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the difference between “thanks anyway” and “go fuck yourself”…and another question. (book blog #2)

good lorrrrrrd. 600+ comments and counting, and so much insanely intelligent stuff.
(if you missed it, the last blog – about my new book – is HERE.)
while we’re cooking with gas, i’m just going to keep asking. so read on.
jamy and i spent the entire day in hermosa talking about the book outline and reading through these comments, and i pasted a lot of our back-and-forth below. there’s so much high-class stuff – if i didn’t cut and paste your comment, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t read (or amazing)…a lot of what i grabbed was random, in order to keep a certain flow of conversation going.

meanwhile, on topic, trent reznor just did an interview for SPIN magazine.
i was interviewed about a week ago about mr. reznor for Fader magazine, who are doing a giant, personal profile on him to be published in a few months. trent was always really kind to the dresden dolls when we toured with him, and i talked about how he defended us from the NIN stage when some assholes in the audience heckled us.
when trent went from doing-it-himself back to using a major label a little while ago, i saw a lot of people bitching about it on twitter and calling him a “traitor” or whatever. i totally stood by and defended his decision to work with a label. he can do what he wants. why the fuck not? i know what it’s like to run your own label and you can NEVER do what an office of full-time label people can do. it’s all about help, time and energy. want more help? you may need to go to a label and share your profits. like everything else i find myself defending…crowdfunding, labels, etc etc etc: it all comes down to the same thing: IT’S THE ARTIST’S DECISION. LET THE ARTIST DECIDE.
even though i may never do it like NIN, or like radiohead, or like miley cyrus….i think whatever path they choose is fine. use a label. don’t use a label. make mainstream music. make loud dissonant noise. twerk your brains out. being an artist is about forging your own path (in content and in business practice) and following your own path.
anyway, what trent says below ties in DIRECTLY with the question i asked you guys. read:
“Nine Inch Nails feels bigger than it ever has,” says a bemused Reznor. “Is it because we’re on Columbia? Is it scarcity? I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel bigger in the sense that we’ve desperately adopted some new clothing style. It feels organic, and it feels good not to be worrying about whether or not we shipped vinyl to the cool record store in Prague. I know that what we’re doing flies in the face of the Kickstarter Amanda-Palmer-Start-a-Revolution thing, which is fine for her, but I’m not super-comfortable with the idea of Ziggy Stardust shaking his cup for scraps. I’m not saying offering things for free or pay-what-you-can is wrong. I’m saying my personal feeling is that…


via SPIN

i think one of the important things to consider here is the difference between saying “my album’s not a dime. it’s not a buck. i made it as well as i could and it costs 10 bucks, or go fuck yourself” and “my album’s not a dime. it’s not a buck. i made it as well as i could and it costs 10 bucks. if you don’t want to pay for it, thanks anyway (and hopefully when you torrent it and love it you’ll eventually share it with someone who will support me directly).”


for the record: i think trent is great, and i think being a musician right now is frustrating for a lot of reasons.
i also think the most important thing we (especially we musicians) have to keep in mind is that there are as many paths as there are musicians.i’m never going to hold it against NIN, radiohead, prince, regina spektor or miley cyrus for doing what they want…even if i’d never do it. that goes for artistic content (though you never know, i might come out with a hard-hitting industrial album and do a whole series of twerking videos directed by david lynch to go along with it), and it also goes for business systems. do i hold it against one direction for having a huge label? hell no. they couldn’t be a boy band without that system. do i hold it against people who charge $20 for album downloads on bandcamp. nope – and though i doubt that system would work for me…MAYBE it works for them. maybe they have a base of extremely devoted fans who understand that the $20 is going to fund something important. no system is not allowed. this is the only way forward. not one answer. millions of answers, and respect for every artists’ decision.
Meanwhile, THIS article landed on my twitter stream this morning (from @rebeccahiscott) and couldn’t be more timely:

it’s written by a music lawyer and THIS part is key:
“Older artists – that is, artists from my era or before – tend to shun the idea of fan funding because it feels like begging. They tell me that they respect and appreciate their fans, and they’d never cheapen the relationship by begging them for money. I think this perception is in part because many DIY artists conduct their fan funding campaign in a manner that really does feel like begging. I’ve unfollowed scores of Twitter feeds comprised of relentless, increasingly desperate pleas for donations. Updates like “Come on, we’re at 52%…only FIVE DAYS LEFT to pledge – we NEED your support” several times per hour. This sort of pressure has colored how we feel about fan funding.”

and this is EXACTLY what so many people, hundreds of people, responded in the blog comments.

sometimes it’s just about TONE. how you ask. i know that my TED talk was inspired DIRECTLY by watching artists APOLOGLIZING for crowdfunding.
i couldn’t stand seeing one for kickstarter video that started with the lead singer of a band saying: “hey guys! so this is the embarrassing part where we come begging you for money!”

i wanted to grab those people and shake them and say “it’s OKAY. just ASK. just ASK. stop apologizing, you’re making us all look bad when you cower and apologize. JUST ASK.”


so to the comments now, some highlights and my (and jamy’s) additional thoughts….
there were lots of really great succinct comments, along these lines….


Asking is an invitation. Begging is a demand.


one of my favorite comments, period:

Gabriel Komisar
I always thought that asking for something meant that “Yes” and “No” were suitable answers.
Ex. “May I have a handjob?”
“Alright then.”

Whereas with begging you are demanding something from someone.
Ex. “Dammit Charles, I need a handjob!”
“Oh, if you insist.”


AFP: good point here – asking is a normal part of daily life:

Rachael Pixie
Asking: one asks for things all the time. I asked my co-worker to forward my calls. I asked my friend if she wanted to take a walk. I asked my boyfriend if he felt like having spaghetti for dinner. Casual asking. We do it all the time. Even smaller moments are acts of asking: “excuse me, do you have any aspirin in stock?” while at the store. It may sound like begging if you have a migraine, but I’ve not yet gotten to that. Asking is something we all do, all the time, sometimes without thought. Sometimes with great thought. Sometimes, with hesitation. But it is a normal part of life. Many times, asking is without expectation. And on the other side, asking can be used to delay response. We learn this as children, asking our mother for something, only to be told, “ask your father.” And his answer? “Ask your mother.” Asking can be frustrating. Ask someone for something, or to do something, and in return, perhaps they will have to ask someone else. Sometimes, this is a legitimate thing. Sometimes, it’s a way of shifting blame. We all ask. We ask casually, we ask seriously. And I’d wager that most of us do not go a day without asking something, be it to gain an understanding of something, to obtain something, or to have someone do something for us. Or, to do something for someone else. “May I help you?” or “What can I do?” And so much of this is in the phrasing, the intent, and the way the asking is done. Shrugging and saying, “how could she ask me something like that?” Or “I know she asked for this, but what was she really asking for?” We ask questions when we don’t know the answer. We ask when we do. And we ask when we don’t want to know. Sometimes, we can’t help ourselves. Asking by and large fuels our interactions in this society.

My co-worker just asked me what I am writing. I said, “a longer than I expected post about the differences between asking and begging. Because there’s this singer, you might like her, but anyway, she asked me to. So I am.”


asking is like courtship; begging, you are already naked and panting


JAMY: Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad …

Blaire R
The way I see it, begging is the more desperate form of asking. The first time you make a request, it’s asking: it might be polite or demanding, but it’s still just asking. When you have to ask again – and again and again and again – that’s begging. It’s proof that you are so desperate to accomplish a goal that you’re willing to keep asking. Like you said, people don’t like to ask. It’s uncomfortable, it’s somewhat self-demeaning (sometimes), it’s humbling. It’s also an act of submission to the person you’re begging: if you ask once, you’re saying that person is useful; if you beg, you’re telling the person that you need them enough to give them some amount of power over you.

AFP: this was a recurring theme….there’s a lot of these comments….the FIRST TIME is asking.
the fourth time…it’s more like begging:

Begging is repetitive asking, with increasing desperation.

arin Antal
Ask once, get your answer, move on. Ask twice, get the same answer; now you’re begging. Or annoying. Same thing.


When one wanteth, one asketh. When one needeth, one beggeth. Here endeth the lesson. Eth.

AFP: awesome. eth.

Jamie Metcalfe
It depends on the situation. It’s circumstantial. Asking can be begging, but begging cannot always be asking. It’s much deeper, more immediate and more intimate. Asking implies questioning, where begging implies dire need for what is asked for. There is nothing wrong with either.

We beg our lovers to stay and we ask them what we can do to keep them around. Sometimes they go hand in hand. Sometimes it’s completely ugly, sometimes it’s completely beautiful. When someone is selfless and helps you in your time of need it feels less like begging, and more like a genuine human connection.

Begging can be looked down upon, asking; not so much. Begging is beneath most people. But most cannot achieve all their goals by themselves.

upon reading this, Jamy says: “ehhhh, i dunno. in a love relationship? begging never produces a good outcome. it’s always too late once you’re begging a lover to stay.”


Miss Bri Saussy

AFP: this really reminds me of the TED talk, where i talk about….”trust versus force.”
when you ask “HOW DO WE MAKE PEOPLE PAY FOR MUSIC”, you’re talking about force.
when you ask “HOW DO WE LET PEOPLE PAY FOR MUSIC”, you’re talking about trust.

so maybe:

asking = trust
begging = fear.


To generalize, most Americans (perhaps Occidentals) cannot bear the idea of being helpless, dependent, and/or passive; and are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of one person not being able to solve all their problems alone. This is not to say that all Americans/Occidentals buy this notion hook, line, and sinker – but its ghost pervasively haunts this society, and is wrapped up in our individual and collective psyches in ways we often don’t see. Need and help are still cultural anathema; something only comfortable for many if they are in the position to be the one offering, rather than asking or receiving, because it is (consciously or unconsciously) perceived to be the more powerful position. (Power dynamics – longer conversation for another day.)

AFP: this is interesting, for sure. so many people, over the last months, have brought up the difference between east and west and the buddhist tradition of “begging” monks who go door to door and are considered an integral PART OF THE COMMUNITY – part of the ecosystem…..

and, related, there are many many about the “power dynamic”:


You only beg for something when then other person has all the power and you have none.

jamy muses: “in asking you’re taking responsibility…in begging, you’re throwing off the responsibility and putting into the hands of the beg-ee.”


love this:

Hanno Smit –
Simple, asking makes you want to give because – you WANT, you LOVE, and you CARE. Begging makes you need to give because you feel GUILTY and OBLIGATED. Its almost like that spanking you got for bad behaviour v.s. the lollipop you got when you were good. The outcome is similar but the associations are polar opposites.


and this is really good:

Stephanie Axberg revsparker
There are a certain kind of people who like to play the victim… and I know this because, however much it embarrasses me to say, I used to be one of them. Nothing that happened to me was ever my own fault, and I could never be responsible for where life led me, and when I needed something, it almost always came to begging. It took some things happening in my life to wake me up and make me realize that the power was in my hands the entire time, and the culpability for where I had ended up. I like to think that I am doing way better now, and it’s a lot harder for me to *ask* for anything now, since I came from a place where I used to beg.

… I think we, as humans, have to stand up for those who have been oppressed to that point, but how do we tell the difference between real victims who are begging and reaching out for help and those who would manipulate and play on our emotions to get what they want?

I don’t know the answer, I just try to be compassionate to those around me, and to save my energy to help the people in my life who really deserve it, for those who helped me rise out of my old ways of thinking and being and who stuck with me.


this is great:

Tank Gina Louise Brown
I’m not sure if I agree that this is the difference between asking and begging, but it touches on something I think is important to bring up here: it’s really, really important to make it OK for people to say “no.”

The idea of having a band come around asking for donations at a concert they is really uncomfortable — it means I have to look them in the eye and say (implicitly), “You’re not worth that much to me.” It puts me in a position where my options are “give” or “be rude.” It’s very similar to when people working for Greenpeace or the Red Cross or whatever see me walking around with headphones on, come up to me, and put a hand out like I’m supposed to shake it. I get FURIOUS at those people. Walking away from them is hard, and of course, it’s supposed to be — they exploit my desire to be polite in order to coerce me into listening or giving.

What makes Kickstarter (for instance) different is that there’s no penalty to walking away. No force of coercion. If I don’t give anything, I don’t have to confront anyone about why. And giving me that option communicates humility and respect — and it engenders respect in turn. It makes me more likely to help out, actually, because it makes me like the person asking and feel like they deserve a chance.


really well put:

Shawnie Alvara
Begging is asking without the intent of hearing no. Sort of like stealing is like borrowing with no intention of returning.


and i love this…

what is the difference between asking and begging?
Jess says:
How tightly your hands are clasped together.

AFP: what a fucking image. it’s so true. softly, pleasantly clasped hands, asking. tightly clasped, wringing hands and white knuckles: begging.


beautifully put. i like “invitational”:

Angie J-s
Asking is INVITATIONAL. It’s about saying, “Hey! I’m doing something really cool and I’d love it if you were a part of the fabness. Wanna join me? ‘Cause I could really use (whatever is needed).” Asking is prosperity-minded, coming from a place of gratitude and joy and inclusiveness and passion and confidence. It has a whole different feeling to it – for both the person doing the asking and the folks being asked. Hooray for asking!

Begging is poverty minded and carries some seriously icky extra baggage. Begging demands attention, comes from a place of “can’t do it on my own” and is often met with avoidance or even anger. And really…who the hell needs more guilt or negativity for, y’know, anything? Fuck begging.


Are you asking us or begging? Show your work in your response.



Erika Ensign
“We ask for what we want. We ask for what we need. Sometimes we beg for what we need, because desperation can quickly turn asking to begging. When we beg for what we *want* instead of what we *need*, we’re failing both ourselves and the person we’re begging.”

AFP: THIS is so interesting. the idea that begging IS ok in the context of extreme need, a life and death situation. begging a passing car to slow down because you’re stuck on the side of the road in the desert after your car broke down if ok, right? (though jamy adds: throwing tacks on the road is not ok, and amanda adds: because it leaves EVERYBODY STRANDED.)


i could go on and on, and the comments are continuing to pour in even as i write this.

so here’s my next question….
(and that’s jamy ian swiss, my current book doula, on the right. he says hi).

answer away. i expect these stories to be good.

i ask one more thing of you all: PLEASE use the handy dandy up-vote system and vote up stuff that resonates….
when the blog starts getting over 500-1,000 comments it can get overwhelming and it’s fantastic when the power of the multiple commenters/readers actually use their hive mind to shift the good stuff to the top.

have at it.


p.s. and by the way,
here’s a link to trent’s new record…
it costs $10, or go fuck yourself. :)

EDIT – FEB 6, 2014: peoples! this is legalese stating that i CAN USE YOUR COMMENTS, or portions of your comments – in the book, freely, and you won’t come suing me. you’ll be seeing it at the bottom of every blog where i’m asking for comments that i might use in the book. don’t be scared.

