Not alone


Sometimes, I need help.  But I don’t like to admit it.  And if there is anything that I hate, it is feeling indebted to those around me – or, worst of all, a burden.  I value independence and cleverness and resourcefulness.  I like being in everyone’s good graces, and will do anything to make sure that I’m not asking anyone to go out of their way for me.

I am extra sensitive in this area because one time, several years ago, I took some friends up on something that they originally offered.  But something went wrong in the process, and I wound up being an inconvenience.  And rather than responding from a place of grace, they took a rather shame-based approach – pointing out each mistake on my part, blaming me for the disturbance, and even requesting me to write an essay about what I had learned from the experience.  They called it an “exercise.”

I still have those email exchanges, saved in a folder called “Hard Words,” to remind me to try to be gracious with those around me.  Words like that last for a long, long time.  (Incidentally, I also have a substantially larger folder called “Good Words,” so don’t cry for me, Argentina.)

Tomorrow night, I am heading to Seattle for a very, very quick trip.  Trips like this, where I want to pack in as much as I can without skimping on the people who are important to me, can be really stressful.  I want everyone to be happy.  I don’t want to spend 48-hours inconveniencing the people that I love.  I don’t want to leave, and arrive back in Nashville to an email that says, “Thanks for coming – YOU SUCK.”

But I should know this by now: my Seattle family welcomes me with open arms.  While many of my relationships have changed due to distance, it is silly for me to assume that my closest friends wouldn’t go out of their way to give me rides and host me and help me out; they would give me a kidney if I needed it.  Why is my natural assumption that I’m all alone in this world?

I’m not.  And I am grateful.

Seattle, I can’t wait to see you for a second.



  1. Greta on May 13, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    It will be a terrific second.

  2. #1. I understand completely and feel this every time i go back to Phoenix. Let’s hope they are as welcoming when i move there.

    #2. I don’t even feel about about the possible inconvenience i might cause you next weekend…unless, of course, the weave is involved. I can’t wait to come see you and hope that your trip to seattle is fun!

  3. Mary on May 13, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    I am so excited for that second. xx

  4. Janice on May 13, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    Every post lately meets me right where I’m at.

    Thanks for continuing to share your heart with all of us!!

  5. Allison on May 13, 2009 at 7:06 PM

    i understand. i feel bad every time i have to ask for a ride to the airport. and other stuff like that. anyway…i hope you have fun in seattle! i’m excited to party hard (conservative southern baptist family style) in texas.

  6. Peg on May 13, 2009 at 7:36 PM

    hey Annie — I noted the “asking for rides” – do you need a form of transportation while you’re here in the Emerald City? I have an extra! You are more than welcome to use it!

  7. Carin on May 14, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    Can’t wait to see you! For a second, an hour, the night, whatever. Travel safely…
    Lv, CT

  8. Sally on May 15, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    Okay, someone suggested you write an essay? Absolutely ridiculous what people do in the name of “teaching people a lesson.” I think it’s completely based in self-righteousness.

    Your story reminds me of the time my sister wrote a letter to my biological-father and step-mother from college just to be nice. The step-mother returned the letter with grammatical corrections. Grammatical corrections!? Who does that? She thought it was funny because my sister was an english major… I still am absolutely floored by what some people think is okay. It’s NOT okay.

  9. […] which helped inspire this post. See Jen’s “A Good Way to Shut People Down” and Annie’s “Not Alone.”) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)No TitleThe Etiquette of Lending BooksWork […]

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