Thursday, May 11, 2006

Testing Boundaries

Due to events I won't go into here, my right arm has been in a splint and a sling since Monday night. (And yes, I am right-handed.) I am off of work this week and have generally been bored out of my mind. Add to that how tired you can become when you're trying to do everything one-handed and you can easily see how this has been a looooong week.

At the same time, though, I have been testing my one-handed/left-handed limits. I can now flip a burger, wash my hair, and put on most items of clothing without a problem. I'm still challenged by using a can opener and fastening the clasp on a bra, though.

Today, I decided to make the ultimate excursion: a trip to the laundromat. I plotted out a plan for getting everything down the stairs, chose the essential things that needed to be washed, and boldly went where I have so thoughtlessly gone before. I was feeling pretty proud of how I was doing, until I couldn't pull my clothes out of my laundry bag to put them in the washer. Before I became too frustrated, a very kind woman came over and held the laundry bag open while I put the clothes in.

While I have become better in recent years at accepting help from others, this was definitely testing boundaries in a whole new way. This stranger leaned into the bag to help me even more. This stranger was loading my clothes into the washer. This stranger touched my underwear. I thanked her as we finished loading the washer, and I really did mean it. But a part of me also wanted to just disappear.

I realized, even as I proudly opened the detergent, set aside the lid, and poured the soap into the machine, that my behavior is ridiculous. What is it that has me, and many of my peers, so hesitant to accept assistance even when it is clear that we need it from time to time? Moreover, if the roles had flipped, I would have offered assistance without a second thought. Why is there such pride in independence, even in instances when it is much more practical to work as a team?

I'm about to go back to the laundromat to load my clothes into the dryer. I know I'll publish this post, send these questions out into the void, and go try to do my laundry all by myself.

1 comment:

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

I'll bet it's because, early in your life, YOU were the one people turned to, and it's still the pattern that continues to this day.

We are doers, not do-ees.