You may think a princess is pampered and waited upon. Not these princesses. In fact, it’s not easy for me to ask for help. I rather hate it. Asking for help makes me feel vulnerable and, sometimes, weak. I’ve gotten better about it as I’ve gotten older, but I’m still a pretty independent person, and it chafes me to feel dependent on others. I know. I know. I have issues. Oy! Believe me, I am trying to work through them.
I’m working on a pagan-y project right now that has forced me to ask others for advice. After some research online, I couldn’t find a site that offered comprehensive information. So, I put out a call for advice and got some really positive and helpful responses from several friends. Thanks for that guys and gals!
I also “cold called” a pagan I know in passing because she has successfully executed this particular project in the past. She was gracious and responded with good and useful information that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. w00t! I was and am very grateful. But her response was tempered with a polite, “I’m sure if you googled this, you could find what you need.” A gentile chastising, but a chastising nonetheless. I could just tell s/he was thinking, “well, bless her heart” when responding to me.* NOOOOoooooo! I hate that someone would think that of me and that is EXACTLY why I hate to ask for help.
Needless to say, I was a little taken aback. True, this person doesn’t know me well enough to know that it took pressing need for me to ask for help. (Or well enough to know I have a Ph.D. — a certification in research if ever there was one!) At the same time, should that ever be the response when someone asks for help? I’m no Miss Manners, but an immediate assumption of willful ignorance when someone asks for help seems unkind. Especially among pagans, folk whose beliefs and practices are varied and wide and so not canonical. A simple google of anything pagan will not lead to a simple answer.
This episode of polite patronizing got me wondering if this wasn’t an episode at all. Was it, instead, evidence of a larger trend of collective condescension? This question got me wondering about fluffy bunnies. A fluffy bunny is someone who is (usually) new to paganism and (usually) a solitary practitioner and (always) disinterested in expanding their knowledge about paganism. What if fluffs are asking for information and we are turning them away – either with a gently down-turned nose or a “bless her heart” smile? Are we ourselves (meaning practicing pagans) causing newbies to reproduce like rabbits…into bunnies? Say it isn’t so!
For those of you who are pagan, think back to the early days of your paradigm shift — to your “pagadigm” shift, if you will (Oh, wow. That is a terrible pun. You’re welcome.). Back to a time when you had a lot of questions, didn’t know where to go for answers and didn’t know who to trust with (what was likely) a secret. Suppose you reached out to someone (and at some point, most of us did) and they snubbed you, even politely. Would you have become a fluffy bunny? Even for a little while?
For those of you who are not pagan, let’s use a similar memory…one about something sensitive and private. Sex! Imagine (or recall) that already awkward moment when you ask for information being further traumatized by a snooty answer. I remember that happening to me. Those damn older kids and their “You don’t know that?! You’re stupid!” attitudes. Aaarrggghhh!
What say you royal readers? Have you ever asked for help and been undeservedly scolded, even if lightly, for asking?