Lately my YouTube subscription feed has been filled with Amanda Palmer book tour videos. And I strongly suspect that once I finally get a hold of a copy and READ it, it will really connect with me. Because I'm often horrible at asking. What my interactions with folks lately are telling me is that I'm not alone in this: many of my friends/acquaintances are also not asking when they feel like they ought to be.
Many of us spend days at a time without really connecting, truly connecting with others who are considered important/close friends. We isolate ourselves working from home, hermiting ourselves in our apartments, or even if we get out and about in the world we don't really connect with people, operating instead on autopilot or only having superficial interactions or something. I know that I need to spend quality time with the people who matter in my life on a regular basis, one on one time, small group discussions, shared activities etc. And I know that everyone finds the right balance of social interaction somewhere different. I need my alone time: my time with books, media, with just me and my thoughts is important, but it is all too easy to go far too long without valuable social interaction.
But it takes time and effort to make those valuable connections, spend time with other people, to reach out and to ask when one really needs it. And it's easier to make the non-choice between different options, to choose obligation over enjoyment to choose not to reach out and instead to hide or isolate one's self. All too often attempts to reach out encounter negativity and then I choose to reach out less.
But bullying me into quietness and isolation isn't the right approach. And while a number of the men in my life over the past decade or more have whether intentionally or not chosen to bully me into not reaching out, whether not reaching out toward them or not reaching out in general, I like to think that my growing awareness of just how wrong that is, and my (hopefully) continued assurances both from within and without that their behaviour is inappropriate, that I am a good and worthwhile HUMAN person prone to making errors but valuable in her own way, will bolster my ability to continue to ask and to help where I can when I can.
For me, too much isolation isn't healthy. But so too is too much time in the public sphere. And I need to find my own balance, a struggle that I know I'll be working at my whole life. I know that I really want to read Amanda Palmer's book on The Art of Asking right now, and that her book tour videos are incredibly helpful. I don't like to think that I need much, but what I do need is important. And sometimes I need to remember to ask for it too.