By submitting information and/or comments to or (hereinafter referred to as “AFP’s Blog”), you grant AFP’s Blog a perpetual, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, distribute, and otherwise exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to that information and/or comment at its sole discretion, throughout the world, including storing it on AFP’s Blog servers and incorporating it in other works in any media now known or later developed including, without limitation, published books. If you do not wish to grant AFP’s Blog these rights, it is suggested that you do not submit information to this website. APF’s Blog reserves the right to select, edit and arrange submissions, and to remove information from the AFP’s Blog and website at any time at its sole discretion. You further agree and acknowledge that submitting information and/or comments to AFP’s Blog does not entitle you to receive any compensation, credit or approval rights. You understand that AFP’s Blog has the right but not the obligation to use your comment.

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  • GalInTheGreyHat

    More time. Be it on a test, on a trip, with a loved one now gone. I always regret never asking for more time when I’ve needed it. For some reason I continue to forget because I always think there will be more time until there isn’t.

  • Joie Young

    I wish I had asked for what I needed as a teen and young adult. For a long time, if I saw a desire that conflicted with my needs, I would bend over backwards to make the desires of my friends/partners/family happen and ignore my needs for their sake. I thought this was the unselfish way of loving. It took me a long time to learn that I must ask for my needs and give them priority over *desires.* That it was selfish to not take care of myself because it then laid the burden of making sure I got taken care of on others. I still bend over backwards for the needs of my friends/partners/families, but I make sure my needs get taken care of, too. The rest, while desirable, is just bonus.

  • Cheri Elkins

    I wish I’d asked for more information on retirement plans during my job orientation. I also wish I’d asked for a better starting salary. I wish I’d asked my ex for the entire truth when he dumped me. Finding it out two months later sucked. Too specific?

    • Nirvy

      What I want is very specific… even when I pretend otherwise

  • hallelujah_hippo

    I wish I’d asked for a hug from Neil in Ann Arbor, but I felt guilty taking up time and space when there were so many people in line behind me, so I just thanked him for his signature and scurried away.

  • Ally

    Creative Help. I used to think that if I didn’t do the whole thing, start to finish, I wasn’t a real artist. I was afraid if other people included input it would make it less “mine” and that would make me a fraud. I, thankfully, have gotten over that.

  • Jennifer Conner

    I am the oldest of five children. There was a trip I really wanted to take during high school. I don’t remember where the trip was to any more. What I remember is that I never asked if I could go. I assumed that my parents couldn’t afford to send me on the trip. I never brought the papers home and I was beyond jealous of those who did go. Flash forward 4 years to when my brother and sister where at high school. They apparently asked my parents to go on the trip, because they went. I wish I hadn’t made assumptions about my parents’ finances and had simply asked if I could go. I missed out on something I’ll always regret because I never asked.

    • ashnk

      I am the oldest of 4. I never asked for much of anything growing up, even to the point of not asking for a real relationship with my family. I wish now that I had asked for more attention and understanding from my parents. As a now adult, I feel like I barely know them and they barely know me. I was always too caught up in trying to be as perfect and self-sufficient as possible. When I realized it was never going to happen, keeping my imperfection from them was the most important thing in the world. Turns out they realized just how messed our family was, but thought I was fine and didn’t need anything.

      • Jennifer Conner

        I wonder what it is about being the oldest in a larger family that does that to us? Here’s to asking when we need or want to and making ourselves priorities.

        • AV

          My case is actually the opposite: I’m the youngest in my family and my older brother always got (and still gets) all the attention and all the help from my parents. I grew up thinking that this was ok, that it was probably the norm in all families and it’s only recently that I’ve realized that it was not.

          It’s also quite recently that I’ve consciously asked my parents for the attention I deserve. And although their reaction was not what I expected (they think I’m being jealous…), it’s true that somehow that simple act of asking has made me feel much better about myself, because at least I have tried and asked for what I want, which I didn’t dare do before and because I know I deserve what I asked for.

    • AnnaMariah Nau

      My daughter had asked me to go to a presentation at her school about an upcoming trip to Australia, New Zealand and Figi. the presentation was awesome, there would even be 6 months of information and cultural learning before the trip. The total price per person including airfair was an unbelievable $2k – including hotels for 20 days, and some of the meals even. As we left the auditorium, she said plaintively “I know I can’t go, but thanks for coming to hear about it.” Her step dad and I both looked at her and said at once “Not only are you going, we’re all going.” It was an awesome trip for all of us, and I’m so glad she took the chance to at least ask us to the presentation.

      • Jennifer Conner

        That is awesome! I’m glad she did, too. What a wonderful story. The power of asking.

  • J

    That I asked my ex why she wanted to leave me instead of just saying ok and letting her go. Because this is the third relationship since then and the same shit is starting to happen and I’m beginning to think maybe the problem is me and I don’t know how to stop it.

    • Discord

      Then ask your current girlfriend, now. Talk is all you have in relationships. You’re smart enough and self aware enough to consider your own contributions rather than just blaming everything on the Ex… if you talk it out and think it through, you have a shot.

  • Bridgette

    I wish I had asked for help when I really fucking needed it. Too embarrassed to admit weakness. Too ashamed to share my secret. Too afraid no one would actually help. When I did finally ask for help with my eating disorders people stumbled over themselves to help me. Support came from corners I didn’t know I had. Now I am loud and proud, airing my issues for all to see, so that the next girl or guy who is ashamed, embarrassed or afraid can have the courage do what I should have done twelve years ago…ask for help.

    • Sharon

      Really inspiring, and I can really relate to what you’ve written. Sending much love x

      • Bridgette

        Thank you and sending love back to you!

    • Tanya Speed

      scream loud!!! I wish I could. The screaming started in my head and its starting to spill out of my mouth little by little…are you proof that I will one day be free of my demon?

    • Laura

      I really want to congratulate you on asking for help. You are awesome. One of my favorite people in the world, a musician and incredible man, died by suicide a few weeks ago after struggling for many years with an eating disorder. I wish so much that he had been able to ask for help one more time, but that was never his way. I would have traded in all his huge smiles and happy acts and supportive actions and generous encouragement, every single bit of it, just for him to have asked for help at that one crucial moment. But that would have meant me seeing him while he was broken and embarrassed and afraid, and he could never let himself do that.
      In short, you are amazing and I hope that if you ever need help again, you will remember that even if it doesn’t seem like it, the people you love would feel privileged to help you. They’d rather than than all the fake smiles in the world.

  • Heaven

    Help. There have been so many times when all I needed was help. Whether it was making a short film or a problem with my homework, I never had the courage to ask for help. I perceived it as being weak and because of that I missed out on a lot of opportunities and made many mistakes. If more people were comfortable asking for help, there would be a lot more art and love in the world. People would feel closer together. There would be a better sense of community.

    • Lee Garrod

      almost exactly what i was going to say; even down to the short film thing. You’re right; too many people associating asking for help with being weak and it’s difficult to break away from that feeling

    • Grace Bouma

      I think help of any sort is the hardest thing to ask for. I wish I knew how to ask for help the vast majority of the time. But I worry that asking for help will come off as begging for help, because I feel as if I will have to ask for it multiple times for people to hear me, or believe me that I need it. It’s tough :/

    • hyenamoon

      This really struck a chord with me. I still have a hard time asking for help, though now that I know I do, it makes it easier to deal with. I also have a hard time asking if I can be a part of something. It’s that whole problem of, people don’t know I’m interested unless I say something, but I feel like if I say something I’m begging (whether I am or not) to take part.

      I think part of my trouble is how socially awkward I was growing up. There are a lot of social skills I missed out on learning until much later in life.

      • Becca

        I would say that about 80 percent of AP fan-base could be classified as extremely needy people. I remember when I would visit her blog many years ago, and it was just about making music, and having a good time. Having fun. Now everything is politicized, and gimmie gimmie more gimmie $$$ and click here to donate here and lets sell books. Books? Wait a sec. It wasn’t that long ago that I remember that there was a band called The Dresden Doll and The Dresden Dolls wrote some really great songs, which sadly have fallen into disregard. Back then they didn’t need these kinds of ‘new’ gimmicks to draw attention to themselves. Play gigs and draw crowds of people to show up. Maybe DD was before your time though… Sure, I have no idea how much money the DD made during that timespan but I would prefer more of that talent than more of this attention seeking and bland crap for nothing but self-help psychoanalysis touchy-feely stuff. Look, hey at least Trent is still playing real music, and drawing really large crowds who look like they are having a good time. People are enjoying his music, which is something AP has kinda forgotten about or has taken a backseat to PR stunts and gimmicks. To be unfront, I didn’t really dig the new album. The latest videos really didn’t do much except make me want to ask what Dir. Pope was smoking that day he directed it. The poem for a terrorist was really shock-for-shock-sake or maybe just bad taste. I dunno. I never would have imaged DD turning to gimmicks to make money when I loved to see them play live a long long time ago… Try putting your clothing back on and really reengage the fans you lost by all this self-promotional dialog and nonsense. Worry more about being talented and putting out quality product. Worry less about what everyone else is thinking/doing to make a living for themselves.

        • x

          “Try putting your clothing back on and really reengage the fans you lost by all this self-promotional dialog and nonsense.”


        • H

          Hey, chuck…put the computer on stand-by and go to your stereo. Put on “Sing”, sip a glass of red, and chill. The DD were on a label – AP is treading her own path. Big difference in terms of cash-flow. This blog is for the fans; the ones who pay the artist to keep doing what they can, and why not?

          It all comes down to opinion, cat. Right, wrong, gimmick or art…if you don’t dig it, jump onto the net and ask for some new music. There’s so much out there. No need to clog your arteries with vitriol. All that said, it sounds like you were a genuine fan of DD, so your words are coming from a place of love anyway. Nice one.

          ‘We don’t care what you say, but we’re inviting you anyway.’

          • James

            I don’t think it was to be taken as vitriol. It is just simple constructive criticism. Gimmicks get old. It isn’t hate. Besides, as a real artist, you can’t live inside an echo-chamber where everyone is constantly agreeing and supporting everything you say and do. There is always room for improvement in everybody.

          • H

            Jamesy, mate. Check the definition of vitriol….you might improve your vocab,eh? +wink+ I understand the theme of your point, sir, I do, but the English language is a funny old thing, and your definition of ‘simple constructive criticism’ seems to be a hunk of a difference to mine. I’m not looking to pick apart your choice of words, rather our fellow DD fan above. We are entitled to our opinions, but propositions that ‘80% of AP fan-base could be classified as extremely needy people’ and that the director of AP’s films was burning one down, don’t depict the voice of someone looking out for the best interests of the artist. Yes, there is always room for improvement, and in terms of expressing a constructive and valuable opinion, our friend above could certainly take your advice. I hope, at least, we are in agreement on this.

          • James

            Sounds more like you want people to always kiss her butt. Haha.


        • Abigail Rose

          If you’re going to veer away from the original point based on you wanting Amanda to hear your opinion, wouldn’t a well-worded and well-constructed private letter to her be more efficient? Or would you prefer to just be another person whining on the internet?

          I’m not trying to have a dig, just giving you some advice. I’m a little sore that the DD broke up too – Viggie is a GENIUS and they had such amazing chemistry onstage. And I do miss the more raw, punky-cabaret thing they had going on. But I always leave it down to the artist to decide what to do and I’m perfectly fine with what Amanda is doing. Amanda has moved me in ways I can’t quite explain and helped me through difficult times in my life; I’m pretty comfortable with her taking a different route in her career. At the end of the day, she’s still helping me, I still feel free to agree or disagree with some things she says (I’m not ENTIRELY bound by loyalty, I have my own mind) and I have a brilliant mind-stimulating time reading her blogs which make me think about things and allow me to converse with other really intelligent people such as yourself.

          Sorry this hasn’t been the same for you.

          Hope you have a lovely day :)

    • juniper blue

      Heaven … it is okay to ask for help and sometimes we need help so that we can go on to help others. Also, letting others help us when we are in need can be a gift to them as well.

      • Tanya Speed

        learning this the hard way. thankful I have friends that will come and kick my ass if I stay silent too long.

    • maiamadness

      I used to ask for help a lot… And then I sort of stopped. Lately, I haven’t asked for help even when I’ve desperately needed it, because it’s felt like no one would listen. With my music, I know all these people who are in the business and who probably COULD help me, but I’m afraid to ask, because when I’ve asked for help in the past all I’ve gotten back is silence. It feels like everyone around me is waiting for me to stop deluding myself that I can actually do this and just get a real job. That’s painful, and makes asking hard.

    • Tanya Speed

      same here. still.

    • longstofly

      Yes. That. To me, the most frightening part of asking for help was the fear that no one would answer. What if I asked for help from the bottom of my heart and no one answered? That was the scariest thing because it took so much vulnerability to ask. The fear that I could ask and not get an answer often kept me from speaking up when I needed it most.

      • hyenamoon

        I struggle with feeling as though I don’t deserve help. I get stuck thinking that no one will help me. I tend to keep thinking that way even when I’m told otherwise. And yet, I’m often more than willing to help these same people when they need something. I just don’t anticipate the help in return when I need it. I have to logic myself into asking anyway, and ignore the scared part of me inside that is fearful no one will help. It’s gotten easier, but it’s still a slow process.

        • longstofly

          Yes, it really is a slow and often painful process and a lot of times it feels like I am moving backwards. I also deal with feeling that I don’t deserve help, even when I am happy to give it out freely to others because THEY deserve it. Sometimes you do just have to logic yourself into doing it and keep on doing it until it becomes “normal” to think you deserve the help and that it is okay to ask for it.

    • Andrea Probert

      This was my instinctive response when I read the question too. Something I’m doing my best to ask for more often

    • Michelle Hartz

      I agree, I wish I would ask for help more. I was brought up in a household where asking for help was a sign of weakness, sometimes even an offense that needed to be punished.

