Five Things

I Know I Should Ask for Help, I’m Learning to Feel It Too

The person I want to be asks for what they need. I’m getting there.

Ashley C. Ford
Published in
5 min readFeb 12, 2021


Photo: Jasmin Merdan


I’m less afraid of deadlines now that I don’t believe they offer any particular insight into my worth as a human being. That’s a new feeling. I mean, I’ve known it was true for much longer than I’ve felt sure. Teaching myself to do things differently — to see myself differently — always includes this gap in understanding, these long stretches of time where my mind is convinced and my body is not. I’ve learned not to be too angry at myself for this process. I’ve learned to talk and self-soothe my way through it. And I’ve learned that I’ll have doubts, and the cycle will begin again. I just have to talk about it and ask for help. Which sounds so simple even when it feels like it might kill me.

My fear of deadlines fades with each assignment filed, but asking for help remains a source of shame when it should not, which I promise I already know. There is nothing else I could read or listen to or watch, no conversation I could have, program I could enter, or entity I could worship to relieve the pain of this wound. It’s just something I’ve got to practice, teach myself to do like any other skill. Like I taught myself to cook for two and change an alternator and feel my feelings. I’ve looked for all the shortcuts. I searched for any way to get through life without “being a burden” and found them all ineffective to say the least. Turns out people needing people is a real thing, and nobody gets out of it, even the ones who think they have.

I never needed to be better at meeting deadlines as much as I needed to be better at asking for what I needed to meet a deadline. That’s what’s been tripping me up for years. And it’s been a huge waste of my time, and everyone else’s. Not that it’s the most important way I spend my time. It isn’t. I’m a lot more than when, how, or why I work, and so are you. So much more important than that. But I know how I want to work, and who I want to be as a person who creates as I do. That person is on time, except when she can’t be, and when she needs you, she asks.