Asking for Help & Feeling Ashamed

I saw this video after Neil Gaimon tweeted it out to his followers. It’s a TED Talk featuring Amanda Palmer. Okay, maybe like you, I’d never heard of her before. But Neil Gaimon is a very cool author and I trust his suggestions, so I clicked through.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of her talk, but by the end I was thinking to myself, “I’ve got to share this with the awesome people who read my blog.”  (Skip to bottom of this post if you’re really excited to view it!)

Her message is just SO powerful. The idea that “it’s okay to ask.” Sure, she’s speaking from the point-of-view of an entertainer trying to make a living . . . but going beyond that, to the concept of asking, to the concept of supporting. It’s amazing. It’s powerful.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again right now. It was damn hard to ask for help during chemotherapy – hard to the point of shaming. And yes, when I finally did break down far enough to say I wasn’t okay, people were incredible in giving their support. I think of my family, I think of my friends, I think of my cousins, my aunts, my boss, my colleagues, my husband. They were all incredible.

So why – WHY – so much shame in asking?

There is power in asking for help. Maybe Amanda is right. Maybe this is the future – and not just for music, but for dreams and lives and ambitions. I know of one women in the US who is struggling to pay her medical bills (Okay, I know of several women in the US who are struggling – universal healthcare is a GOOD thing, not a communist thing) and her friends are crowd-sourcing to help her buy a new car (replacing her ancient clunker) to get between treatments. I know of another young woman who has started an amazing charity called A Fresh Chapter, and she’s been raising funds to help twelve other people discover life after cancer.

Whether it’s thinking big or just thinking about the next meal – what is wrong with asking for help?

So here is the video. Don’t get weirded out by the ‘live statue’ intro. It’s worth watching through – this may well be the future of creative work. And asking for help, that’s something we should all be able to do without shame.