      Now, my husband is a disabled veteran, so I’m the strong one. There are days when he can’t support my emotional needs because he has his own to deal with. But still, I can’t bring myself to ask my friends for help, and I suffer in silent misery. I bottle it all up, and if I’m lucky, after he’s asleep, I’ll cry myself to sleep.

      There are days I am screaming, “Somebody help me!” in my head, but never say it out loud. Instead, I check Facebook, and I check Twitter, and I hope that someone notices me.

    • Someone.

      I can really relate to this. I’m still in school and ever since I started lessons I’ve had a problem with asking for help. This led to me falling behind in class at times and because I never asked for help everyone thought I was fine. Then I’d get really bad grades. I never asked because it made me feel weak and stupid and I thought other kids would laugh at me. I do ask for help more often now, but it still feels humiliating.

    • Jacqueline

      Asking for help takes courage. Asking for anything takes courage. I wish I’d had the courage years ago to ask.

  • M

    I wish I had asked for understanding.

    I would explain – no problem – but I wouldn’t express how I wish they would try to understand. Because it felt self-centered. For if they didn’t understand, that was their perspective and it wasn’t my place to discredit their perspective. Ego might have also been a factor, because asking for understanding implied I was difficult to understand. A difficult person. And we can’t have that.

  • MissCloud

    I wish i’d asked somebody to make it stop hurting, back when people might have wanted to listen. Now, years later, its harder to fight for their attention.

  • Félix Marqués

    As someone poor who already spent as uch money as I can this month on buying music directly from artists, I’m torrenting the new NIN record SO HARD. :D Just to check it out.

  • bamahippie1

    More stories. I wish I’d asked my grandfather to tell me more about the cars he raced when he was young. I wish I’d asked the girl I bought milk from why she got the tattoo on her fingers and why she was working extra to pay to have it removed. It said LOVE once. Stories should be easy to ask for. But fear can stop you from asking for anything at all. I’m afraid it will seem like I’m prying. I’m afraid I’m already supposed to know your history and I’ve just forgotten it. I’m afraid if I ask you for your story it will bind me to you somehow, and is that what I want?

    • hallelujah_hippo

      Definitely more stories! When I hear people’s stories, where they’re from, what they’re doing now, what they think about things; it reminds me how wonderful and unique and amazing the world is and how most people are decent and interesting and cool.

    • laura hodges

      Me too. I wish I’d asked my grandmother about her life before she died, whether she was involved in woman’s suffrage and more about her childhood.

    • Janelle

      Exactly this, from my grandparents and great-grandmother when they were all still alive, and taken one step further so I could write them down so all of us in the family could have them forever.

    • Hanno Smit

      wow, yes the ultimate question is “is that what I want?”. Freud said the healthy mind is slightly egotistic. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Fear is what keeps us alive every day.

      The fear of not being able to preserve your conciousness (dying or its equivalent) in this soup of human connection we move around in every day.

      In the end it comes down to chasing the endorphin high – and the most effective way of doing that is having intelligent, mutually beneficial, loving relationships with the consciousnesses around you, this includes friends, lovers, family, and FANS.

      SO YES, fear inhibits us, but perhaps you are right, perhaps the optimal amount of fear has not kept track with the increase in our intelligence over the last few thousand years of evolution. PERHAPS WE SHOULD BE LESS AFRAID TO ASK!

  • stepan trofimovic

    I wish I’d asked one of my best friends (and generally one of the most important people in my life) when I felt I needed his support, instead of choosing not to and then finding myself angry at him for not doing anything. At a time when I already felt powerless against my own feelings (“I am a failure and will never be able to do anything about it”, mainly), asking anyone for help (and especially people who were close to me) meant losing even more power, and I couldn’t stand that. My main fault, I suppose, lay in not asking, but I made things worse by somehow expecting something in return even if I didn’t ask. I became aggressive and needy. I lost some friends for this, but the main thing I regret is the strain it put on the relationship with this particular friend – both because he’s really one of the people I love the most, and because now I again find myself unable to speak with him sincerely about my feelings, since I feel I don’t deserve it for being an idiot and hurting him in the first place.

    • Félix Marqués

      Just saying: if he appreciates you, he will probably like to know what te hell was really happening. And when it’s all solved you’ll feel like less of a fool, because explaining was the wise and noble thing to do, and what he deserves.

      • stepan trofimovic

        First and foremost: thank you for writing this.
        Actually, I’ve already explained to him what was happening at the time, and this has helped us both to regain trust in each other. Dealing with my own guilt over my behaviour is harder, though, and I don’t think I would be able to fully apologize to him for what I did (that would mean that I think I deserve to be forgiven, and I don’t) – not yet, at least. I’m trying to learn from the past and not start another cycle of not acknowledging my feelings-being needy-feeling guilty and so on.

        • Félix Marqués

          That is great. Congratulations. I’d also say that deciding whether you are worthy of forgiveness is also up to him, but I don’t want to sound like I know what you have to do. I hope you can solve the situation. Solving complicated situations and bringing people closer is one of the greatest joys there is. Good luck!

  • still hurting

    I wish I’d asked him why we were still in a relationship a full year before he ended it without warning. I had been unhappy for quite some time and while it felt satisfying to watch him reel with hurt as I told him I wasn’t surprised, and, well, all right, it was a cheap victory in the long run. Part of me optimistically hopes that we might have been able to salvage our relationship if I’d asked him earlier. But perhaps I wouldn’t have wasted that year feeling miserable only punctuated by brief moments of our original happiness.

  • guest

    While thinking about my answer to this question, I realized that, at least for me, the reason you sometimes back off from asking for something isn’t because you’re scared of hearing “No” rather than “Yes”, but it’s more about how you think people may perceive you simply for going ahead and asking. It’s the build-up to the asking, which can sometimes make us assume that the answer is already set, or that the time is not right, or that someone may say “How dare you?!”, so we give up on our question.
    I’ve recently become so much more of an asker and it’s like a breath of fresh air just to go for it. There’s nothing to lose.

    Maybe for me, the time was not right to ask my big question. But for god’s sake, sometimes there’s just no time to have perfect timing. Not when you wished you’d asked someone for the truth about how they feel about you. I fell in love with my best friend once upon a time and was too much of a coward to tell him, even though it seemed almost obvious that he’d reciprocate. I moved away. He got a girlfriend…nay, an ex-girlfriend, back in his life. I still don’t know what my answer would have been, and even though I’m fully moved on and happy, I still look back on my past self and call myself silly for not stepping up to the task.

    It’s only when you don’t know what could have been that you notice how important asking is.
    Ramble over and out.

    • hallelujah_hippo

      I definitely find that it’s my own perception of what people might think of me for asking that stands in the way of me actually asking for things that I need. I’m also afraid that if they say ‘no’ and I’m disappointed about it, they will think I’m selfish and entitled and will want distance from me.

      • guest

        The thing is, even though it sometimes sucks, people are allowed to say “No”, which is what makes asking fine, and you are allowed to be disappointed if they do, which makes both asking and that potential “No” fine. If that makes sense? Not that it’s ideal to be bummed about something, but hopefully, knowing your answer is better than beating yourself up over never even trying to get your questions out into the world? x

    • longstofly

      Absolutely agree on the fear of the timing not being right and that preventing you from asking. For me, it was always an issue with feeling like my question would be a bother or add to the person’s already high stress load even though the question was so important. I had this happen recently, and I DID decide to ask despite all of my fears that it was the wrong time and it may have saved a very important friendship. If I had decided not to ask for the reasons above I might have let the friendship continue to fade away. Not to mention the response I got was beyond anything I could have ever expected (in a positive way.)

  • RStinn

    Why. In many situations. So often, me (and pretty much everyone else in the world) accept a lot of things without questioning. But asking “why” is so important because nothing is just what it is. There are always reasons, and there are a lot of occasions in which simply asking “why” can help so much.

  • Bill Peschel

    I wish I had asked myself not to give a damn what anyone else thinks, just create. It’s killed more stories in me than letting them out to be rejected.

  • Erin

    I wish I had asked for respect. I didn’t and in the end I found myself begging for it instead, which is never going to work. I had to step back and say “You know what, either you’re going to respect me or I’m going to walk away from this friendship.” If I had asked (and been confident that I would receive) early on, maybe things would have been a lot better.

    • hyenamoon

      There was a random act of respect that a good friend bestowed upon me that made me realize how abusive the relationship I was in at the time was. I owe him more than I think he realizes.

      • Erin

        Sadly I was in this friendship for several years and only recently realized that rather than being ridiculous, the things I was asking for were signs of basic respect. It was really hard to walk away, but the right thing to do. You were very lucky to have that friend!!

        • hyenamoon

          I am grateful for him every day.

          He used to blame himself and feel bad for breaking up my marriage. I’m still not sure he understands that he saved me from my marriage through that one simple act. An act that, to him, is as basic as breathing. He seems to at least have come to terms with what happened. I hoped someday he understands just what he did for me.

        • hyenamoon

          I am thankful for him every day.

  • Becca

    I cant really think of anything off the top of my head… but mostly because i know that life is shit, and even when i did ask (for help, or company, or love, or even kindness) nobody paid attention. Nobody cares.

    So i wish i could ask now….ask the whole world…. to pay a little more attention to the people around them who may be trying to ask but have stopped believing any help will come.

    • OceanWave

      You can ask! You are asking now! :) people read your comment and maybe what you wrote resonates with them and they might look at their environment differently, more carefully. I sincerely hope you will find people who care. Sometimes people seem distant, careless, but sometimes they might just surprise you. So just try, it’s always worth a shot. ;)

    • sometiems_kate

      ask again. The people who hear are sometimes so surprising, ask

    • longstofly

      I also had to learn the hard way that I was simply asking the wrong people. That sometimes even my closest friends weren’t always going to be the people who were able to support me best through my depression. It was a shitty lesson and for a while all my relationships felt all weird and out of place. Like the natural order of everything was disturbed. But my point is, I agree with the others to keep asking. Like the other person said the people who hear are sometimes surprising. It may not be the people you expect. I can speak from first hand experience on that one.

  • Micah Gray ™

    Let me preface this comment with a short (lengthy paragraph) story of what happened at the Starbuck’s drive-thru yesterday. I had just drove from Denver to help my parents move from the barren land of North Dakota to the more mountainous, but also barren land of Wyoming. When we arrived we were tired and I was beginning to dread the entire situation, but then something simple and astounding happened. When we ordered our drinks and pulled up the window to pay the barista informed us that the women in front of us had paid for our drinks. This simple action refocused my entire outlook. I was delighted that a stranger was willing to pay for my Iced Vanilla Soy Chai Tea Latte. In turn it inspired me to pay for the person in the vehicle behind me. I told the barista that if the woman returned to tell her that I thank her for being so generous. The barista then informed me that the lady that paid for my drink had actually been inspired by the person in the vehicle in front of her that had paid for her drink.

    What?! Paying it forward or in this case backwards all the way back through the Starbuck’s drive-thru?!

    I say all that to say, that those people helped me. They helped me and they helped me help others. I wish that I would have asked for help in learning to help others and using my entire life to help others through ALL of my pleasures and all of my pursuits. I want to learn that helping isn’t a curse, but a blessing. Helping helps me. Karma? What goes around comes around? Is it selfish? Yes. The best kind of selfish there is.

    • guest

      You just summed up a lot of my own thoughts there :) Did your latte taste extra delicious that day?

      • Micah Gray ™

        It did. =) In reality it probably tasted as good as it always does, but I definitely appreciated the taste more than I usually do.

    • AnnaMariah Nau

      I heard of a similar story shared by the barista in which the pay it forward continued through over 100 customers…just imagine how many people were uplifted by that simple act.

      • Micah Gray ™

        That is powerful! The power of a simple act of kindness, of helping, is something that truly does echo through humanity and especially back to the person giving help.

    • revsparker

      My good friend, Catherine Ryan Hyde, wrote the book *Pay It Forward.* Sometimes when I get discouraged that anything I do matters, I remember that she wrote the book that was in her head and didn’t have any idea what the consequences would be. Now I hear the phrase “Pay it Forward” all the time–in the media, it people’s conversations–and I realize that before she took the risk of writing the story, that phrase did not exist. The CONCEPT did not exist. She created that. And now it’s a thing with real consequences in the world–not the free coffee, but that the coffee tasted better and the world seemed less mean and your attitude shifted. She started the chain of events that made that happen. By not being afraid to write and share the story in her head. And it reminds me to go do the same.

      • Micah Gray ™

        One simple action causes a chain reaction. This begs a different question. Do we know how important we are to those we’ve never met? It all goes back to the essence of truly appreciating existence and understanding the enormity of being apart of the whole and how we are in a community here on this planet whether we like it or not and to stand alone is to stand in ignorance because we’re not alone. We’re very much together. It’s just how we embrace it that matters.

    • Sarah Beirne

      What a lovely story! You just made me smile, it’s wonderful to be reminded about how kind humans out there can be.

      • Micah Gray ™

        I just smiled because you smiled and appreciated human compassion. That just makes me really happy. Compassion amongst the craziness is gold.

  • Elizabeth Roberts

    For admission to different universities, ones further from home. More importantly, for what I needed from the people in my life, even when I didn’t believe they could or would understand or be able to provide it- I wish I’d given my parents, especially my mom, the chance to try to understand more often when I was living at home. By not asking for her to support me and love me in the way I needed, I didn’t even give her the chance to try. And once I did start to ask, she started trying and that makes me wish I’d had the courage to ask sooner.

  • Ingrid

    I wish I had asked for help when I was younger. I was a lost teenage. I felt like I did not belong and I was made to feel that way. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I felt like I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulder but I now realise I didn’t have to. I realise now that there were so many people who would have held my hand if I had just reached out. If only I had said “I’m lost, please light my way.” I guess I was just too young and shy to ask.

  • JenniferEHudgens


    I was never really taught how to be a person, or woman, or writer. I was taught how to be a victim. I am almost 35 and am still fumbling my way through lessons most people learn as children or young adults. It’s a sort of ache I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    • Becca

      I know how that feels. Sending love xx

    • Lola

      I totally know how you feel. And the ache you speak of is that almost realization that my best years are behind me. :(

      • hyenamoon

        I ‘lost’ about ten years of my life to my Ex. The dreaded abusive Ex who seemed to plop me into a sort of status where I didn’t evolve as a person for a very long time. My mind did an interesting thing with that time, though. I’ve forgotten it. I perceive myself as 10 years younger than I am. I know my age. I’m not fooling myself in that sense. I don’t say I’m younger than I am. But there’s something going on where I feel I should be about 10 years younger than I am. I also don’t tend to think much on that time. It’s all very readily faded away into the past. I don’t think of myself as the ‘person who went through all that’. I just sort of gloss over it. I’m the person I am now. I don’t look back. I don’t let that time define me or who I am. Yes, it influenced me. Those experiences helped shape me, for better or for worse, but I’ve also continued down this path of life well beyond that era of my life.

