This may surprise you but there is a question I dread hearing from strangers - it is any variation of "Can I help you?" or "Need a hand?".
Both of the above inspire slightly different reactions in me.
"Can I help you?" when uttered in a shop puts me on guard and makes me feel like I am under suspicion even if I have just walked in. (I must admit the Dutch "Kan ik u helpen?" makes me feel like the Police are going to be called if I so much as pick an item up in order to look at it!!!)
There was one incident which my Mum told me about from when she was in a Dutch shop. The assistant had been too busy to pounce on Mum when she walked in - so the minute the assistant had finished what she was doing she went up to Mum and apologised for not immediately asking if she could be of assistance. Now, by this point Mum had been living in England for a lot longer than she had been living in Holland (even though she had made frequent trips back home) so she was more used to not being immediately pounced on when she entered a shop. The assistant must have got the shock of her life when Mum told her that had the assistant immediately pounced Mum would have left the shop withou buying anything.
Back to the point;
Due to my past experiences (school, etc,) I am always wary of strangers - especially those who think they have my best interests at heart. Experience tells me that their help is not going to come for free - even if they mean it to.
Either they are going to use their attempt to "help" me as a way of getting me to do things their way - because that is the best way to do it (according to them). If I try to convince them that their way doesn't suit me for some reason it seems like I have lit the blue touchpaper and I should retire to a safe distance - trouble is - the touchpaper I usually end up lighting is my own temper.
Or, I actually end up feeling guilty for not being able to function like everybody else can. Don't get me wrong - the person offering the help will have no idea that I feel guilty for not being able to carry out the job I want to do - I know better than to tell them that so I thank them politely and (if I really cannot manage) I will accept their help.
If I refuse your help please do not be offended. I will politely thank you (no mouthful or earful of abuse will escape me) and struggle on my own.
You could say I have got an independent streak a mile wide - but I have my own ways of doing some things which you will not understand unless you are like me.
The guilt thing is a bit difficult to explain but I will have a go at it.
I have been brought up (some might even say "socially trained") to act like everybody else - keep my mouth shut about any and all difficulties I may have with that concept - and struggle through as best I can.
If I find myself in a situation which results in my "Independence Module" breaking down or malfunctioning it is almost as though I have to come to terms with the fact I am "defective" all over again. Me being seen as "defective" by some people is almost like them saying I am not worth the oxygen I breathe or the space I take up on the planet.
My "defect" can show itself up at the strangest times (or - more to the point - people can see and react to it at the strangest times, and sometimes in the most hurtful ways without realising it - usually it has been blazingly obvious that I have been struggling with trying to do something which other people can do in a quarter of the time it has taken me so far).
There is something I would not advise you to say to me when I am struggling to do something which the rest of your friends can do (unless, of course, you would like to be treated to either a firework display of temper or "tin opener silence") - "Everybody else can do it so why can't you???". I wish I could do exactly the same as everybody else - but in some cases I just have to give up and find my own way of doing things.
It is funny how people seem to think that - just because I have got a pair of glasses on my nose I have miraculously got 20/20 vision!!! I wonder how shocked they would be if I told them that wearing glasses can make me mentally tired - and whilst they improve my vision somewhat - they have absolutely no effect on my brain (which can make things like fighting my way through a rack of clothing, which on first side appears to be blocking the entrance to a shop, interesting).
I think they would have a heart attack if I told them that (even though I have worn glasses for the major part of my life) I feel safer and more natural without my glasses on. According to me I wear glasses to make me safer and easier for everybody else to deal with - but I actually feel more at risk whilst wearing them.
Yes, yes - I know - someone with my level of sight being let loose in public without my glasses on would be seen as being a danger to themself and other people (especially when it came to things like staircases and crossing roads, etc) but sometimes I wonder exactly why that is??? After all, I own a white stick which I could theoretically use (if I could remember where I put it) to guide me around - blind people do this daily. Another thing they don't seem to realise is that - in certain situations (bright lights, darkness, descending steep staircases, etc) my eyes and brain operate as though I am not wearing my glasses anyway.
