My Arms Are Just for Show Now

Oh sure, she has no problem!

Part of having anxiety is being afraid to ask for help. Mostly it’s because I don’t want to be an inconvenience, but I also have an intense fear of rejection. What if I asked and they said no?! I’d die, probably.

This covers everything from needing to borrow money to needing help hanging a medicine cabinet. It extra covers needing help with my mental state, but that’s a whole other blog post.

I usually end up mentioning what I need help with in hopes that someone will offer to help, even though that’s a chicken way to go about it. My ex couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just come right out and ask. I just can’t! Anxiety won’t let me!

Today this particular aspect of anxiety hit me hard, twice.

Yesterday one of the bosses asked for my help with something. They’re having students volunteer to come in and speak with our vendor about one of our websites so we know what needs to be improved. The boss man has an appointment and couldn’t make it to some of these interviews, so he asked if I could go in his place. Absolutely! I eagerly agreed without thinking about the fact that I also had an appointment scheduled for today.

You see, I see my doctor for so much that’s already wrong with me, I hate making appointments for new problems. I’ve sort of let them pile up, and now I have three problems that are more than just a little annoying, so I finally scheduled an appointment. (Just watch, I’ll get there and be so self-conscious after discussing two problems, I’ll chicken out and won’t mention the third.)

When I realized today that I double booked myself, I could have explained the situation to the boss man. He’s a nice guy, I’m sure he would have understood. But I just couldn’t do it. I’d be making things harder for him, and what if he resented me, what if he canceled his own appointment, I’d feel so guilty, blah, blah, blah. So I canceled my appointment and rescheduled for later this week. Not a big deal. Really.

So I get there and the boss man explains that he tried to pick up the sweatshirts that we’re giving to the students as incentive to do the survey, but they weren’t ready yet. I volunteered to go get them, on the other side of campus.

No worries!

I hiked over to the President’s office, where I was to pick up the sweatshirts. I didn’t wear a coat because there are tunnels between the buildings, so no need to go outside. I got most of the way there and came to a detour due to construction in one of the buildings. I made a mental note to remember how to get around that weird bit.

I got to the President’s office and saw the box. It was huge. Why didn’t I anticipate how big a box of 16 sweatshirts would be?! I picked it up. My T-Rex arms don’t fit around it. This is going to be tough. I look around. There’s no one to ask for help. The President’s secretaries were in an office next door. No way was I asking them for help – they’re dressed like president’s secretaries, they’re not going to trudge across campus carrying shirts in their high heels. So I put my phone in my bra (because of course my pants don’t have pockets) and hoist up the box.

Fuck this is heavy.

I got to the elevator and I was already struggling. I discovered that if I prop the box on my shoulder it’s a bit easier. See, I can do this! Then I got to the detour and discovered stairs instead of an elevator. Fudgenuts. I didn’t think about that earlier. I walked up and down the hallway and couldn’t find the elevator, so I was forced to ask for help. As I approached the nearest desk (the afternoon is a blur, I think I was by student registration, I don’t even know) all eyes were on me – the short girl carrying a box on her shoulder. They politely pointed me in the direction of the elevator and asked if I needed help. “No thanks, I’m good,” I respond, while inside I’m screaming SOMEONE TAKE THIS GOD FORSAKEN BOX FROM MY WIMPY ARMS!”

The elevator doors opened and someone I know was inside. He offered to help, I politely declined. We walked a ways, he offered again, I graciously accepted. Sadly, he could only help through the rest of that building, then we parted ways.

I got about halfway to my destination when my arms started feeling like they would fall off. I was sweating profusely. I started having to set the box down for a rest in between each building I went through. At one point, while bumping a door open button with my butt, a few shirts fell out of the box – they were stacked up higher than the box, it happened several times on my journey.) I tried to catch them and dropped several more. I heard laughing. I looked up and a guy was standing there laughing, not offering to help. I gave him my best death glare and carried on.

The closer I got to my destination, the more confusing taking the tunnels got. I was dripping sweat, my arms were on fire, and I just wanted to get there. So I went outside in 28 degree weather to get to my destination quicker. Christ it felt good… for the first few minutes, then I strongly regretted my decision.

When I finally got back to the room where the surveys were being done, I was a hot mess. The vendor was in the middle of interviewing a student and I just walked in, dropped the box on the floor, mumbled a mostly sincere “sorry” for interrupting, and hightailed it to the restroom to put cold wet paper towels on my arm pits. I’m pretty sure I smelled like a pig.

The moral of the story, dear cucumbers, is to fight your anxiety and ask for help. While this time it was just my nonexistent arm muscles that paid the price, too often it’s my mental state that takes the hit when I try to carry the weight of the world (or a large box of sweatshirts) on my shoulders.


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