        I’ve also sort of done this ‘glossing over’ with much of my childhood. A lot of it sucked.

        Of course, sometimes I think about the age I am, how little I feel I’ve done, and I get scared. Time is marching on, whether I recognize it or not.

        There are many things I wish I had done when I was younger, in a way, but most of them I can still do.

    • hyenamoon

      I hear you. I don’t know if what I was taught was to be a victim, but I certainly wasn’t taught how to be a person. I suppose I was used, is the best way I can think of to put it. Which may indeed be being a victim.

    • fallen_woman

      Yes. This my own response (still being formulated in my head) is very much in this line. I’m not suffering at this particular moment, but it does feel like I’ve wasted a whole, WHOLE lot of time.

    • amynoamy

      Yes I totally agree. I too am 35 and have had to learn how to be the person I was always meant to be, by coming to terms with how I didn’t get what I needed to make that transition to be ‘a grown up’. It took me longer, and I’m still learning, those lessons and becoming who I am. It’s almost a grieving process for not having the childhood you wish you’d have had. I feel that ache too, but also incredibly empowering to realise I have choice over who I am. Four years of therapy has helped!

    • Ponto

      Thank you. What you shared just made me feel that I’m not alone.

      • JenniferEHudgens

        I’m glad you don’t feel alone anymore. I understand that feeling all too well. You are sooo much more than alone. I hope you know how vital and beautiful you are.

    • Hanno Smit

      yes! I often feel like I lost the manual to how my mind works / is supposed to work and wish that someone would just send me a copy.

      Please write down a copy of your manual so I may learn from it?

  • Sharon

    I wish I’d asked for help – I never did, it was only when I came well and truly off the rails that people stepped in, because it was then OBVIOUS to them I needed help, and I wouldn’t ask for it.
    I struggled for far too long whilst my mental health deteriorated. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that I can see that it was this idea that asking for help was a weakness that stopped me from approaching one of the people who love me and just asking for some sort of help, support, whatever.

    Why does asking = guilt?

  • Zachary Cohn

    Support. Always support. I grew up with only one (emotionally abusive) friend in my life, and that taught me that I had to handle everything alone because I couldn’t trust the people around me to help, or wasn’t worthy of aid. A few years later I realize that OF COURSE I can rely on my friends for support, as they do on me, but it’s taken a lot of freely-given love from them to silence the voice that says “I don’t deserve help.”

  • Coraline

    I should ask people to convince me i’m not a monster.

  • Rosie

    Wish I had asked my other half to lend me money to retake driving test. 8 years & 2 kids later still not retaken. Pride stopped me & fear of appearing weak.

  • Bex

    I wish I’d asked Amanda for a hug after the concert instead of worrying too much if I’d be bothering her because of shitty anxiety issues

    • longstofly

      I wanted to ask her for a hug, too. I was almost too terrified to even speak to her which is ridiculous, but that’s the way it was. I was happy that I managed to ask her to write out the lyric I wanted as a tattoo in her handwriting but I really REALLY wish I could have asked for that hug. It was a time in my life when I really could have used one, too.

    • kaypea

      me too

  • a sarah

    In high school I asked a guy out just before the summer holidays. When we came back to school it was, bar some initial awkwardness, like it hadn’t happened. Neither of us brought it up or did anything about it. Years later, from being friends to staying in touch to being best friends, I FINALLY gathered my heart in my hands and asked again. Only to find that he too had been trying to gather up the courage to ask me.

    I wish I’d asked sooner. I wish I’d asked after that summer. Because he’s one of the best things in my life and we missed out on so much time we could have spent together. But then would we be the same people, both individually and together, that we are now? I guess they do say be careful what you wish for. But it doesn’t stop me wishing I’d asked for things that I didn’t. Why is that?

  • Nikki

    I wish I’d ask for support when I’m in the midst of a depression. Hard to do when you’re that low that even asking for anything small (Such as ‘please turn the light out’.) seems bigger than it actually is and you feel as though you’re asking too much already just by existing.

    I also wish I’d ask more for help. We seem programmed to think that asking for help is a weakness, and we’re suppose to be indestructible super beings who are able to leap buildings and not get cut by cruel words.

    • Julian

      You mean I’m not bullet-proof?!

      I know these feels.

    • Ruan Peat

      I tend to think of what is the worst and can I cope, that way I am suprized when I ask for help and get it. Practice in a mirror, and ask yourself for support, you may find it, if not whats the worst, you look daft and have had a laugh, no one else would know.

  • Serenbyw

    I wish I had asked, “What is the matter?”

    Seriously now… I wish I had asked for a bite of the muffin I bought for a friend a few weeks ago, I wasn’t very hungry but I still would have liked to taste it, sometimes I deny myself things out of spite against myself.

    I wish I had asked for more hugs from my friends, and for more of their time and attention, because now so many of them are gone from my life, maybe they would have stayed if I had asked for more?

    I wish I had asked for directions every time I was trying to find my way through strange cities. It’s always so tiring, yet I always insist on figuring it out on my own. And I really suck at reading maps.

    I wish I just asked more, because the good stories happen when I DO ask.

  • AnnaMariah Nau

    This totally summed it up for me

    asking = trust
    begging = fear.

    Asking comes from a place of trust in yourself and your ability to manifest and make things happen and in other people to respond.
    Begging comes from lack and fear that you’ll never….they won’t….you cant.

  • nicka

    More from myself. But I will start asking for that now. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Julian

    I wish I had asked clearly for help instead of letting my fear of how people might perceive me win.

    For me, a lot of it came down to prioritizing the needs of others (or what I thought they needed – what a can of worms that can be!) over my own. Growing up in an emotionally abusive household with a special needs sibling will do that to you, especially when you’re remarkably adept at putting on your game face and convincing everyone you’re fine. I always assumed that my younger sister’s need of significant care-taking, or my older sister’s need of reassurance and confidence boosting superseded my own need for listening and protection. Really, we all needed some of the same things, and none of us really got it.

    Learning to ask for help, and how to ask for other things that I need, has become an act of self-love and self-care for me. It’s a lesson I struggle with every day, but I feel a little bit less guilty & selfish every time. Proud of myself, even.

  • Casey

    Information. I always carried this insidious belief that other people knew how to do basic things (going to the bank, using a drive through, mailing a letter) by magic. Somewhere they were blessed with this secret knowledge while I was left teaming with anxiety in my car, unable to force myself into the bank to try to open an account and deposit my paycheck. I never needed someone to do it for me, I just needed to know how to do it in the first place, and I was too terrified of looking stupid to even ask how. If I would have just given up a little bit of that fear I imagine I would have done a lot of things better and sooner.

    • FloraFairfield

      This! I wish I’d just asked for clarity, rather than being so stressed about looking like I knew what I was doing– when I very much did not. It’s the most basic stuff that’ll leave you crazy too: I can’t ask where to go in the library, I should be self sufficient and already know that! Or how to use a can opener! I’m grinning now, thinking about how foolish I was to freak out about it, but in the moment your lack of pride can leave you kind of raw.

      • Laura

        OMG, the can opener was mine too!

  • Shawna

    I wish I would of asked my mom to stop abusing pain pills. We all knew she needed to stop, I supported her when she tried. Helped her to find help. Picked her up when she fell back down, but, I never ASKED her to stop. I wonder if it would of made if a difference if I did.

  • Myres

    I wish I’d asked some people who crossed my life “please, could you tell me if 1. you really hate me like I seem to get from the way you treat me and 2. if it’s true, what is the reason behind your hate?”
    When these people disappeared from my life, sometimes, I convinced myself it was my fault, feeling like shit and losing self-esteem. Sometimes I convinced myself it was totally *their* fault, feeling self-assured and never questioning my deeds.

  • asleepmanyyearsinthewoods

    I wish I’d asked myself what I really want and what need to do to get it – a long time ago. And that I had dared to take the answers that appeared completely seriously.

  • jools

    I wish I’d asked my grandmother… SO many things while she was still alive. I didn’t realise this until she’d been dead for ten years.

  • Jessica T

    I wish I asked for a hug, every time I needed one instead of believing it made me look weak.

    I wish I’d asked for the attention I needed as a teenager and young adult. My sister may have had issues, but I deserved to be seen too.

    I wish I’d asked for my best friend to acknowledge there was an issue before it led to months of
    uncomfortable silences.

    I wish I’d asked for that guy’s phone number. We had a good connection, but I didn’t want to be too “forward”.

    I wished I’d asked for a more creative role in my company instead of staying strictly in sales. I don’t hate sales, but I don’t want to do this forever.

    What I really wish is that I didn’t worry about perception nearly as much as I do!

  • thisisagift

    I wish I’d asked for an explanation, so I’d have known back then that it wasn’t really my fault, and I wouldn’t be where I am now.

  • Kim

    I actually wish I’d asked my Dad to tell me what he was doing when he was writing a letter this one time. it turned out to be his suicide note..

    • Pauline Da Conceiçao

      I don’t dare voting that up. It’s so personal, so raw. I’m sorry. I know it’s a totally useless thing to tell you, but I’m sorry.

      • Kim

        it’s not useless, I do appreciate it. thank you.

    • fallen_woman

      I am so sorry you’ve had to go through something like that.

  • YaiAou

    I wish I had asked for a hug instead of silently waiting and letting friend disappoint me when I needed comfort.

  • ‘Annette Fowler

    I asked the universe, god, what have you, that i would find a man(i know being a gal on her own can be fun, empowering, exciting and all that, but it can get lonely too after many years!) who would treat me the way i wanted to be treated, who was noble and honorable and who would stay and love me for me and, to voice my own insecurities here, would think that i was “enough” in all ways. i found him, and he is all that and more. I wish i had asked that he be healthy though. i never know what each day will bring, most are good, even great, some are scary. I wish i had asked that same universe that my daughter not be bullied or have epilepsy or feel so alone in this world. when we are asking or wishing there is always that monkeys paw, isn’t there? but i would not trade either of them for anything they are both wonderful people and they bring me such joy. as for your blog there is only one difference between kickstarters and selling an lp, cd, what have you, and that is that the money just goes to the artist instead of the record co. when you sell a cd you are asking someone to buy it, you have gone to considerable lengths to make that request. neither is begging. the customer pays either way, they are just different avenues. as for the thank you anyway, or go fuck yourself, you say “thank you anyway” to someone you respect, you say “go fuck yourself” someone you dont. I have been a nin fan from the start (god, i just dated myself there!) but i dont think he respects the audience, and time may have some blows in store for mr reznors considerable pride (ziggy stardust? please!)

  • Joshua Hostetter

    There are two things in my life I wish I could go back and ask.

    The first is I wish I could ask my mother to let me fight my own fights and deal with my failures myself. In a suburban military family, dad was gone all the time and mother was… overbearing (controlling is almost a good word as well.) I was the typical angsty teenager, discovering I was angry at the world and angry at my home life and angry at everything that lived (Which later developed into bipolar. My manic rages consumed my life for a few years before finally cooling off and settling into a comfy see-saw of emotion.). Instead of ask to be my own person I let her make my decisions and handle all of my problems. To this day I’m scared of confrontation (I shake as if left in the snow for an hour.) and I push off the important things that need doing (Like telling my grandfather I love him before he died or taking a picture for the house insurance so they don’t drop our coverage.). In the back of my mind I always think, ‘someone is gonna bail me out of this. Things always work out in the end.’

    My second wish is to ask for help when I was turning into an alcoholic. Though I’ve since dealt with it and learned to control my drinking through routine and willpower (Though I still drink heavily) I don’t know what changed in me that allows me to put down the bottle when I’ve had enough. I don’t know why I can make myself believe I don’t want a drink when my body craves it and tortures me to get some. I’m happy with where I’m at now in my life, I drink, but not every day. I drink, but in moderation that leaves me hangover free the next day and coherent throughout the night.
    But my brother in law is also an alcoholic. He blacked out and flipped his car not too long ago, could have killed himself and others. This was the third massive problem his drinking had caused. He’s been living with us for almost three years in a very nice situation till this year. Now, not even a month after he crashed his car he’s only coming by when he wants to get drunk. He shows up and locks himself in his room and drinks til we hear him crashing into walls when he tries to stand.

    I never asked for help, he is. He’s asking me and I don’t know how to help him. I fought my way through my own addiction (unsuccessfully to some), but that approach isn’t working for him. I wish I had asked for help so I would know how to help him.

  • madlycan

    forgivness and a second chance.
    paitience or more (inner)strength.

  • Heather

    I wish I asked to spend more time with people I love instead of assuming they’re too busy to ask.

  • Zack G

    When my mom died, and everyone in the family kept telling me that I was the one who was obviously hurt most by it, I wish I’d asked them to go fuck themselves and feel their own loss.

    As a student I wish I’d gotten into the habit of asking questions and thinking critically. It’s scary to me how many college classrooms are dead silent, how hard the professor has to work to get ANYTHING out of ANYONE, all because we have no idea HOW to ask or even WHAT TO ASK FOR.

  • Greg

    I was very much inspired by Nardwuar’s TED Talk all about how he “ASKS” people for interviews and that’s how he got interviews Kurt Cobain, Lady GaGa, etc. He inspired me to work up the courage to ask AFP to be on my podcast (eventually…). If she says no, I’ll understand, say thank you, I still love your music. I’ll be proud to have asked!

  • SamUndomiel

    I wish I had asked for time from the people who love me instead of trying to live my life alone, without guidance and without rest and comfort. It’s a silly, prideful thing to do, and it may be an even greater blow to one’s pride to have people try to sit you down and talk about things against your will.

  • Brianne H

    I wish I’ve asked for a shoulder to lean on when I’ve really needed it. Or the help I’ve needed to drag myself out of my own darkness. I wish I’ve asked for people when I really need them. I guess the general thing I wish that I have asked for is for people, and the comfort of having people.
    But asking is hard, it’s vulnerable, especially for things like that. Asking gives the chance for someone to say no, and that’s why we don’t. We don’t like hearing no. I sure as hell don’t.

