Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learn to Lean: It's Only Temporary

Sometimes gypsies must rely on the generosity of others. If they don't want to sleep in their car or on street corners, house crashing is often the best solution if it's available to a gypsy. I kind of like a soft bed and warm shower, but I am fiercely independent.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm stubborn, or as Mama has always said "mule-headed."  I don't like asking for or accepting help. I like to know, and for others to know, that I can do it myself. Kind of like a toddler at mealtime. Unfortunately, both situations can be messy. (Ask me about the time I dropped a giant couch on my foot.) 

My first experience with gypsy life a number of years ago was a little different than my current gypsy life. Now I am a gypsy by choice, then it was necessity. I simply couldn't find a job. It was 2007, and people who know things were just beginning to debate whether the country was headed into a recession. If they'd asked me, I would have said, "you betcha." But they didn't.

Without a way to pay for a roof over my own head, I had to humbly accept the generosity of others. And let me tell you, it was not easy. My pride got crushed. It was an emotional time for a lot of reasons. I mean, not only was I being rejected left and right, but I couldn't even take care of myself. It was rough. Rough.

There are many roads that lead to house crashing. Lack of job is one. Saving money another. This time around, my house crashing is a choice I made for a number of logical reasons. This time I have a good job and plenty of resources. But it is still at times an emotionally taxing and humbling experience. Receiving gifts or generosity has never been an easy thing for me. 

I remember once in school someone offered to give me a candy or a coke or something.  I declined, saying "no thanks." Mama must have been there, because later she told me that sometimes I need to just smile and say thank you can accept the gift offered whether I want it or not. I am still not very good at this (case in point, refusing the help offered by the gentleman who saw me struggling to carry the paddle board last weekend.) 

I also remember Mama telling my sister and I once that we need to be more outwardly appreciative and thankful when we are given a gift. Apparently some people took our little sisters more exuberant displays of emotion as being more thankful than our more reserved and quiet approach.

Accepting gifts or help can be uncomfortable. There are a couple of ways to cope with it, even if it never becomes easy.

First, remind yourself that it’s only temporary. I’ve found a lot of things I’d like to complain about become more bearable when I remind myself that it’s only for a short time. Even if I don’t know how long or short the time is. Knowing something is temporary makes it a little easier to handle.

The second thing to do is to remind yourself that one day you too will be on the giving end. Someone is going to need help, and you are going to be able to fill the need. Sing  a little “Lean on Me” chorus if you have to.


  1. You are absolutely right! While it can be hard to accept help it is much easier if we use a pay it forward attitude. This time someone helped you, next time you will help someone else. Full circle!

    1. Doesn't everything just work out better when we all help each other anyway?