I’ve been in a weird situation lately where I want to do more than I can. And honestly, it’s taken me years to be able to type that sentence. I don’t like to admit that I have weaknesses or that I need help. No one does, even though it is actually a universal fact that we all do occasionally need assistance. Stupidly, we see needing help as a weakness. We think if we can’t solve every problem on our own, we’re somehow less than and wrong. We think that if we rely on someone else, it somehow decreases our own value, when really, it can simply mean increasing someone else’s.
I would normally say something like, “Farmers are awful at this.” But honestly, I think everyone is. Movies and TV shows have romanticized the strong, tough, “I don’t need anyone but me to survive” characters for as long as I can remember. I think it’s done more damage than good. Instead of proving that we can overcome ridiculously hard circumstances, it’s made us think that if we ask for help when we need it, we can’t be the strong, tough hero of our own story.
The thing is, in real life, we can be both. There are times that being the strong, tough, “nobody can mess with me” hero is exactly what we need. But just as often, asking for help is the strong thing to do. I type these words knowing that I struggle with this as much if not more than everyone else. I grew up idolizing the relationships I witnessed thanks to Hollywood. I wanted someone to know me well enough to know what I needed when I needed it. I didn’t want to have to ask. Do you know what that got me? A lifetime of pushing people away and chronic depression. Part of my hesitation is not wanting to broadcast to the world that I’m failing. But we all fail. Failing, ultimately, is how we succeed.
I know that this isn’t a change I can make overnight; shaking off that stigma could take years until I’m sufficiently comfortable. But I’ve finally come to the realization that it’s an effort worth making, in all areas of my life. I hope that maybe just reading this article helps you realize that it’s an effort worth making for you, too.
The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.