I used to have a boss who used the phrase “the uncle button.” He was an executive editor of a weekly magazine I worked on–ok, it was Us Weekly–and at that magazine we had absolutely insane press nights. At the time I co-managed a staff of about 7 or 8 researchers and was often all that stood between the magazine and lawsuits, sometimes by Scientologists.
This boss used to swing by my desk periodically on press nights, and say, “Don’t be afraid to push the uncle button.” By this he meant that I needed to tell him when I couldn’t singlehandedly handle a problem–one of the aforementioned Scientologists, for example. My boss was all too well aquainted with my tendency to white-knuckle it to everyone’s detriment.
Well. Last spring I pushed the uncle button and you all were so loving and supportive that it literally overwhelmed me, since I am beyond lousy at showing my underbelly when it’s not 100 percent on my terms.
Oy, vey, look at me buying the lede. Because actually I’m pushing the uncle button again–not for cash but for something simpler and also more complicated. I need concrete physical help.
For more than two weeks I have been held hostage by crippling back pain. I mentioned it breezily before but actually it’s far worse than I let on. There are tons of psychological reasons for this pain. For one thing, it’s the ten-year anniversary of an accident in which I sustained a serious concussion, broken foot, and broken neck, and bodies remember anniversaries even when our conscious minds do not. For another, my ailments have always been quite metaphorical–dis-ease ain’t just a river in Egypt–and back injuries indicate a fear of not being able to support oneself, as well as a fear of the future.
I am seized by both fears.
But the bottom line is I can’t stand for more a few minutes, let alone walk more than a block or carry more than a Metrocard. Let alone cook food or do dishes or do my laundry in the basement or you name it. I could hire someone from Task Rabbit, but that honestly scares me since so many of those dudes have been predatory with me in the past (a weird breed of rabbits) and I can’t protect myself the way I usually can.
So, uh, I need help and realize I’ve become the kind of person whom everyone assumes is getting help from someone else. What could be more humiliating than admitting that all my closest friends don’t live nearby anymore and that I’m such a prickly pear that I’m soldiering this entirely on my own? Well, probably a lot, but this mortification lives high on this Capricorn’s list. (And speaking of astrology, this Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio is so.fucking.literal.)
So if you’re around the Williamsburg area this weekend, ping me. A quick hand is fine–I probably can’t handle a long visit. I just need help getting things into my apartment from my car, laundry into the washer dryer, garbage on the street, seltzer into my fridge. Hell, if you cooked extra I’d be forever grateful: I can’t stand much more takeout digestively or financially.
I don’t need cash right now, though I certainly could use more work once I get better. For now, though, if I’m ever to get better, I just need to stop pretending I can do everything myself. All the PT and acupuncture in the world isn’t going to help if I keep trying to do my own laundry right now. And though I appreciate good energy sent my way, I also need in-person hands. Or paws.
I beam love to you if you’ve read this far, regardless. I do tend to go on–apparently this is a symptom of the unheard, unhealed child and all that jazzzzzzz.
Really, what I need is someone else’s back.