I absolutely cannot stand feeling weak. I’ve never been one to enjoy losing control, and I usually like to do things for myself. So, I guess you can understand why I might struggle with being physically fragile, and therefore dependent on others for help.

I’m pretty sure that it is widely accepted that friendship, or any relationship really, is a two-way street. A balance of give and take. I absolutely can’t stand that in some ways there is destined to be more take on my side. Perhaps not hectically…. I mean, I’m mostly talking about clearing the dinner table, bending to put the movie into the DVD-player and so forth. But there are some things that are bound to be annoying. Carrying my oxygen for example. Who wants to be saddled with a random extra bag and obliged to stay close enough to me that they don’t yank my face off? Thank goodness the whole O2 thing isn’t a problem at university, as I am usually whizzing around on Chase, but it certainly becomes an issue if I am out. Especially for guys, I reckon, it must be worse; simply because carrying a handbag around is, frankly, most unusual for a male.

Asking for help isn't very relaxing

“Excuse me, random stranger….”

Honestly, it really, really freaks me out to have to ask for help. Granted, occasionally having an excuse to ask a particularly hot, muscular guy to carry me up the stairs isn’t all that painful. Then again, feeling someone having to put effort into carrying you ain’t that great. I am not exactly obese, thank goodness, but after a certain distance anyone is bound to get tired, and it absolutely sucks when you can feel it happen. Especially because the damned masculine pride of most guys my age won’t allow them to confess to needing a quick breather, and put me down for a couple seconds, no matter how much I insist they stop and rest.

Thus I spend a certain portion of almost all social interactions in a weird state of mixed guilt, embarrassment and gratitude. The rest of the time, I’m just fine. I can still listen, laugh, chat, support, give advice and help out with academics. Which brings me to my point. If there is an imbalance in any situation, I’d be much more comfortable giving too much than receiving too much. But when it comes to everyday tasks, stupid chores and so forth, that just can’t happen for me.

There are millions living with physical impairments, and I don’t know how other people deal with this feeling, but I am struggling to reassure myself. My only consolation is this: everyone has their sh*t. Some more than others, but everyone has something – some baggage, some weird behaviours, some grief, just… something. My challenges may be physical and thus more concrete and more visible… but hopefully that doesn’t make them worse, or harder to deal with. Hopefully that just makes things simpler. Cus that’s really all I need…. I don’t need anyone to pick up after me, cheer me up, motivate me or lighten my load. That is nobody’s responsibility but my own. Hopefully then, occasional assistance with my shoelaces or carrying my bags doesn’t seem too bad. And hopefully as time wears on I will finally be able to forgive myself for needing it.

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