*Got a break from the kid and the Hobbled One. Quick post!*
A friend of mine posted a status on Facebook talking about how she hates to ask someone for help, especially when there’s a possibility of the person throwing it back in her face. She concluded by saying that pride is her own worst enemy. I feel ya, sista. I feel ya. Reminds me of one of my favorite Jay-Z verses from The Black Album…
I don’t ask for nothin I don’t demand of myself:
Honesty, loyalty, friends and then wealth
Death before dishonor
and I’ll tell you what else…
I’ll tighten my belt before I beg for help
Foolish pride is what held me together through the years I wasn’t felt
Which is why I aint never played myself
I just play the hand I’m dealt
I can’t say I never knelt before God
and asked for better cards
sometimes to no avail
But I never sat back feeling sorry for myself
If you don’t give me heaven
I’ll raise hell… til it’s heaven.
My pride has toned down drastically over the years, but back in the day…Whew!
When I was little, my grandmother used to share her Yoda-like views on life. “Trust them new niggas over there, don’t you!” “Hold things over your head, they will.” I grew up afraid to take rides home from school from my friends’ parents because my grandmother basically likened it to accepting a vial of crack from the dope man.
Over the years I tested her theory and 90% of the time she was right. Sometimes foolish pride is fueled by jackasses who use your moment of vulnerability to see if they can break you. Case in point: Remember the story about me almost winning the track race only to end up on crutches? If you don’t here it is: Click Me. At the end of that story I needed a way home because I was in an insane amount of pain and needed a ride either to the emergency room or home so that someone there could take me to the emergency room. None of the coaches would take me home. The only reason given was that I lived too far away and they didn’t want to get stuck in traffic.
I remember losing my bus token and the metrobus driver putting me off. I walked back to the school to see if a teacher would loan me a dollar and the sea urchin who ran the office wouldn’t even let me back in the building despite me telling her what happened. So I ended up walking the four miles to my house. Then there was the time I found myself actually accepting a ride that a friend’s mom offered. Immediately it turned into a 15 minute lecture on me inconveniencing her and her only offering the ride because it was late. “Where are your parents? Why didn’t they come pick you up?”
Eventually you get to the point where you don’t even bother to ask for help. You assume the worst of people and even when someone nice comes along, you just assume they’re gonna turn out to be an asshole too. So when I was 16 and found myself stuck at Pentagon City Mall one night because I couldn’t find my money or my farecard, I didn’t even bother asking a stranger for help. I considered it, I won’t lie. I stood outside the gate at the subway station for a good ten minutes trying to coax myself to explain my situation to the station manager with the hope that he’d see I was a minor and let me in for free. I even considered asking a passerby to loan me one dollar, but every crackhead in DC uses the “I lost my money and need to get home” excuse.
There was one woman who looked like she might believe me. She looked like a Sunday School teacher, but as soon as she laid eyes on me, she clutched her purse and that was it for me. I felt so bad to be helpless in the first place and I didn’t think I could keep it together if someone cursed me out of accused me of lying or something, so I walked up the escalator, went down the street and didn’t stop until I got to the 6th Street Exit.
Yep, I walked across 395 at 11:30 at night by my 16 year old self. People threw stuff at me, people swerved over onto the shoulder like they were gonna hit me and surprisingly about 5 different cops passed me without so much as slowing down. I could’ve gotten off as soon as I got to the DC side, but I was so pissed that I became defiant and said, “I’m gonna walk all the way to my exit.” 5.2 miles later, I was off the highway and another hour or so after that I was home.
Foolish Pride, but pride nonetheless. Still beats low self esteem.