  • Cara

    I wish I had asked how my sister is dealing mentally with her breast cancer, but didn’t dare, because I am not sure how to deal with it myself. And I don’t want to give her more hurt. I shaved her hair off this week.

    • Ally

      It’s not to0 late. Showing love is not giving more hurt. And everyone feels better when they feel less alone.

      • Cara


      • Cara

        I did ask and we talked about it a lot. It was heartbreaking and wonderful. She’s now done with the treatment and surgery and doing great!

  • AnnaMariah Nau

    The one common thread I see is most people regret what they didn’t ask for, not what they did ask for. It’s been a struggle to learn to ask – have I always gotten a Yes – No way – but each time it’s easier to ask and realize that I gave another person an opportunity to give to me. Some have been absolutely thrilled for that chance. Think about how you feel when someone asks you for something you Can do and you get a chance to step in and help.

    • guest

      Exactly. It’s not what you didn’t ask for…it’s that you didn’t ask.

    • Leya

      As a teacher, I must say, it’s all about telling the kids they can ASK. Just ask. If you don’t know something, if you have a question, a doubt, if you need help, if you’re in a situation you don’t know how to deal with, just ask. Please. I hope I’ll be able to do that even more this schoolyear : ask the kids to ask. Tell them it’s okay. It’s not embarrassing, it’s not a problem it does not define you as someone who doesn’t know shit. It’s OKAY TO ASK. (Just raise your hand first, thankyouverymuch)

      • AnnaMariah Nau

        I think that perhaps one of the best things as teachers, parents, grandparents, friends that we can do is encourage others to ask and let them know it doesn’t make them stupid, weak or lacking and that in fact it shows courage and resourcefulness.

      • SitsUnderWaterfalls

        That’s one thing that always got to me in school. Teachers would always be like, “It’s okay to ask!” but then they would get offended by my curiosity, especially if they didn’t know the answer. For instance, I am I very systemic/narrative learner, not so good at memorizing formulas and facts. So if I was being taught a fact, I would ask about the system. In 4th grade, we were learning about fractions, and I asked, “WHY does multiplying a fraction by its reciprocal equal 1?” I couldn’t piece it out in my head, and verbal explanations helped. But the teacher was like, “That’s just the rule.” When I persisted, she got pissed off and acted like I was stupid! And I assumed I was! I thought I was bad at math because my teacher couldn’t explain basic math concepts, she could only recite rules. I didn’t learn any math theory or enjoy math at all for *years* and I just stopped asking questions.

        Thank God for books, though. Eventually, on my own, I discovered math theory books like stuff by Morris Kline, which answered succinctly all the questions I’d been shamed for asking. Finally I realize I’m not “dumb” or bad at math at all, it’s actually one of my talents! Took me years though, so many wasted years.

  • Mark walsh

    How many of us ask for help when its too late and the help is less useful, or our need has escalated. So impartant to ask at the moment its needed, when it will be maximised.

  • Corri Lee

    I wish I’d asked asked for a little more honesty. For my entire life, everyone around me has tried to win me over with bullshit platitudes because they were too scared to try telling the truth. It took a long time for me to realise that it’s not me who’s the problem and that everyone else needs to go grow some balls.
    Don’t want to meet someone for coffee? Don’t make the date then stand them up and ignore their calls.
    Someone’s asked you what’s wrong but you don’t want to talk about it? Tell them that instead of lying about it and pretending to be fine.
    The world is full of denial and deception, and while it might feel like you’re protecting people at the time, you have no idea how much damage it can really do to them.
    Honesty. It’s not difficult. Sure as hell would have stopped me wasting time agonising over insignificant nothings and let me focus on the big somethings instead.

  • Victoria

    In trying to answer this question I discovered that everything I wish I had asked, I still can. There is nothing stopping me except fear. Fear always equals regret so I’m just going to start asking.

    • Shola Lee

      Yes, I came by a few of these too.

  • jools

    a lot of the stories on here are making clear to me why ‘the bed song’ resonates with so many; I’m sure many people here choke up at the line ‘I would have told you if you’d only asked me’

    • hyenamoon

      Too true. That song strikes such a chord with me. And reading these posts, it’s a little scary how many of us are all in the same boat, but never realize it.
      Why are we all so blind to each other? We put up all these walls and defenses and attitudes. And yet, I don’t know how to be vulnerable or respond to it most of the time. I just sit there like an idiot because I don’t know how to respond, other than maybe with a hug. A physical presence saying ‘I’m here, I understand’, because I can’t put that feeling into words.

    • longstofly

      Yes, this is exactly why “The Bed Song” resonates with me. That line kills me every time.

  • Vera

    Sometimes I see amazing people on the streets and I wished I’d asked to make a portrait of them. Because I am afraid of rejection and that they will think I am a freak. Which is not true. And I know it. But I am shy and afraid to hear no. But now I think about it – I must ask it next time.

  • guest

    It’s not what you didn’t ask for. It’s that you didn’t ask x

  • Lola

    I have asked for help many times. I am not ashamed of asking for help because I am sure of myself, my education and my value. But the truth is I always get politely turned down and then I am socially crucified just because I asked for, let’s say, a job. And I have been shunned and criticized so much just for asking for a job that I fear I am kind of broken now. I don’t think I have anyone left to ask for help. So… that’s my story. Even though I am going through the motions I still ask for help.

    Now… the difference between asking and begging. In my case, and it’s been my experience, people ask for help willing to help others (sort of a pay it forward kind of thing). When a person begs (as I perceive it) it’s mostly out of fear, anxiety and lack of confidence (a sort of trying to stay above “competition”).

    But what happens if a person asks for help and never gets any from anyone? Does the asking for help escalate to begging? Or does the person simply accept defeat? In my case, I haven’t given up. I keep asking for help with a smile on my face even though I know what people say about me behind my back. Mostly, I’m sorry for those people because if they asked for help once in a while their work wouldn’t be as shoddy as it is.

    And well… these are my thoughts on the matter based on my personal experiences.

  • printbegone

    Nothing. I wish

    • Pauline Da Conceiçao

      Then there are the things you don’t ask for because you already know they won’t be granted. Those hurt, and they’re so important sometimes…

  • hmobius

    I wished that I’d asked for vindication of my life’s choices, but then I read this: and I didn’t have to.

    • SitsUnderWaterfalls

      That’s such a cute comic!

  • Amelia E. Adler

    Everything. I am absolutely paralyzed every time I have to ask something of someone. It can be big or small, it can be life-changing or everyday and repetitive, but every time I have to ask I need to first take a breath and gather my courage. In three months I will be eligible for a raise in my job, a raise that – without false honesty – I think I truly deserve, but I’m *already* scared about the perspective of *asking* for that raise. And then every day something happens, like – I forgot to check my shift schedule for next week and had to text one of my colleagues to send it to me. You wouldn’t believe how much stress that little tiny fucking thing can cause.
    And it’s always the same. How to phrase it so that the person I’m asking doesn’t think I’m desperate or rude or that I’m trying to abuse our relationship by asking? That’s a recurring theme: I may ask things I need, but I will very rarely ask favors that I *want*, because I feel so *wrong* about abusing the relationship. Like, my roommate is a dentist, but I will go to the dentist in town and pay insane amount of money for a consultation my roommate could have given me for free in five minutes because I am afraid of abusing our relationship.

    I just… I wish I was better at asking. (And living. I suck at living. I prefer my books and shows and music and my own imagination. It’s safer there.)

  • Brianne H

    Though I’ve just posted about how I’ve wished I asked for the help that I’ve needed. Just having the question asked, and sit in my brain gave me the courage to post about how I need some help and support right now. So I would just like to extend a thank you for that.

  • more ubiquitous

    to be paid fairly for doing what i love, instead of being expected to do it for free because i love creating it….

  • Leya

    Some alone time. I wish I were able to just ask, nicely, politely, to be left alone. I grew up in a house with no doors (litterally. My father built the house and my bedroom and the bathroom were the only rooms with doors. Paper thin doors. You can’t really be ALONE in a house with no doors.) And now I’m a teacher, with very intense teenagers all around, teenagers with intense problems and big crisis and stuff… And I have a 2yo kid. And sometimes, I just go “GO FUCK YOURSELVES” on people and slam the doors and cry alone in the bathroom while listening to Leonard Cohen and feeling extra super guilty. And that’s when I think “Well, fuck ME. If only I’d asked to be left alone 3 days ago, just to process stuff.” So yeah. Being alone.

  • Becky Swales

    The one thing I always wished I’d asked for was help. When I finally found the courage to ask, no-one wanted to help me.

    • guest

      Don’t give up on asking that xxx

  • Tink

    Nothing. If I did, it would mean I live with regrets about the decisions I made for not asking. And I do not want to live in doubt or shame or whatever because of that.

    This is where I got with and without asking and I can’t wait to see where I’m going next!

  • Lady GS

    I wish i had asked myself why I did what I did, I wish I had asked myself honestly what I was doing in my life. I wish I had asked my therapist to recommend me to someone who could prescribe anti-depression medication earlier instead of sending myself to the hospital first.

  • Viviane

    Connection. Love. I wish I could say to people, “Hey, I really like and care about you, and I’d like to spend more time with you,” and not assume they’re going to assume that I’m a needy, lonely, weirdo.

    • Shola Lee

      Yes. I was trying to think of what I wish I’d asked and most of it boils down to this.

  • Rebecca

    I wish I’d asked my friends for their creative time when I could get it. I know they would have given it to me and I’d be so much further along as a person-who-makes-art if I had.

  • jennydecki


    I’ve been in so many situations where I found myself hoping, wishing, and internally pleading for someone to treat me the way I felt I deserved. I would cry out on the inside, “Notice me. Pay attention to my work. Talk to me like I matter. Don’t talk to me like I’m not here. Stop assuming I don’t know anything.” I gave so much mind-space to trying to figure out why they weren’t treating me like a person who deserves to be talked to. Why they made the choices they did. So much time wasted.

    I should have just fucking ASKED.

  • The Lord of Eltingville

    First, I’d like to commend Jamy on his finr taste in eyewear. I’m wearing the same pair of Persols as I type.

    It took me a lot longer than expected to answer the latest question. However, here goes: I wiah I’d asked my parents if I had been the son they wanted when my mother first found out she was pregnant–or at least been a good one that they were proud of.

    So, there you go…

  • Woodstock

    To use some words of one of your songs, I wish I’d asked my ex “what is the matter?” before it was too late

  • David Jackson

    For the first five grades I was in a different school every year. Always the new kid, I was always asking people to make friends. Always the outsider, I had few friends, and then the next move would come. I stopped asking. Another side of asking can be disappearing. It takes guts and wholeness to ask.

  • Gammelor Goodenow

    I wish I’d asked my soulmate to marry me.

  • Jacy Rush

    I wish I had asked my brother if he was okay more often. I wish I had asked for my mom’s respect for the both us. He’s 10 now, but has been shaped by her anger in a way that i was not. He doesn’t understand that she has deficiencies in her life that don’t reflect HIM. And he cannot fill them. I think he is hurting more than we know.

  • Maggie May

    You remind me of this era’s version of Sister Aimee Semple McPherson. You remember her, right? Sister Aimee was a pioneer in the use of modern media, especially radio, and was the second woman to be granted a broadcast license. She used the radio to draw on the growing appeal of popular entertainment in North America and incorporated other forms into her weekly sermons. Kind of like Twitter and this blog.

    She was one of the first who understood the term: We Are The Media.

    She would stand on a chair in some public place, and gaze into the sky as if intently observing something until an audience would gather around her. An awful lot like your 8 foot bride.

    She was always in need of raising money for her church, and was entangled in numerous scandals. She manipulated her followers into giving her money, more money than she could ever hope to raise for a whole lot of stupid, failed ideas.

    Anyway, Sister Amanda, I am pretty much done with you. You used to be DIY, with punk ethics but now it seems that you want nothing more than to scam your “followers” into giving you yet MORE money for more of your (failed) projects. After the utter failure of your kickstarter album, I can’t imagine why anyone would give you another single red cent.

    • Sharon

      I like the album. No… scrap that. I love the album. I think it’s great. So… not a failure as far as I’m concerned. Oh, but it wasn’t a commercial success? That’s your criteria? And this fits in with your love of punk ethics how, exactly?
      Sorry, this is off topic, but I’m a bit taken aback by that post.

      • Maggie May

        Punk ethics means not begging for money from your fans. Punk ethics means Do It Your Fucking Self. As for far as the album being a failure, Sister Amanda said it herself: “the album, while critically hailed by the magazines and papers and deeply loved by the fanbase, was a commercial disaster compared to everyone’s enthusiastic projections. it lost money.” How on earth could a 1.2 million dollar album LOSE MONEY? I am taken aback by the sheer audacity on Amanda’s part to try and justify her endless blegging by trying to put a TED spin on it.

        • revsparker

          Losing money isn’t the same as failure. You’re right that punk culture was very much “DIY”–but no one did it alone. There was constant support, including financial support, being shared within the punk “tribe.” There was a LOT of asking going on.

          I have no idea why you’re so bitter and I have to say that I’ve never seen a bitter person succeed. So far, every bitter person I’ve met has been a failure.

    • Joshua Hostetter

      That ‘failed’ album helped my wife come to terms with the death of her uncle and helped a close friend of mine make a decision to not kill himself. It may not have been a commercial success but something’s success is far more than the number of units moved.

  • Sparrow

    I wish I’d asked for the part of MC. Being a Kit Kat girl was really fun and awarding, but if I’d only been brave enough to say “Um, I know that traditionally the MC is male, but it’s one of my favourite music theatre characters and I’ve always wanted to give it a try,” then I would have discovered, before it was too late, that the director was looking for a female MC. That when she said, during rehearsal, “Man, you would have been a great MC”, she was thinking “Why didn’t we cast her?”. Or maybe she thought “Why didn’t you say something during auditions?”

    I didn’t ask. I didn’t take a risk that carried little actual risk. So I didn’t receive either. And now I have to live with the knowledge that the opportunity may never come my way again.

  • NativeWit

    What do I wish I’d asked for? What a great question. I wish I knew my answer. :)

    Jokes aside, like so many others, my answer is about help. But for me, I think it’s not that I didn’t ask for help when I needed it – but that I wish I’d asked the ‘right’ people for help when I needed it. I asked the ‘wrong’ people, and kept myself trapped in a bad emotional feedback loop for quite sometime longer than was good or necessary. Sometimes you can’t see where you are.

