The worst thing happened tonight at Woodman’s grocery store. As I began to head toward the checkout after gathering every item from the grocery list, I realized what I had done. The implications were actually pretty vast. My mind ran all the scenarios. What was I going to do? I texted my roommates asking for ideas. We came up with a tentative plan. When I got up to the checkout lane, I made casual small talk with the lady in front of me. Her mask was made with baby dinosaur fabric and she liked my hair. I asked the cashier if there was any way to fix my problem. She called the manager, who said no. Woodman’s market only takes cash, debit, or discover card for payment. I have a solid maybe $15 in cash and a visa credit card on me. There wasn’t a way to manually enter my debit numbers. I was screwed. My last resort, plan Z, had to be enacted. I gathered the dregs of my bravery, turned around, and said to the lady behind me, “hi. I know you don’t know me. I left my debit card at home and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to help me out. I’ll pay you back immediately with Venmo or cash app?” Without hesitating, she said yes. She had Chase Quick Pay, which is the one I don’t have. But my roommates do. So with a little coordination, this kind human named Paula stepped up, paid for my groceries, and wasn’t worried in the least about me paying her back. She said I could go, but I waited until she confirmed that she received the money Barney sent before leaving. I texted her just now thanking her for helping. She responded with kindness.
And now I’m sitting here. Trying to receive the kindnesses of tonight. My eyes are filling with tears. I feel tender. And I feel so grateful.
I also asked for help in a big way this week. I’ve been without a job since November. I left my last role with no idea that a pandemic was about to rock the world. Thankfully, Joy of the past built up an emergency fund that has been holding me well for the past 9 months. It can’t hold forever though. I’ve been feeling the weight of no income lately. It feels like an anxiety-electrified boulder on my shoulders. It makes it really hard to look up. To remember I’m not alone. To realize there are options.
I so quickly forget that I am surrounded by support. That the action of asking most often precedes the action of help coming. I was reminded of that this week and given the task of asking for help via the more public forums of social media. I did that and have been amazed at the small ways I’ve been met and seen. I have opportunities for conversations set up, I’ve applied to more jobs, and someone even anonymously gave me some money this week. One of my friends reminded me this week that I’m worth the help and time of others. How quick I am to forget that.
To all those who respond to asks for help – thank you.
To those who are brave enough to ask – I see you.
To those in the land between – this won’t be forever (or so “they” say. Whoever “they” are haha)
It takes guts to ask. It takes trust to answer.
You’re worth it.
(To Joy of the future – this is your friendly reminder that you are seen and supported. I know you’ll forget at some point. When you need a reminder, the voice of Joy of the past will be here.)