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Friday, January 28, 2005

The Food Stamps office

Today I went to the Food Stamps office to drop off a client's application. All you have to do is hand the application to the lady behind the counter. The first time I went, I asked her, "So does this person need to contact you, or wait for your call, or what?"

Nothing important; I didn't really know their procedure.

But I was ashamed later because I think I probably asked the questions to let the woman know that I certainly was not dropping off the application for myself. I even put on lipstick that day.

So today, when she asked if she could help me, I said, "I'm just dropping this application off." Immoderately proud, too, that I didn't elaborate. I didn't realize until the first time I went there how hard it might be to ask for help. I've never really had to, so I've always figured that resources exist to help those who need it--why would those people hesitate for single second to get that help? So I understood, when it was my immediate reaction to distance myself from the depths and ugliness of need, how hard it would be admitting you can't do it all on your own, and you need help. I've always been more comfortable struggling to admitting I can't make it alone. And I think realizing that makes it easier to learn how to ask for help in the future.

But that's me thinking philosophically with the social worker's name tag on my chest, not standing in the shoes of someone who can't afford to eat.


Blogger erin said...

I'm always amazed at you Ellie, how you step back and observe, and learn so much about yourself during everyday tasks.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Skeezix said...

LE- Erin is right. You really are amazing.

I know that for me admitting I need help (especially financially) is the hardest thing to do. I'm very independent and to ask for money (or a grocery gift card) is the hardest thing for me to do. I just. can't. do. it.

I have to continually remind myself that everyone needs help and that is ok.

Your post reminded me of that. Thank you.

12:28 PM  

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