Amanda Palmer: The art of asking (Ted Talk)

The video I am referencing is here.

For those of you who do not know me personally, Amanda Palmer’s music has been a huge part of my life. I have physically tried to emulate her in order to step into my personal power. She is a rock goddess with whom only Emilie Autumn can hold a candle. (If they ever toured together, I’d forsake my college degree to see them; please don’t hold me to that, Universe.) I’ve watched her Ted Talk a number of times, but this time, something hit me harder than before, something that is currently a huge part of my life right now.

She said, “…when you connect with them, people want to help you.” (Skip to it here.)

If you couldn’t tell from the user name I’ve chosen, I dabble in the theatrical arts. Right now, I am taking a Styles class, which includes Shakespeare. I’m struggling to connect with people. Hell, if Amanda Palmer tried to hug me, I’d probably close myself off. My acting teacher said to me, ironically enough, “Methinks you doth protest too much.” He’s right; I want to connect with people. I always have.

I’ve had this fucked up notion in my head that I was going to die around age twenty. I’m twenty-five, childless, and currently single; obviously, my beliefs were mistaken. In the time between ten and nineteen, I had programed myself to shy away from connecting with people, under some “noble” assumption I would be saving them the grief of attending my funeral. This habit is no longer serving me, and I need to get rid of it.

I connected with one person – or thought I did – and it was the best experience of my life. Then, the habit kicked in. I looked for reasons to get mad, to gripe and bitch and just be a royal pain in the ass, and he didn’t want anything to do with me. I didn’t trust him. To be fair, he didn’t do anything to earn my trust save for refuse to kill me in my sleep (or any other time, for that matter). He was my ex, and we’d had problems before, nothing new. But for a few days, about two or three, I felt so connected to another person, I couldn’t stand it (obviously literally).

Do I purposefully seek out people who screw me over? Is the territory familiar, so I stay firmly within my boundaries, just so I can “stay warm” in the same shit I’ve been standing in, even though, if I were to move, I’d be in less shit (even though it would take some time to become the temperature I’m comfortable in)? [<– Thank St. Genesius for the allegory my acting teacher gives when we talk about habits.] I’ve thought about it, and I am a masochist, but not that kind of a masochist.

I graduated a year early, so I was too young when I first went to the University; after a few years away, I’m back, only to find myself too old. Most people I ask my age from say “20”. This is consistent. So, it isn’t the fact that other people are shunning me for age-related reasons, it’s me. I’m keeping myself from connecting with people. I’m trying, though. It’s hard. It’s breaking my heart. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve begun to seek professional help, not that I haven’t in the past.

I hate asking for things; I have a hard time telling people what I need. I feel guilt and shame whenever I receive things, even if i earned them. I think about all the people who don’t have what I have who complain less and enjoy themselves more. Maybe there’s jealousy in there as well, if I’m being completely honest. The fact of the matter is, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I put myself here. Perhaps it was naive of me, but it was (and is) totally my fault.

When I went to get my initial evaluation at the student health center, the psychologist made it a point to tell me A) she wasn’t in charge of the decision, and B) there were a lot of students who wanted counseling services, but I would know by Monday whether or not I had a referral or and on-campus counselor. I read rejection in her complete aspect. The last time I went there, I was told my “past abuse” was beyond the “professional abilities” of the clinic – that was only the second session in. I needed help, I was reaching out, and I was told, ‘We can’t save you; we’re going to concentrate on those who have a chance to survive.’ Yeah, my anxiety isn’t exactly of the ‘time management’ variety.

I’m sick of being jerked around, but if the Universe put me there, I hope it was for a reason. I know it was, I mean, Spiritually Speaking. The fact that I’m single – there’s a reason. The fact that I haven’t graduated yet – there’s a reason. Everything happens for a reason. Thank goodness someone on who can see the entirety of the fourth dimension is in charge of these things, instead of me. This would be a… sixth dimensional being? Which would actually make it the fifth dimension, since we can see the second, not the first. Now I’m just thinking too much for a Sunday night.

The first thing I did when I got up today was write a skit for No Shame. I’m seriously considering publishing a book of skits and hocking them to acting classes as an ‘indispensable companion for undergraduate studio courses’. I was also thinking about publishing a book of my poetry. Dear Gods, i’ve written over twenty poems since I broke up with my boyfriend this year, and the latest one is, I think, in iambic pentameter. It’s ten syllables to each line, if nothing else. I can’t wait for the commedia portion of our Styles class to start.

The Universe takes care of everything, I know. I just hate being patient. I hate busying myself with ‘lesser’ things, as if my personal relationships and financial well-being mean more than improving my skills and abilities.

Maybe I was right the first time – I’m way too picky about who I want to connect with.

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