    Let me explain what I mean by ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, since those are words I don’t really like and concepts I’m not sure *really* exist.

    ‘Right’ would have meant people who were compassionate, and willing and able to suspend their personal agendas because they had my best interest at heart, whereas ‘wrong’ here means a few people who abused relationships of power and had alternative agendas that I didn’t see at the time. They weren’t ‘bad’ people; and they were people I loved very much – people who I see now were also trapped in their own bad emotional feedback loops that made it impossible for them to have been able to give what I’d wanted and needed; I wish I’d been able to ask clearly back then – to have known what it was that I truly wanted and needed.

    Maybe that’s it — that I wish I’d known what it was that I’d really meant to ask for; what it was that I was afraid to admit I wanted and needed from other people. (Luckily, I eventually asked one of the ‘right’ people to help me see the things I was missing and that’s how I started to figure this out.)

    Thanks for asking, Amanda. Happy writing.

    (And, by the way, now I wish I had a book doula. I’ve just typed the 46,581th word of a blighted hand-written first draft, and have more labor still to go. May all book births out there be caught by loving hands.)

  • Elsa Brown

    Everything I let go by because my anxiety kept me from asking.

    • Courtney Powers

      I agree with this. My anxiety gets the best of me 9 times out of 10 and it sucks.

    • longstofly

      Yes, I often have the same problem. Even with asking something that I completely deserve an answer to.

  • indeciSEAN

    I wish I’d asked for help (many times).

    And I wish I’d asked ___ what we could’ve done – what I could’ve done for us – before it started to hurt so much.

    • revsparker

      In a way you summed up everything people are saying here: I wish I’d asked for help and/or I wish I’d offered to help.
      I hope the hurt eases.

      • indeciSEAN

        Thank you. Me too.

  • Barbie Stoeckle

    A chance.

  • lentower

    I wish i could talk with my grandfather.

  • Laura

    I wish I’d asked about people, like my grandparents because when they died and I was at their funeral I realised I didn’t know them at all.

  • Kate S.

    I wish I’d asked for clarity. I have had many moments in which I don’t know what I expect of the world or what the world expects of me, and sometimes that’s okay. But sometimes I want to know the details.

  • Janelle

    I started seeing a therapist almost three weeks ago after a super shitty year & things I’ve commented on before around here, as well as years off and on thinking, “Damn, I should really see somebody.”

    In the course of reading these past two blogs, I realized that basically what I did when I e-mailed my wonderful new therapist a few weeks ago to make an appointment was ask him for help. It’s basically what I did in his office during my first visit, too. He said, “If I had a magic wand that could fix everything, what would you want it to do?” and all I said was to make me deal with shit better. And in my own way, once again, that was me basically asking him to help me. I should’ve asked for that sooner, from either him or another professional I could’ve seen earlier in my life, but I also should’ve asked it–and tons of other questions–of other people in my life. I might not have needed to see him–or needed him less–had I just asked people what was wrong, why they were doing/saying certain things to/about me, what they wanted. I should’ve at least asked to be respected and left alone–which could be the same thing, in this case–and left to peacefully go my own way for my own good. I should’ve asked for help and support from friends and family, although I know what I’ve been going through emotionally has been rough enough that I still would’ve needed to see that therapist, bringing us back full circle.

    Even now I almost feel like this is all weakness, but in the end, I know I’m doing what I need to do for myself. Asking for help needs to be easier and more acceptable.

    • NativeWit

      Therapy = good. It can be a long road, but its strength that takes you through it, not weakness. Hang in there.

  • Cori

    I wish that I had asked my lovers to stay on nights I really needed them. I wish I had the courage to ask for help when my mind was weak and I needed someone to hold me tight. It’s hard to ask, to admit that you are vulnerable.

  • Naomi

    My life has been defined by the choices I have made based upon what I thought was expected of me. If I had taken the time to ask, I would have discovered that the people who’s approval I sought cared only about my happiness and the expectations I projected upon them were not theirs. I wish I had asked rather than presumed.

  • JanaUhrich

    Time. More time to do the things I wanted to do well.

  • Pauline Da Conceiçao

    Woa, I’m not so sure about that one. Such a tiny question, and yet.

    …There’s not much I wish I’d asked for. I’m not a people person, so most of the time I can do without asking for anybody’s…what ? Help ? Presence ? And when it comes down to this, I don’t want to answer THIS one question with something like “there was this stuff I really wanted to buy”.

    When I truly want, need, something, I just…try. Try to get it and hell if I fail, because I tried anyway, and for me it’s all that matters. Getting my shit together and trying, because it doesn’t come easily, and I like the feeling of being able to tell myself I went and tried with all I have better than the getting. I don’t regret any of my decisions in the past, because when something truly matters to me I’m like a dog with a bone. I. won’t. let. go.

    Maybe, unrealistically, confidence. I’d ask to be confident more often, to just let go and dare.

    Realistically : Wings, magic, a brain that remembers the useful stuff (but that’d be boring). A fancy adventure involving human-eating books.

    • fallen_woman

      I hear you. I want to respond but I have to first get all the bogged down in literal-ness out of the way. It’s tough – the question is beyond broad and general, but how can Amanda ask it more specifically when she has no idea who will read & respond? Maybe, ask for more specifics now?

      But I totally agree with your sentiment. I’m such a literal thinker that sometimes more poetic stroke blow right by me along with platitudes and pictures of sunsets. I’m not a bad person! I just need something more concrete to really dig in.

  • Holly


    I wish I’d asked my father for love instead of fighting his violence and hating him. I wish I’d asked him to see what he was doing and to think about why he felt he had to rule with an iron fist rather than with any kindness or understanding. Now it’s too late and the wounds are too deep. I wished I’d asked.

  • Nova

    i wish i’d asked that fabulous incredible ingenious microbiologist/artist if i could work with her. Outright. Instead of just skirting around the issue with: “oh, well maybe…like, if you ever needed help with a project? Or like you know whatever…”

  • Tonia Marie Harris

    I wish I asked myself a long time ago what *I* wanted from life, how I wanted to change my world first then the world at large. If I would have asked myself those questions, I could have avoided so many mistakes. I wouldn’t have ducked my head and played the scene- the party scene, the bad relationship scene, etc.
    It took my husband to ask me what would make me happy. It was easy. I said, “I want to write.” His polite response? “Then fucking do it, Babe.”
    But life grades on a curve, right?
    Kids… we can learn from them. They’re not afraid to ask for or about anything.

    • fallen_woman

      Dude, TOTALLY.

    • Val

      Why do we all become so afraid of asking ?
      Do we all believe we’re born to be self sufficient ?Because I’m afraid it’s what I wrongly believe.
      How could I not believe it ? I was taught growing up is to do more and more things by yourself : eat, tie your shoes, dress up, read.. I wish somebody also taught me growing old is to take care of others and look after others. I believe I’d be able to ask, I believe it’d be natural. I believe I’d be a lot happier, I believe my life would be more diverse and interesting, richer

  • revsparker

    Hm. I wish I’d asked for a chance to explain why I had to leave. I wish I could ask for time alone without feeling like I’m hurting my partner. I wish I’d asked that donor for twice as much money since he gave so willingly. I wish I’d asked someone to teach me more about how to draw, paint, and “see” like a visual artist instead of believing that you had to be born with that talent. I wish I’d asked a lot more questions of my kids instead of trying to “teach” them stuff. I still wish I could ask my father why the hell he is so mean and if, now that he’s getting old, he wishes he hadn’t driven everyone away.

  • cat bruce

    I never knew professor Snape made an album.

  • Chrissy

    I truly wish I’d asked my family to grant me permission to even ask for anything at all as a kid.

    White-knuckling over pride is cyclical in families. If you don’t ask for help, or even choices, your children may never learn what’s possible.

  • Andrew Logan

    Her ‘phone number.
    The most cliched response, but things get to be cliches by being common and true. You also asked for the story, so here goes.
    A long long time ago (25 years?), in the days before mobile ‘phones, I was in my accustomed place, sitting in the buffet car of a British Rail train where it was cool (the carriages were usually too warm) and I could smoke and you could meet interesting people that you wouldnever see again.
    I was a very, very shy young man. I could not talk to women. But in the buffet car? With people I knew I would never see again? It was no problem. There was no pressure.
    And one day I started talking to a girl about my age. We got on. We had attitudes and outlooks in common. And we chatted. And I had a good time just chatting. And I remember it even now.
    She got off the train before I did, but as we were both heading back to family from London but we both actually lived in London it didn’t really matter where we got off the train. And we said goodbye and she left. And someone sitting next to me asked why I didn’t get her ‘phone number.
    And I didn’t do that because I didn’t have the language and the expectation and the habit / experience to do so. And she probalby wondered why I didn’t. And I didn’t chase after her and get the ‘phone number becuase that would have been a big deal in the way I didn’t know how to deal with and so I hesitated. But I could have reacted to that question and asked for her ‘phone number and she could have said no, or could have given me a made up number, so it was safe to ask.. but I think she would have said yes and I think that we would have become friends. Maybe nothing more, but that would be cool. Because we just got on.

    And that’s all. Funny. I’ve never told anyone that before. But you asked.

  • Chase

    I wish I’d asked for what I actually wanted rather than what I thought I was supposed to/expected to want.

  • Hardcherry

    I Wish I’d have asked myself “What Do I Want” more often in the last 20 years. I’m at a point now where I’m struggling to find those answers.

    • Pauline Da Conceiçao

      Start with figuring out what you don’t want. It’s easier after.

  • Meredith

    Whether asking your partner about their feelings in a relationship, the critics of your professional life, the opinion of your friends and family.. you should ask that they respect you enough to tell you the truth. The real, gritty, brutally honest truth. Nothing builds more trust and connection between people than when you can rely on them to tell you when you’ve fucked up, that you’ve tried hard but aren’t there yet, or when you’ve nailed it gloriously. Nothing can dampen the fire and promise of a situation more than complacency, being unwilling to be honest about painful truths. It makes you feel numb in relationships. It makes your professional projects generic and unexciting. And most importantly, if you can’t be brutally honest with yourself and your mistakes, you won’t be able to become the person you wish you could be.

    Ask for the truth from others. And, every day, ask yourself what mistakes you’ve made and if you are living up to the beliefs and values you hold most dear. And be honest!

  • Heather Hawkins

    I wish I had asked for space when I needed it. Its a lot harder for me to ask for space than it is to LET people invade mine. Most people feel bad when they don’t know how to help me, so they just keep asking questions about if I’m alright or if I need anything. My tendency used to be saying, “Nah, I’m alright. Everything is okay.” When people know you are skirting something they tend to think the worst. So they stick to you like glue for fear you may leave forever. So now my husband has taught me that if people KNOW that space IS what you need and you ask for it very plainly, its honored and they know you are actually well because you answered honestly and skirted nothing.

  • Cayte

    I wish I’d ask for a chance to speak. For my whole life, I’ve been told to be quiet, that my opinion isn’t valid, or people will just talk over me. Now, I can’t talk in front of people because I’m too afraid that no one will listen to me. Even when I tried to explain to my parents why I feel so depressed, they ignored what I had to say. I can never explain how I feel or get across my opinion without someone cutting me off and changing the subject. I feel like I miss opportunities because I can’t bring myself to be social. I’ve gotten into the habit of just sitting and listening and just not talking because I feel like what I have to say doesn’t matter. Now, feel like I can’t even ask for the chance.

    • Pauline Da Conceiçao

      Silence. Some times I love it, others I hate it. Not often, mind, but in those moment you just lose your opportunity to speak up and be a part of it…
      Let’s help you be part of it here ;-)

  • Rah

    i wish i’d been able to ask for help before trying to kill myself. i wish i had more courage to ask for more when what i get is not enough.

  • Micah Gray ™

    I want your help.
    I don’t want your money, your cars, or your fancy things.

    I want your interest. I want your story to meld with mine. I want your help.

    I want your help.

    I don’t want you to worship me, or drag me to where I want to be.

    I want you to walk alongside me for just this moment in my journey. I want your help.

    I want your help.

    I don’t want your helping me to be a “me” thing, but an “us” thing. I want your helping me to benefit the masses.

    I want your help.

    I want your help.

    I’ll take ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for an answer. :)

  • Jolly

    I wish I had asked for love. I was too scared of being rejected so I never asked.
    That made me realize that asking doesn’t put you in a weak position. Not asking does.
    Because you always think about what could have been…

  • ashnk

    I wish I had asked him for more attention and romance a long time ago. I always felt like it was so stupid and girly to need such things. Absolutely frivolous and idiotic. I also felt like by asking, it would cheapen anything he did in response. Why should I have to ask the person that loves me to pay more attention? Why should I need that kind of attention? So many years of tension and hurt feelings. I finally asked a few months ago. He surprised me with flowers at work today and I spent the rest of the afternoon grinning :)

    • NecessaryQuaint

      Used to feel the same way. If I had to ask, then it didn’t mean the same because they were doing it because I asked. But then I learnt that, the other person has no way of knowing what we wish for, and even what we might expect as obvious without being told. They might have even wanted the same thing and felt silly about it themselves.

  • amynoamy

    I’m a therapist and I constantly encounter people who have learnt that asking for something is not OK, particularly when it comes to having their needs met. Maybe it starts in childhood, am I teaching my son to not ask for what he wants or needs? I can’t say yes to everything my child asks me for, so maybe what he learns from that is that it’s pointless asking. But surely it has to be about communication, so on those lines asking for something needs to go along with an explanation of why you’re asking perhaps? Likewise your answer needs to have an explanation too? Can I, because….. no because…. or yes because…… or can we talk about it?

    Right now I haven’t answered the question at all!

    I am a massively curious person, so in general there aren’t a lot of things I don’t ask for. The honest answer to that question, is a question that I couldn’t possibly have asked because I was just a child and didn’t know what I needed. But now I’m an adult, what I wish I’d asked for was more explanation, more communication, more conversation. That would have helped me figure out some of my own life stuff I think.

  • Jodie

    space to clear my head and not think about anything for a while so i don’t end up miserable and probably going completely nuts and taking it out on the people around me.

    notice how most people say they regret not asking for something they really needed? maybe the more we need something, the more scared we are.