I want to share two videos with you which actually have a surprising connection.
The first is my all-time favourite song "Someone" by Kristyna Myles - one of the first lines of which can be taken two ways (see my last blog post for the explanation of that statement) "Oh she is a special girl who will not let you in her world - she's been hurt too many times" - no wonder it sounds like the theme song of my life.
The second video took me quite a while to psyche myself up enough to record it and let you see it. It is yours truly singing a song I wrote a long time ago (someone else wrote a backing track and I recorded it with the backing track but I have no idea what happened to that recording - so you will have to put up with my singing without music, professional production, or anything else magical like that).
"Jack The Lad" may sound like it is written about a man with a really bad reputation for causing trouble wherever he goes but there is a major twist in it. You will have to read between the lines to find out who and what it is about. I will type the lyrics out and give you some clues (clues will be in italics) along with an explanation at the end.
Jack The Lad
Young as he is
He's not what he seems!
People he meets
Say he's really neat.
Truth is - he's scared of rejection
Jack the Lad's running into town.
Tearing lives up and leaving again.
Says he can't help it
That's the way life goes.
That's the only way Jack knows
Day by night
Or so the story goes.
Wherever he goes - only Jack knows.
Making waves isn't his scene.
Never forgotten once seen.
Better watch out while you're on the street.
Never quite know what you're gonna meet.
Flames of fire in his eyes.
He's the Master of disguise.
Repeat chorus and first verse.
The first clue can be explained by the fact I was around 18 when I wrote it (I know I didn't highlight the "Young" but that is actually a bit of a red herring - the song being as relevent today as it was when I wrote it). Try reading the "he" in the first line with the "not what he seems" in the second line (put an "s" in front of "he" and you get "she").
"Truth is - he's scared of rejection" - whoever she is this female isn't exactly the most trusting person on the planet, is she???
"Says he can't help it" - "That's the only way Jack knows". This could either be taken as a cop out (trying to excuse "Jack's" behaviour) or it could be a cry for help??? I would go with the second one!
"Making waves isn't his scene, Never forgotten once seen" - Poor "Jack" wants to hide "himself" away in the background but you can guarantee there is something about "him" which people will remember (an unusual five letter name beginning with the letter "I" is a bit of a giveaway - that is apart from the glasses and the sight problem).
"Never quite know what you're gonna meet". This is not as much of a threat as it may sound. Our friend can be a bit temperamental but "he" tries to be friendly even when "he" feel threatened - doesn't always manage it though. Can be very defensive when you first meet "him" until you have been scanned, measured, and filed in "his" brain.
"He's the Master of disguise" - A lifetime of hiding "his" sight problem, etc, earned "him" that accolade. "He" will do "his" best to trick you into thinking "he" is like everybody else until you get to know "him" and "he" trusts you enough to tell you about "himself".
So - we are left with a rather temperamental female who doesn't like being the centre of attention but usually sticks in people's minds for one reason or another. She doesn't trust easily but she tries to be friendly - even when feeling defensive and trying to be something she is not.
Remind you of anyone???
Remember the lyrics I quoted from Kristyna's song - I said there was a connection between the two songs, didn't I???
If "Someone" seems like the theme song of my life - you could say "Jack The Lad" is the "blood, guts, and gore" autobiographical song of my life.
Yes - I have been called a Special girl with and without inverted commas (see the last blog post for explanation) - and no - I don't let very many people into my world (in fact, if you are reading this blog you get closer to the "real" me than most of my friends in real life do) because I bear a lot of mental and emotional (and even two - self-inflicted - physical - one on the back of each hand) scars stemming from how people have hurt me in the past.
So - I am sorry if I get too defensive or seem too ready to take offence at something you say. I know it is no excuse but I am going to say it anyway - Sometimes memories get triggered and I can get so lost in them that I forget you are a new person in a new situation. If that happens the best thing you can do is let me ask questions (no matter how stupid you think they are). Questions are my way of trying to grasp the thin thread that will drag me back to reality. You don't have to answer them at all if you don't want to - just let me ask (be it as we talk in real life or on Social Media).
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