The wind is howling and the snow is still falling as I write this. This morning I shoveled two feet of snow off my driveway and backed my 4×4 SUV into the road so I could keep an appointment. I was immediately stuck when my car high-centered. Even four-wheel drive will not get you going if your tires have nothing to grip. With the help of a neighbor, a great deal more shoveling, and a bottle of rock salt, we were able to get the car back into the driveway.
I feel blessed to have such great neighbors, but the experience got me wondering. Why did he take it in stride, and even tell me that he would only venture out with his pick-up truck, while I felt like I had done a silly “girl” thing? I had a career as a well-site geologist and saw many men stranded in their four-wheel-drive vehicles. They never blamed their driving skills. And yet I high-center my car in two feet of snow and feel stupid asking for help.
I have been single for several years now and have (joyfully) learned to use a chain saw, blow out my sprinkler system, paint my kitchen, and even do minor electrical repairs. I purchased and take care of my house and car and dog and finances without anyone to lean on, like most single women. I have even flown to London and Hawaii alone, vacationed in California by myself, and hiked and skied and kayaked alone. And yet, I still criticize myself for the things I have not learned to do, or the times I need a helping hand.
Strong women live on a knife’s edge. Men tell me they afraid of and intimidated by me, and that I will have a difficult time finding someone to love me. Other people tend to lean on me since I can and do rise to the occasion, and then are upset with me, or ghost me. Successes are only mildly celebrated, I rarely hear the words “I am proud of you” and any weakness seems to be in the spotlight. And yet, as my neighbor showed me, asking does not connote weakness. In fact, it might highlight true strength.