I have been in a “funk” for the past few weeks and I really haven’t been able to figure out why. I haven’t been a good friend. I haven’t been a good family member. I haven’t been a good mom. I get it. I haven’t been fun to be around. I’ve had a hard time getting it together and being places and generally participating in life.
It’s not depression (because that’s a topic that I know a great deal about it). It is actually way beyond that and it was completely perplexing. However, after weeks of this, I finally realized today what it is: I’m tired of being used and having no one around when I’m the one who needs it. It’s hard for me to ask for help, so when I do, it’s serious. I need you sometimes, too. I need you to listen and support my businesses and help my nonprofit and market my book. I am, after all, the first one to always step up.
I help you. I listen. I pray for you. I drop everything to private chat with you on messenger to help you work out your issues. I cheer you up. I cry with you. I help you with your websites. I’m the first one to step up when you need a guest blog post. I volunteer. I give you advice on how to build a business. I raise money and awareness for you. I click on your links. I refer you and your business. I spread the word about your networks and endeavors. I like your pages and accounts, even when I have no interest in the topic, just because I know how much it can help you in what you’re doing. I do work for you for free. I’m one of the few who checks in with you when you’ve had an illness or personal issues. (I know because many of you tell me.) I donate to your causes. Hell, I even donate to you when you are having personal financial struggles and never, ever expect anything in return. As a matter of fact, I do most of this helping in secret, refusing to blast it around Facebook to make myself look good. I’m not helping to look good. I’m helping just because someone needs help.
And, when I don’t help it’s because I absolutely cannot. It means I cannot muster up one more ounce of energy to help another person at that moment or I’m going to end up in corner in a fetal position. If I didn’t donate to your cause or buy something from your kid’s school fundraiser at the moment you asked, it’s because I have $5.97 left in my checking account from where I’ve given or donated almost every bit of personal funds to help someone else or other causes or non-profits–but rest assured that I’ll get you next time around or even a little later than others. I miss your parties and events because I’m working to help others until 2 or 3 in the morning most days. I miss your events because I will use that time to work to raise money for a hungry kid instead of go to a party (every single time). If I’m MIA it’s because I’m volunteering. Or, if I’m not there it’s just that I’m exhausted beyond being exhausted and probably couldn’t form a coherent sentence even if I were there. And, if all of this makes me a bad friend back, I get it (and I’ll take it). But I’ve helped a lot of you, a lot of the time.
What do I get back?
Eye rolls and annoyance when I post something about my non-profit. I get “friends” who not only unsubscribe to my non-profit’s newsletter (which rarely gets sent out), but then they also report it as spam (which hurts my non-profit, by the way). I get “friends” who avert their eyes when I ask them to share something about helping hungry kids. I get people who have no interest in sharing about my book or business or things I’m doing (nevermind that I have them on my site for interviews and write posts about them and take the time to have chats on my social media accounts). I get professional groups that I’m a part of who just completely ignore my posts, while I’m sharing the hell out of their posts. I get “friends” who hide my posts on Facebook because I guess it’s just too much for them to see a statistic about how people in our country need help. I get “friends” who unlike (or refuse to like) a Facebook page, even though it’s a free way to help others, and even though I always like/support what they do. I get “friends” who ignore me when I say things like “I need someone to pull me out of this slump” or they respond with brushed-off, passing comments like, “Oh well, you can’t expect to be perfect all the time” or “Don’t worry about it! You can’t help everyone.” I get “friends” who promise that they will help with something because I just cannot take on another thing, but then just conveniently “forget” (or not give a shit) that they were supposed to be doing it.
Here’s the deal: I’m exhausted. I’m tired of being the one to help all the time. And, I’m tired of being the one with very little help when I need it. I’m tired of being the crumpled up piece of paper in your pocket that you only come to when need something.