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Too Much Pride
I learned that asking for help isn’t weak
Antwaun Garcia
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I come from a family with a huge amount of pride. The men in my family especially have a lot of pride and don’t like to ask for help. So until recently I rarely asked for help. I was scared of being looked upon as less of a man.

I guess that’s because I used to always feel that people were against me. I felt this because so many people I was close to said I would never succeed. They said I would turn out just like my father. I felt they were just trying to break me and put me down. I told myself I would have to succeed without anyone’s help just to prove them wrong.

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My Pride Got Me in Trouble

But sometimes my pride and my determination to do things without help got me in trouble. I was one of those kids who was quick to fight. I had a couple of fights where other dudes pulled out knives on me, and I still fought them. It made me feel strong and independent, like I was grown enough to handle it on my own. But looking back, that wasn’t too smart. What if I got into a fight with the wrong person and he pulled a gun? I don’t think my pride would have helped me out.

Still, my pride grew and stayed with me throughout my teenage years. I taught myself how to play basketball, how to talk to females, and how to make my own judgments. I almost never asked my aunt, who I live with, for spending money. With everything I did, I challenged myself to be the best and told myself that the best always stand alone. I thought that if I asked for help it would look as though I succeeded because of that help, not because of all my work and determination.

Emotions With Nowhere to Go

I also almost never talked to anyone about my feelings, even though I had been through a lot in life and it weighed on me. Instead, I let out my emotions with a pen and a pad. And that worked fine until I got to the point where I faced things I couldn’t understand. I had questions like: Why was I ever put in foster care? Why did my parents abandon me? Why do I feel alone? The older I became the more things were unclear.

I had so many questions and no answers, and my pen and pad couldn’t answer them, because I was the one writing.

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Social workers and my friends sometimes said I should see a therapist to help me deal. But I felt that if I went to a therapist for help, it would make me soft or weak. So even though I wanted so badly to ask for help, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was left with hundreds of questions.

I Went to My Brother

Then I had a problem with my ex, and I didn’t know what to do. It was driving me crazy. So I decided to go to my brother Mel. Mel had a wifey he had been with on and off for almost 10 years, so there was no one better to ask than him.

At first I was hesitant, because I didn’t want my brother knowing my business like that. We were always cool back in the day, but since we hadn’t really kept in contact for five years, I didn’t know whether I should go to him or not.

I took a chance. I asked him for some advice, not having any high hopes of how it would go. But from the start of the convo, we got into it. Personal feelings about this, that and the third. I mean, he even helped me out in situations that I may encounter later on in life with a female. So it worked out better than I ever expected. And it felt cool to see I could fall back on my fam to help me out.

It Feels Good to Depend on Others

It didn’t really change my feeling that the world is against me, but I do now feel that I have some people who I can trust.

I’m also realizing that when I leave care I’m going to need people I can depend on. There’s so much I need to learn about living independently before I age out. I need to learn about getting an apartment, paying bills and saving money, to name a few things, and I need to learn those things fast. So it’s finally hitting me that it don’t make me less of a man but more of a person to know when I need help.

And you know what? It feels good to know that I can rely on people once in a blue. And it feels good getting to know my family again.

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(FCYU-2004-05-08)