I called bullshit on that.
“That’s not how it works,” I told her. “We don’t pass judgment on your shit. We don’t shame you. We just try and give you the help you need, in the ways you want it, to the limits of our abilities. That’s who we are to each other.”
It reminded me of BirthPie saying, “Know your resources.” Teaching me in word and deed to help and be helped.
It reminded me of my colleague Katie sitting with me when I could no longer hold the bad feelings at bay. The moment I fell into that accordian of time called triggered that collapses now with three years ago and twenty years before that, when the sea of feelings you drown in are far beyond what this soft morning calls for.
I tried to apologize for making her sit with my terror and rage and confusion and grief.
“It didn’t happen to me,” said Katie. “I’m just spending a pleasant half hour with you.”
It reminded me of the little room where I tell and tell and tell, to the limits of my memory and courage any given week. It reminded me of my therapist saying, “If I had to think of one word to describe you, that word would be brave.”
Dorothy Bernard said, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
Anne Lamott says her favorite prayers are “Help me, help me, help me,” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The more I think on it the more I have to believe that they are the same prayer.
There is no “help me” without gratitude that the help will be forthcoming. There is no “thank you” without acknowledgment that the resource exists to assist.
There is no bravery greater than setting aside shame and apology.
There is no courage without help.