Most of us in this blog’s audience are. We like to do for ourselves as much as we’re able to. We hate it when “as much as we’re able to” is a fraction of what our friends can do.

The day after my house was delivered, I got knocked down by a 27-hour migraine. If I’d been home alone, I would have simply spent the day in my pajamas, avoiding screens and loud sounds. I got dressed and tried to rise to the occasion. My friend went over and worked on the house connections with my land host. I stayed at the condo and met with the painter. I could barely stand on my shaky legs, and I remembered a time in my twenties when I had to lead a business move from one state to another with a raging hangover. I felt that bad. Still, I hated that others were doing my job for me. I struggled over that evening to hang my Mezzuzah on the door frame and make the house mine.

Last week we had a bad snowstorm. This being the Pacific Northwest, it turned to rain and then froze, turning my town into a nasty, rutted skating rink. It was bitter cold, with wind chills below zero. I stopped complaining about being in a condo with no furniture and just gave thanks for the heat. An encounter with my Real Change vendor at the Co-op reminded me that lots of people have it worse.

On my local Buy Nothing network, a friend I’d made recently announced that she was out of food, and the food bank she relied on to feed her two adult children with disabilities was closed due to the weather. I jumped at the chance to help. I’m an experienced snow driver and I had good food in the house. I gathered a bag of apples, whole grain chips, and other healthy things, along with a few treats, and drove over to her house with it, then gave her a ride to work. That evening, when she made a gratitude post about the people who jumped in to help her, I thanked her sincerely for letting me help. I needed to feel useful to someone else; to pay it forward.

I set up my office today just in time to do my weekly post, and in order to do that, I had to get everything in the boxes I’d stuffed in this 3-by-6-foot room into the storage loft. That involved a ladder. The sleeping loft has steps; it’s much easier to get in and out of.

Tonight I’m in my cozy new office with resplendent pine walls (armored with cat scratchers at close intervals), the efficient LED lighting aglow, warmed by a state-of-the-art heat pump, my favorite music playing, and I’m painfully aware that it took a village to get me here.

But this desk I’m sitting at—that’s all me. I wrestled it for six hours and that twinge in my lower back is from screwing in the back piece, which is cracked from where I used the power drill to turn a stubborn screw. I’m independent in a high-maintenance sort of way.

How about you? Is it easy to ask for and accept help? Have you ever felt like a taker?

An Imbalance of Give and Take

Kristin Noreen

Kristin Noreen lives in Bellingham, Washington with two cats and her vintage touring bicycle, Silver. Her triple passions are animal rescue, long-distance bike touring, and writing. Her book, On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, is about reinventing her life following a catastrophic injury.


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APA Reference
, . (2019). An Imbalance of Give and Take. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2019/02/an-imbalance-of-give-and-take/

 

Last updated: 27 Feb 2019
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