The Helpful and the Helpless

Once upon a time there was a girl, who dreamed of life as a stay-at-home mom. She wanted to be taken care of and loved. She wondered how she could make her dream come true.

“I know!” She exclaimed happily, “The next prince I meet I’ll have his child. Then he’ll have to marry me and make me his queen!”

Proud of herself she came across a man dressed in layers of expensive fabric. She glanced at him quickly and decided he must be the one. After finding herself pregnant she realized she had been fooled. He was no more a prince than she was a princess and he left her there to fend for herself.

“Now who will take care of us?” She wondered aloud. And she did the same shit six more times until she finally realized no one was going to help her. She would need to help herself.

Shitty story, right? It happens. I’m not one to judge. I have two kids from different fathers. That’s already enough to put me on “the list.” You know, the list of women who fucked up or ruined some part of their life because of one thing or another. This then leading to a life of exile from the trophy moms or Pinterest moms. We become the moms the other moms have nightmares of becoming. Moms don’t fight to become perfect. No. They fight to NOT become this lowlife mom that doesn’t care enough for her kids or herself. Which, I mean, it isn’t hard, really. As long as they are well fed and feel loved it should be enough. Everything else comes second. We try our hardest to give them what they need and we kill ourselves trying to get them what they want.

With that in mind asking for help is rare for moms in most occasions and getting help, even more so. Asking for help is harder than you think. You have to ask in a way that doesn’t require more clarification. In most situations you get interrogated before an answer is even close to being provided. In other occasions you have to qualify to be helped. For example, the woman who was running for state governor or some shit. She wanted help with daycare from the people that were donating to her campaign. In other words, she wanted to use the campaign money for daycare costs, something not many, including myself agreed with. Her husband worked. She was choosing to run.[IMO] She should have planned for the campaign better. Even from a mother’s stand point, I disqualified her for my help.

I’ve learned that people don’t often like to help a helpless person. Someone who is incapable, but not handicapped in any way, of helping themselves isn’t a black hole anyone wants to be sucked into. That person becomes a burden more than a good cause. It’s even more frustrating when you know and they know but nothing changes. We all know a person. They give you more excuses as to why they can’t than necessary. Which is why I bring up this woman. She came to me needing assistance once before. Nothing big or demanding, just an Uber ride to get her kids to school. It was cold that day and in Chicago that shit is hard. So, I agreed. No questions asked, no due date on when I expected repayment. She took her ride and disappeared. Then she appeared again. This time she needed food. Anything I could spare, and I agreed. I wouldn’t let a family starve if they needed it. But then it happened in the slightest of ways, I disqualified her. After agreeing with her, she quickly gave me a number of reasons why she couldn’t come and retrieve the food.

She doesn’t have a car or a stroller or a bus card or can’t walk because she has her kids. She can’t find anyone to bring her over. I was fucking annoyed. A sense of entitlement almost rose over me. How dare she ask for my help then make it more annoying for me to help her? In retrospect I should’ve tried harder, maybe. I advised her we were in the same boat. I didn’t have a car. I had my kids. And even with a bus card how can I carry the food over to her? I thought, perhaps, she’d offer to meet half way or come up with a solution to get the food. I told her I had plans that day but my father might let me borrow the car Saturday.

This seemed to have calmed her. She said her thanks and disappeared from my messenger. That Saturday bright and early she popped up again. Wondering if I could stop by with the food. My father wasn’t around yet and I hadn’t even fed the monsters. I let her know simply that the car wasn’t available and as soon as it was I’d let her know. This was the last straw for her. She said she didn’t want me to have to go out of my way and she didn’t want to feel like a beggar. She told me to forget about it, and that it must be nice that my kids don’t have to suffer such problems. Then I was blocked and removed from her social media.

I wasn’t surprised. Anger often comes after a sense of rejection, especially when accompanied by envy. The situation wasn’t enough to spark a vengeful outburst from me. Instead I tried to reflect over my position and the situation. I compared her story to my own and to other single mothers I know. I came to the conclusion that she may not be all to ready to fend for herself yet as many mothers tend to be. She had been able to run away from her responsibilities for quite some time but not anymore. I saw myself in her. The difference is that I discovered this a lot sooner than she did. We are the same age. She has more responsibilities to deal with than I do. However, she seems to have given up a whole lot sooner and turned to asking others for help before trying to survive on her own.

I thought about a story I had once heard from Chris Rock. His car broke down in the highway. He tried to flag people down for assistance and nobody stopped. But when he started pushing the car himself, people would stop and help him. “If you want help, help yourself-people like to see that,” he said. And that’s the best way to ask someone for help when you need it. It sounds shitty in a way but it’s true. That is my advice to this girl who keeps turning to friends and family only to feel like a burden and get rejected. To the helpless, you have to begin to help yourself before receiving help from others. To the helpful, try and be more conscious about who is asking for help and why.

One thought on “The Helpful and the Helpless

  1. I got a set of messages from someone, wanting me to sponsor him to come to this country to work. I draw the line at helping people financially (over the amount of,say, $25). This, I told him from the get-go. Undeterred, he kept trying to sneak the money card into the discussion. I sent his papers to an agency and may send them to other agencies, but that’s the extent of it. Your first responsibility is to your children and yourself.


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