Right now I have one of my best friends, Cheeseboy, very worried about me. He calls every day just about. He’s bending over backwards right now trying to find solutions to the problems I have. He speaks to people about me, and on my behalf. He encourages and supports, he’s a sympathetic ear when I need one, a shoulder to cry on should I ever need it.
I’m more grateful to him than I can ever properly express. I find myself touched and a little humbled by his devotion and friendship. I’m a little embarrassed by it too, which is my way in this manner of things. Anyone who knows me well knows that I find it hard asking for help. My pride, my foolish pride, is renowned. It’s always been difficult for me to admit publically to the struggles and concerns and the vulnerabilities that I will acknowledge privately. Occasionally I will be berated for this, quite rightly. We’re your friends, I get told. We care about you. We want to help.
As it is it’s help I must accept. My pride is not so foolish, or blind, that it will refuse the assistance I so clearly need. I push, like Sisyphus with his boulder, but get about as far as he did. I can’t refuse extra shoulders willing to join me. If I cannot do it alone – and it seems that I can’t – then needs must I accept the help of others, humbly and gratefully.
This realisation marks a change from before. I’ve no doubt that the events of the last couple of years have left a mark upon me. By and large I am not a different man, but in key aspects I have become a lot more open and honest. Once upon a time I would have been absolutely he-man in dealing with my problems. I was combative, belligerent, defiantly determined. I am still those things to a large degree – I still believe that I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul – but the edge has gone from that. I’m still embarrassed by the offer of a helping hand, but I will gratefully grasp it. I know I can’t do it alone, which is a 180 degree turn around from before.
It’s also indicative of how desperate the situation I find myself in. When you’re about to drown it’s only a fool that won’t reach out for something to keep him afloat. That’s my situation, afloat, just, but slipping beneath the waves now seems a more likely prospect than a safe shore to find salvation on. It’s a strange thought, but of course I’m doing everything I can to survive – with much help from others.
For all these changes in me I’m not as yet ready to share my situation here. I doubt I’ll ever get to that point, except perhaps in retrospect. I remain proud still. I refuse the pity of anyone. I’m reluctant to impose, as always. I am what I am, softer in ways than I’ve ever been before, but the hard rock within remains.