“Are trees supposed to lean against the wall like that?”
I tilted my head to stare at the enormous Christmas tree in my living room. The wall behind it was the only thing keeping the whole thing from crashing to the floor.
My friend Derrick gave the tree a little shake and the damn thing almost toppled over. “Listen, this is probably going to fall to the ground, and you’re probably going to be asleep when it happens, and since you live alone you’re probably going to think someone is breaking in to stab, rape, and murder you…But I think it’s fine!”
In my never-ending quest to make things too fucking complicated, I bought a tree that was too big for my car, doorway, or tree stand and hauled it home from across town. Could I just walk to Whole Foods one hundred feet from my apartment and purchase a reasonably-sized tree? Oh no. That wasn’t festive enough. I wanted the Christmas experience—to listen to Christmas carols and drink cider and oh my god why did I buy a tree that had to be strapped to the top of my car??
“D, you’re excused. I’ll just go to Whole Foods tomorrow and get a more sturdy stand.”
Derrick gave me a look that read, you’re a dumbass, and said, “You can lift this thing by yourself?”
I thought back to all the times I had to flip my bedroom mattress solo, and what a nightmare that was. And mattresses don’t have pine needles.
“Well let’s go, you’ve been staring at this thing for an hour!”
I got the urge to say NO! You’ve done SO much already! I was the moron that drug you across town when football’s playing instead of getting a tree from the very place we’re now returning to! Then thought better of it.
When someone offers their help, just shut up and accept it.
There are going to be times when you need HELP. You’ll move into an apartment without an elevator and have to lug furniture twice your weight up two flights of steps. You’ll order a double-mocha frappe before realizing you left your wallet at home and have no means to pay for it. You’ll get a one-hour notice that your in-laws are dropping in, when your house looks like Godzilla threw a tea party for all his giant lizard friends.
And if heaven’s grace is upon you, someone—whether it be a friend, family member, your mom who keeps saving your ass even though you’re an adult, or a random stranger who was smart enough to remember their credit card—will offer their services.
When this happens, do not—I repeat, do not—fight them on it. Cut your losses. Shut your mouth. And just say thank you.
Accept the help you’re given, and pay it forward instead of fighting it.
What are you arguing about, anyway? Do you think you’re a burden? Well of course you’re a burden—who the hell wants to help you move, paint your apartment, or assemble the IKEA dresser you insisted on purchasing off Craigslist? No one. But people are people, and decent people realize how difficult these things can be. They’ve moved themselves, and therefore understand what a bitch it really is. They’ve forgotten their wallet, forgot their phone charger at home, or had their car towed.
They called in favors a time or two in their lifetime, and therefore understand the disgusting piece of humble pie you are choking down. So accept the help when you need it, and pay it forward when it’s your turn.
And with that, I grabbed my keys, walked downstairs and bought a tree stand from the very place I could have started at. And I couldn’t have done it without Derrick’s help.