A friend, a proto-friend, friend with a small ‘f’ as opposed to a Friend (though there perhaps is that possibility over time) is having a difficulty. I won’t go in to it. It’s none of your business. The nature of it is irrelevant. I did not go into it with her either.
But, through the wonders of MySpace, I saw she was distressed. How? She had changed her mood smiley-icon to “distressed.” That’s a pretty clear and public indication.
So I decided to mind my own business. That lasted a bit under five minutes. I wrote her, not knowing why I did, not knowing why I wrote what I did. I wrote as follows.
You should know if there is any way I can assist, if there is any way to help, you need only say so and I’ll do my best.
One may attempt to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps, but it is tiresome and ineffective. It is the eye looking at itself or a finger attempting to feel itself. For this there are other eyes, other fingers.
For help: that is why there are other people.
Her response was thus:
Thank you so much…reading that instantly pushed my pride over on its big head! And that is not an easy task.
I had doubted myself, of course. It is my hobby, after all and I, while I don’t get paid, I am, in all other respects, at full professional, champion status at it. But I have learned, recently, to bull my way through doubt and act anyway. Ninety-nine percent of the time my self-doubt will be wrong.
But I wonder, when it is right, if I am to understand most of my doubt are old recordings, how am I to know the one time from a hundred when the voice of doubt speaks the truth?
I guess that is the time I will get hurt. It is better, I suppose, than hurting myself.
In the meantime, I have taken this step. I have reached out. And not to someone with whom I felt an instant kinship to, not to someone whom I feel I know for a thousand years and have remet, not a soul whom I have the joy of recognizing after long absence and feel barely parted, but to someone I hope will, over time, become a friend.
I guess, in time, I might get hurt. But it is better than preemptively hurting myself and it is something I should do more often – tell self-doubt and deprecation to take a hike, reach out, and help.