  • mcmatz

    Well, we know I’m currently running a kickstarter ( and I am being relentless and repetitive in these last days. I am doing a one shot tarot deck project. There will be no more decks made after the campaign so I want as many people who might be interested to find out about it. I KNOW when it is over I will get messages asking “Where can I get this?” because they missed the kickstarter. I make no apologies. Twitter, tumblr, and facebook are all rolling feeds and if you miss a day you can miss the message. It’s not begging. It’s a notice of availability. I believe in the quality of the product and the talent of the artists behind it and I will tweet until they take my iPhone out of my cold, dead hands.
    Love you, Amanda! <3

  • Liza

    It’s trickier than the previous question!
    Actually, i’ve been thinking for several minutes and i have so much answers to give that i can’t give you a proper one. And I’m turning really sad so i’m just going to stop thinking about that.
    I’m sorry i can’t help you. I’ll try my best for your next question.

    ps: please note that i’m a happy person,really, it may seem like i’m depressed, but not at all, i’m really happy.

  • Krissy Whasserface

    I wish I’d asked for forgiveness. There are a few moments in the later years of my grandmother’s life that I desperately wish I could have asked her forgiveness for.

    She’d had two strokes and was half paralyzed on her right side. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t write and being around her and unable to connect in a nursing home that stank of sadness and disinfectant was painful and I distanced myself from her because it was too painful for an 8 year old kid to really wrap my head around. I wish I could have explained that to her and asked for forgiveness. I wish I’d asked for more hugs from her and more time with her when she was still around- even if it wasn’t the same and was frustrating for both of us.

    I’m still not good at asking for the things I need or want, because frankly, I have a hard time believing I deserve to receive them.

  • Casey

    An explanation. As I kid, there were things that happened and I had to deal with, but at the same time, I didn’t fully understand them. As an adult, I hope we’re all brave enough to say, “Ok, so what does that actually mean?” when something important comes up. (seriously I won’t go into a doctors room without a pen and paper) But as a kid I didn’t think I had the right to ask, I just accepted whatever I was told. And then as an adult you’re left with a lot of missing gaps because of it. I think asking for a situation to be explained is a special brand of asking for help but with the bonus of making you feel really bloody stupid too.

  • Luz Mariel Donahue

    I wish I asked for support.

    When I came to the US from Costa Rica in fourth grade I wish I told people I was scared and asked for support instead of becoming cold and distant. When I was frustrated by math in high school I wish I asked my friends to help me instead of just taking the bad grades and feeling shitty. When was dealing with the huge financial burden of suddenly being on my own at 17, I wish I asked for emotional support. Now that I have a small community and have a job that revolves around helping other people essentially ask for things (business, partnerships, whatever) I wish I had the courage earlier to ask for support in sharing my own passion (watercolors).

  • Roxy Brown

    AFP!! ;)

  • CausticPill

    The thing I wish I had asked for directly correlates to things I wish I hadn’t asked for. When I was at rock bottom in my life I plucked up the courage to ask people for help, understanding, compassion (my family, my friends etc.). I was slapped in the face for my request. Then I resorted to begging and was slapped in the face yet again – and even harder. So I uprooted myself, and began to build a new life for myself in a new town. I lost my friends and my family, and the whole experience made me gun-shy about asking for anything.

    Feeling a bit down about myself, I took a self confidence workshop. There was another girl there with the same interests and a similar story but after everything that had happened to me, I couldn’t work up the courage to ask her if she wanted to grab a cup of coffee. I couldn’t work up the courage to try and make a new friend – neither one of us could. I have lived here for four years and still don’t have any friends because I’m terrified of being rejected for what I am again.

    I wish I had asked her to grab that cup of coffee. I think we both could have used the company.

  • Carolyn

    When my father was in college, he was diagnosed with a chronic and incurable disease… a pretty traumatic one. At age thirteen I was diagnosed with the same disease, and have dealt with plenty of my own traumas since.
    I am 24 now, and for some reason in my whole life I never asked my dad how he felt dealing with his sickness. I finally did ask him last year, but I wish I had asked him so much earlier.
    I almost completely hated my father when I was growing up because we just didn’t understand each other at all. Asking him to share his feeling with me opened up this huge discourse between us, and we both understand each other so much better now, and have developed a brand new sense of mutual respect. I have learned so much from my dad since asking him, “Can we talk about how that made you feel?” I wish I’d have asked so much sooner.

  • Janelle

    I wish I would’ve asked the woman sitting outside the post office crying if she was okay.

    • Figment


    • Keiahna


    • Ruben Suarez

      It hasn’t happened to me, but it’s one of the cases when I think that offering help (or concern) is almost as difficult as asking for help

      • Janelle

        I’m a shy girl and don’t want to feel like I’m intruding, but at the same time, I know reaching out to someone can make a major difference. It’s tough.

    • Lydia

      I wish I hadn’t run away when I stranger asked why I was crying.

    • Someone.

      I wish I asked people if they were okay more often. I try to do it as much as possible but it can be really hard because I feel as if I can’t do anything to help them. All I can do is listen. I never know what advice to give, and so, often I feel useless in those situations.

      • Janelle

        I think sometimes people just need someone to listen or to know that someone cares enough to ask, even if it is a stranger. Tough as it is to ask someone if they’re okay, I think we’d all be kind of touched if a stranger would.

    • tragickelly

      I regret this all the time. I wish I was the sort of person to get involved without being afraid of the consequences.

  • Nikki Vine

    Throughout my life I’ve felt “lost at sea” with some instances of “Land, Ho!” I would have asked for more guidance/direction/help (it’s all the same really) had I known then what I know now. After getting a music degree and papering the Northern East Coast for jobs with no response, I could have used some help with ideas on what to do next. After moving to Maine because I was “falling in love” and subsequently “falling out of love” then being in a band and then out of a band, I could have used some help to make things work better. After moving back to PA and starting a career with nothing to do with music (which makes me kind of sad) I could have used help to point me to a better use of my time/skills. After finding out I probably wasn’t able to have children no matter how hard I tried (Wow, that one stings because I’m in the midst of it.) I could have used help to go over my options and determine how to move on. Currently, I’m lost on the unemployment sea and hoping for a sighting of land… but this time I am asking for help/guidance from my network of friends.

    I never really thought about asking for help because I assumed (yeah, I know) I was just supposed to learn it myself through trial and error. I had to prove myself worthy and wise as I figured things out on my own. I don’t know why I kept insisting on re-creating the wheel. I guess it’s what we all do as we grow up. Now we know… and knowing is half the battle. Right?

  • HollyGoLightly

    I wish I’d asked myself to be nicer to and more patient with myself. No one’s going to have it all, but as Conan O’Brien once said, “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

  • Trixi

    The right to be weak. It’s not okay to make a little girl be the strong one in any given situation. It’s not right to make her support everyone and hold a dysfunctional family together. I was just a little girl, lost and confused. I still am… and all I want is to be weak for once and cry in a corner somewhere.

  • Liv

    I wish I asked for help when I felt like I was drowning in grief after my best friend passed. Instead, I withdrew from the world. I wish I asked my mom to be patient with me while I was dealing with the cloud of depression. Instead she treated me like I was lazy. I wish I had asked my doctor to be placed back on medication sooner so I could function better. But most importantly, I wish I had asked my friends to fucking be there for me. I learned that the only person I can lean on is me.

  • playswithfire

    Yet again, an artist says their album costs $10. Actual price here in Australia – $24. Didn’t stop me pre-ordering it though. Just makes me bitter.

    For the record – Hesitation Marks is worth that $24. And then some.

  • Alicia Rose

    I wish I had asked what was put in my drink before I drank it. It would’ve saved a lot of trouble and pain. And since people have brought it up, help. I will always wish I had asked for help with anything, from the little to the big. I still wish I could ask for it now.

  • Claire Targaryen

    I wish I’d asked my mother why she didn’t keep me with her. If I had known the answer sooner, maybe we could have fixed things while I was younger and I could have lived with her. Or maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference.

    Either way, if I’d asked then I would have fewer regrets now. Most of the time I can handle them, but it’s like picking a scab – every so often I think of all that wasted time, and I feel like screaming.

  • Paniksura

    I wish I had asked my parents to really listen when I told them I wasn’t ready for college. Five years later and I’m finally somewhat on track with my life, but I can’t help but wonder if I had asked them to really hear me, whether I could have skipped some of the emotional and physical hardships that came with committing to something I was in no way ready to handle.

    • Ardency

      This is exactly what I was talking about. If I could just have made them listen, made them understand that my dreams didn’t mesh with their dreams….so many things might have been different, ya know?

  • Alice Bremner Watt

    I wish I had asked, with conviction, for a little bit more time to work out what I wanted to do with my life.
    And, I wish I had asked for some understanding. After a series of (unfortunate) events, I dropped out of university without any idea of what I wanted to do as an alternative. Now I’m just anxious all the time and I don’t know what to do, where to put myself. I’ve worked in a department store almost full time since then and man, it sucks balls. I wish I could ask for the solution, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple.

    • Triinu Meres

      The truth is, you have your time – to work out what you want. Right now, you have it.
      No one can take away your time, only yourself decice how you use it – and as you are still alive, you have your time.

      Path started does not need to be walked through, if you want to take another. Pick your own path and stay strong!

  • Ardency

    Permission to follow my own dreams as a young person. I spent so many of my formative years trying to live up to the standards of my family, to let them live vicariously through me, that I pushed down the things that mattered to me into this little corner of my heart and locked it tightly. I tried to conform and be what they wanted, and meanwhile became convinced that there was something inherently flawed with me because I could never be what it was that they seemed to demand. I struggled…fuck it, I still struggle- with the idea that it is OK to want things for myself and my life that differ from the vision that my parents had for me. In so many ways, music saved me; these other misfits and poets and freaks seemed to be able to put words to the feelings that I couldn’t express, and made me realize I was not alone.

  • Jolly

    We should never forget to ask ourselves. About what we really want and need.
    Only if we know that we can ask others. For help, for love, for anything…
    To answer the question: I wish I had asked MYSELF why I’m not brave enough to ask for love. I still don’t know the answer…

  • Kenny Watt

    I wish I’d asked for someone to just listen

  • marla kendrick

    I wish I had asked for people to keep me company when I feel my worst, when i’m sad or upset or depressed or stressed…I push people away the most even though i secretly crave company.

    I wish I had sometimes asked people “Even if you don’t understand why i’ve made a decision or why i’m following a certain path, please respect that it’s my life to live and peacefully agree to disagree instead of being mad at me for being myself” I spent way to much time being annoyed at myself for making people unhappy through doing what I wanted to do.

    I wish I had asked for the truth in past relationships instead of feeling like I had to earn it , it would have been easier and less painful in the longrun to know the truth rather than get the run around over and over and over again.

    I wish i’d asked for help all the times I self harmed and didn’t reach out to anyone.

    I wish i’d asked for water instead of wine all the times I knew i was in the wrong kind of mood and it was a bad idea…..

    • Jolly

      I really like the last point. It’s so simple but kind of metaphoric. You think that you’re asking for the right thing to make you feel better but actually it should have been something else.

      • marla kendrick

        Thanks. I think a lot of people , including me can tend to go to the thing that is worst for them when they feel bad. It’s stupid in one way but just very human and normal in another.

    • OceanWave

      Wow, really powerful! I especially love the part about following a certain path, I can relate to that as I can relate to self-harm. But your whole post in general was very well put and touching.

      • marla kendrick

        thank you. Isn’t it funny when you write things down, sometimes you’re telling yourself so much more than you realised before?

        • OceansWave

          Definitely. Because its honest and put into words. Thoughts are vague and difficult to connect but once you’re writing it down you’re actually reflecting and connecting. And what the finished paper reads – you might have never initially thought of it.

  • John Shepherd

    HELP. I should have asked for HELP more often.

    All I had to do was ask. But, on many occasions, I was being too shy or too embarrassed or just too damned proud/arrogant/stupid to say:

    “I don’t understand this. Please keep explaining until it makes sense to me.”

    Perhaps I realised that I would not be asking for help, I would be begging for help.

  • marla kendrick

    I wish i’d asked for a thousand more stories from my Grandad about his life, his memories and the people he remembered from before I was born so I could piece together the bit’s of my family tree with his input and see a little of it through his eyes before it was too late

  • OceanWave

    Help and respect – from others and from myself, both resulting from the same origin. There was a time in life where I was at quite a dark place for a while, I still haven’t resolved everything about it. I had support from so many close to me, I knew there were people in my life I could trust, there were so many opportunities, but I never really asked for help. I got it anyway because my issues uncovered by coincidence. But still, even when offered, I didn’t want to ask for help. Because I thought I wasn’t entitled to. That it didn’t matter. Because I thought it would make me seem weak. Because I thought it would take away control from me. That I would betray the person I was then and admit that I needed to let someone in.

    Years after, I went back to the same place I got help from because I still didn’t feel completely alright and I asked for help, upfront, honest. And it felt so much more powerful. It felt like I was in fact in control, that I was taking control and by asking i was respecting myself enough to share my reasons, my goals.

    Respect: the thing about respect is if you hardly ever speak up for yourself, defend yourself, dare a “fight”, especially with things that may seem trivial, it adds up and you’ll find yourself in a quietly sad and angry place and feel that others, even friends, while maybe generally respecting you subconsciously look down on you. So by asking for respect you give yourself credit, you value yourself. Most importantly: You need to respect yourself in the first place. I wish I’d done that a lot sooner because it feels so much better.

  • M. Leon Stewart

    I wish I would have asked for emotional support after my dad died in March. I was (and for two more weeks, am) nineteen, and I had to deal with the cost of cremation (not in my college budget, to be honest) on top of dealing with the death itself, which came really quickly and unexpectedly. It seemed like tons of people I barely remembered were bouncing back into my life to say “woah, hey, you’re dealing with a lot and we’re here for you!”, but I felt like it was my own problem to bear and I shrunk into myself. Essentially, I refused to allow myself to trust tons of people who would have helped me through the immediate aftermath. It’s one of the biggest regrets I’ve had in my entire life, because I still feel like I’m withdrawn and that because I repressed my feelings rather than using a support system, it’s going to take much longer to deal with his death in the long run.

    • Liv

      I can sort of relate to your experience, though in my case it was my best friend. I was also nineteen, close to twenty, and withdrew from the world. Her death will always sting. We’re here for you, if you need us, just don’t continue to withdraw. Keep talking about your feelings and make sure you take time for yourself – do things that you love. You are never alone.

  • Rab Townsend

    More often than not, I find myself thinking (in more than one situation) that I should have asked another person to stop thinking whatever they’re thinking, and just communicate with me. Letting someone else think their way into a bad situation because I didn’t speak up soon enough is always regrettable.

