We all need basics: air, water, food, friends. Once we acquire those, we have to start asking for what we need. Our friends are not mind-readers, no matter how much we wish they were. They may offer help, but it’s up to us to ask for the kind of help we need. We aren’t very good with that.
“You’ve known me for 10 years! How can you think I’d do that?” or “Why didn’t it occur to you that I needed a babysitter?” Each of us has enough on our plates. And yes, you have to risk being told “no.” Asking for what we need is half of the solution. Handling “no” is the other half. It’s not easy being a friend and an adult at the same time.
This cactus cannot ask for what it needs. It needs water. It’s growing by a canal–all the water it could ever need is no more than 15 feet from its roots. But it can’t move and it can’t ask, and the canal is a concrete channel, so the water won’t leak over to it. Like most cacti, this one is hardy. It hasn’t rained significantly in three months. There are limits to hardy, too. Nature is not always soft and gentle. The cactus may well die, the soft parts dry, leaving a beautiful skeleton.
Note: these photos and brief essays are a prompt to help you think about the changes you might want to make in your life. I photograph the Invisible, Visible World to help us all become aware of what is around us. To think deeply about what we care about.
–Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach who helps people in emotional and psychological pain. She also helps people finish that book, painting, music, or dance. Or get started. But you have to ask for what you need!