    Of course, a lot of the time, I should be asking myself to stop thinking and communicate, too.

    … failing in that has probably done me more harm than good.

  • Chey

    Insights. I wish I had asked for other people’s thoughts more often. Different viewpoints are valuable, sometimes it’s hard to remember every single person I have ever seen has a back story as interesting and important as my own.

  • Shabnam Salek

    what /i/ want. i never ask for what i want, and i always shrug it off when someone asks me. i put their needs (or, more often, wants) first. i’m a bit of a doormat, sometimes.

  • Elaine

    With each passing day, I regret not asking for my dad to get help with his alcoholism/depression. I wish I could find the words to ask for him to make me a priority in his life like he is in mine. To be sober when I visit home. To be present and able to remember our conversations, because I’m terrified that the time I have left with him is numbered. As I get older, I am seeing my emotions and demeanor devolve into a mirror of his. I am feeling the confusion/desperation/loneliness. I understand the freedom and burden that accompanies intense alcohol usage. So most of all, I wish I would be able to ask for his help and support. I want to learn from him and his past mistakes before it’s too late, but him and I are too alike to ever ask for such things as help.

    • Liv

      Stay strong, you aren’t alone. Not ever.

  • lexyjane

    I wish I’d asked myself what I really wanted. Now I have no idea what that is, except that I’m in a job that I’m not sure is what I want any more, and I’m scared to start again because when you get older and have family and financial commitments there is so much more risk.

    • fallen_woman

      That is terrifying territory. But you have a family so you have a support group. You can check in with them. You may be surprised by what they have to say…

  • Sarah Bates

    I wish I’d asked for hugs when I needed them most. There have been countless times that I’ve bottled my emotions because I was too afraid to ask for a shoulder to cry on. And I’ve stood for hours, surrounded by company. Sometimes the only time I’ve been able to cry have been when other people came to me and asked, with real concern “are you ok?”

  • Ange D

    This is going to be cryptic but thinking about it is upsetting.

    Answers, I wish I asked the bad people in my life why they did what they did to me, especially when I was at a low point anyways.

    I wish I asked them why my no still meant yes to them. Lots of people in lots of situations.

    I wish I asked for help in dealing with the consequences of what happened in them situations sooner.

    I wish i had asked more questions and got more advice about my choices when I was younger.

    I wish I asked for more hugs.

    But I learned lessons from what had happened and learned how to deal with it and as a result im in a good place now.

    But I still wish I could now ask them why to understand and close that door on that part of my past.

  • @Cylithria

    The difference between asking or begging is in the eye of the beholder.

    If the beholder is receptive, you have ‘asked’.

    If the beholder is rejective, you have ‘begged’.

    No matter the method of request, you will face the beholders!

  • Claire

    In direct contrast to heavens response (which is awesome), sometimes I wish I had asked people to stop helping. When you try to develop yourself as a person, artist, performer, worker, etc. people will tell you what you should be based on THEIR belief on what you should b. It makes it extremely hard to be an organic version of yourself because so many people are telling you “but you should do it this way…” And when you ask them to let it grow its own way the indignation that comes out of some people is amazing as they scream at you “god! I was only HELPING!!!!” Sometimes even though I may take it on board, I just want to be able to listen to my own intuition, because that way when I do ask for help, it will help I need not “imposed help”

    • Heaven

      As an artist myself, I can totally relate to this. My screenwriting classes were often formulated like this. Sometimes I would get good advice, but much of the time the advice given wasn’t conducive to my vision. Because I wouldn’t take everyone’s advice or help, some people felt hurt or offended. It’s great to get help and feedback on whatever you’re working on whether it’s writing or drawing or painting or singing or simply just living day to day as a human being. At the same time, it’s also important to stick with your vision/live your life the way you want to live it. When help is just imposed on someone whether they want it or not, then it becomes too much and you just have to say “Stop!”

      • gothicgunslinger

        I hear you on this. As a veteran of many, many writing workshops, I have had to learn to sift through the critique that actually fits my vision and would help me, and the critique that would change something so fundamental about my story that it would no longer be MY story. As I’ve told students I’ve taught in workshops since, you need to learn to listen to your gut – if a suggestion sticks in your brain and makes you excited, you should listen to it. If it starts giving you a queasy feeling in your stomach, that’s a sign the suggestion is probably off the mark and not useful to you. The good thing about workshops, though, is that you don’t have to listen to everyone… or anyone. You can just say “Thank you for your input,” and no one will know if you put their advice to use or not. ;) A bit sneaky, maybe, but the nature of the workshop beast is that everyone is subjective so not everyone is going to be the ideal receptor of your work. It’s an exercise in learning how you operate as an artist as much as it is taking constructive criticism.

  • Pelle Kuipers

    Asking for a hug. I still dont ask for a hug. Sometimes i’d rather have a long warm hug instead of a thousand words. I love hugs but i never ask for them. I can’t for some reason.

  • Ari

    I always wished I’d asked people to hold me in the right way. When I was younger I felt this sort of lack of love in my life, not because there actually was, but because the love wasn’t in a way that I understood it. I guess I felt that if you had to ask for it, then the love wouldn’t be real. People should just know. And I hate that I did that to myself because nobody held me in the right way and wish I could have just turned around and said “hey, that’s not really working for me right now and need you to hold me this way because I love you so much and I want to know that you love me too.”

  • June_Miller

    “my album’s not a dime. it’s not a buck. i made it as well as i could and it costs 10 bucks. if you don’t want to pay for it, thanks anyway (and hopefully when you torrent it and love it you’ll eventually share it with someone who will support me directly).”

    I don’t understand why this is such a hard concept to grasp.

    No, wait. I kind of do.

    There’s this line from a Nas song:

    ‘Most intellectuals only half listen.’

    Basically, it seems like a lot of your critics have looked at you, face value, as well as your fans and basically vilify both caricatures. Many seem to want to view you as some hipster Pied Piper leading a bunch of stripey shirt-wearing, wanton disciples.

    (Totally wearing my stripey shirt as I write this, by the way.)

    I’m not trying to wave a ‘Whateva, they don’t no u’ flag but..seriously though, they don’t. Or get the concept. It’s pretty much established that this has been the business dynamic between you and your fans since…I don’t know, you started making music.

    And even just calling it a ‘business relationship’ between you and your fans feels odd. And that’s what the critics prey on! It should be rigid and professional and completely devoid of having some connection emotionally. It’s cold hard cash.


    I have a very specific policy when it comes to checking out new bands: I want to see them live before I hear a track from them.

    Even if they’ve been booked at my club.

    Yes, there are obviously exceptions to the rule, but that’s it. That’s when I get to see the artists at their most raw. That’s when I get to see their performance as well as professionalism come out. And most importantly, that’s when I get to experience the music how they want it.

    If I like it, awesome. I’m going to go home and download your music, and burn it onto CDs. I’ll even pay you, if/when I have the means.

    But mainly, as a DJ, I’m going to promote the fuck out of the tunes both myself and the crowd really dug by you the most, and get your name a bit more noticed.

    And if I don’t like it…you still get my $5 for your efforts. So that’s cool.


    What do I wish I had asked for.

    I wish I had asked for the right questions.

    Then, I’d have gotten closer to the answers that were pretty obvious, and staring right at me.

    And even then, where would they have taken me?


    But, I’m also glad to have the experiences I have. It’s allowed me to to grow into…this.

    Whoever this is, is someone (or someTHING) a tormented 16-year-old wanted to aspire to be.

    And whoever this is, even if they’re depressed or dissatisfied often, they’re at least happy knowing they have the freedom that 16-year-old so desperately needed.

    Even if it’s a bit strained.


  • Marcie Lily

    I have a couple of answers.
    I wish that while facing the loss of relationship with either my wife or my best friend, that I’d asked my wife to stay, instead of my best friend.
    I wish that while struggling through depression, I could just ask for what I need, usually just a hug, or a cuddle.
    Lastly, and by far the greatest, I wish I’d asked for medical help while I was a young teen, to handle the growing gulf between my female identity and male body. That, would’ve made all the difference in the world for me.

  • Revelle

    I wish I asked him to stop.

  • Guilherme Eddino

    When you ask for something, you admit you don’t know it or have it. Surprisingly that’s still a major taboo. Admitting to a non self-sufficiency. I think all of the Kickstarter thing comes down to this.

  • Tom Steiger

    Once upon a time, I was a Professor with an Idea for an Experiment. I happened to be discussing my Idea in a hallway and was overheard by a Funding Agent who said, “That sounds good! Send me a Proposal.” And everyone generally agreed that that was the right thing to do; I should write a Proposal about my Idea and send it to the Funding Agent. Time passed, no Proposal was written, and eventually I was forced to leave the Academy (publish or perish, after all). The problem was that I had absolutely no idea how to write a Proposal, so I didn’t. In retrospect I realized that at the time I was literally surrounded by people who knew how to write Proposals – in fact, they basically wrote Proposals for a living! These people were my colleagues and friends, and I have no doubt that they would have been more than happy to help me. But I never asked. And so it goes.

  • jessehoyle

    To be allowed to be selfish, to be allow to NOT always be the bigger person. There is no quicker way to beat someone’s will and creativity down than to force them into a mold of “acceptable behavior”, because their siblings and peers are so far on the other side of the spectrum. Forcing someone to be something they are not to equalize a situation it one of the most fucked up things we do as humans.

  • Rapperport

    I’ve really struggled to find something I wish I had asked. I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing I could have asked for would change the life I live today. My husband would still have cancer. My son would still be autistic. I would still wake every morning thankful that they were there to spend another day with me.
    I think the closest I can get to an answer is that I wish I’d had the courage to ask my abuser why he did those things to a five year old girl in his care. I had the opportunity in adulthood but couldn’t ask the question.

  • Shannon Quinn

    Love. It’s so much easier to build up a wall and put up a front and act like I can handle everything on my own. I’m quite the loner, and for the most part, I’m pretty okay with that. It’s good to be secure enough with yourself to go out and do things on your own.

    But then there are those times when it’s too much. The weight is too heavy to hold on my own, and I begin to crumble. I don’t need sympathy or understanding or even help. I just need love.

    It’s much more scary to ask for love than it is to face my demons.

  • Toni Palmer

    Growing up, I may have asked some, but none listened.
    I asked them to just leave me alone. Give me a break. Stop the insults long enough for me to breath. I’d like to have asked them to let sleep come at night, without tears first.

  • HornyHeather

    Me and a lot of my musician friends HATE asking, and I reckon it was only because of the TED Talk that we had the balls to do a Kickstarter.
    We have 5 days to go and we are amazed at reaching 114% funded!
    Every post ASKING has given our friends and fans incentives. Hopefully nothing has come across as begging. Every single pledge and share, and RT has been met with gratitude…
    I like to think we’ve gone about it the right way – it’s only by following your example we could dare ourselves to ask!

  • Q

    I wish I’d asked what this city was like before I came to live here. Four years of being abused and assaulted in the streets done, just two more fucking years to go. It looked so pretty in the pictures.

  • Ayla

    I wish I’d asked for help.

    I wish I’d asked for help the many times I held bottles of pills and liquor and razors in my hands with the full intent of ending my life. I wish I’d asked for help after I’d consumed these things each time. I wish I’d asked for help when I’d woken up the next morning, fine outside of an upset stomach and bloodied cuts on my legs. Or the time I stepped in front of a car and the woman hit me and left me
    there, mostly uninjured, and I had to tell my Dad it was a hit and run
    in the parking lot when I was walking home from school [which
    technically wasn’t a lie]. I went many years with the same spiel without being able to ask for help. Why? Because I was afraid. I saw asking as weak. I was scared I’d be put in a hospital.

    Another time I wish I’d asked for help was in High School. My best friend at the time had a small party. Alcohol and weed were involved. It wasn’t the first and it wasn’t the last party, but a few people who weren’t supposed to show up did. That night, I was forced to listen to my best friend get anally raped in the bathroom connected to the bedroom I was lying in, too wasted to get up and do anything. I should have gone to the police when she wouldn’t, but I didn’t. I kept quiet for her and neither of us reported the incident because we were sixteen and scared. This is actually the first time I’ve openly spoken about it…

    • fallen_woman

      Keep speaking out.

    • longstofly

      I am glad you spoke out.

  • ren

    i wish i’d asked for qualifications and more in-depth responses during potentially personal and/or emotional conversations. as an introvert and an empath, i am so very conscious about what is “acceptable” to ask and what might be looked at as pushy or intrusive. i know how i feel when people outside of my inner circle question me. so i pull back; i don’t ask the extra questions that might get to the heart of the matter. and i miss out on important, maybe even life-changing, details. things that i can now never get answers to. things that leave me swamped with what-if’s and maybes. perhaps i would have gotten answers if only i’d asked – because, come to think of it, i generally have no problem answering someone’s question if the ask directly and with sincere concern…

  • Matthew Kirshenblatt

    That is a hard question: a *really* hard question. I wish I asked my friends if I could work with them when I was much younger and begun to build those skills and experience that–even to this day–I struggle with.

    Though it’s funny: most of my regrets aren’t the result of not asking. I always asked: even on the rare occasion it strayed into the territory of begging. I’m racking my brain and all I can think of is that first “what-if” scenario. I mean, I could say that I wish I asked someone to help and encourage me to ride a bike, or drive, or even asked some my teachers if they had connections and could help me network but–really–that is pretty much it.

    I have asked for what I’ve needed most of the time and I when I didn’t it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. I think your question makes me seriously reevaluate exactly what it is I’m regretting and what it is that’s holding me back.

    • fallen_woman

      I am right there with you on all of this. I never had a problem asking when I knew what to ask for. But frequently I didn’t know the words or, more crucially, that I had the option.

      • Matthew Kirshenblatt

        That is a very familiar feeling. The impulse to ask can be there, it’s just the words or the emotions that can always be in flux. In the Judaic ceremony of Passover, there is always the son that does not know how to ask a question. Sometimes I have been that son. Other times, I have been the contrary one, when I am not wise. ;P

  • Liv

    I wish I could ask Trayvon Martin to tell me what his side of the story was.

  • Matthew Kirshenblatt

    No, actually there is one thing I wish I asked. I wish I could have asked for my own space and for some of the people in my life to lower their voices or stop speaking altogether. But mainly, I just wish I could have asked for my own space.

  • Jenny DevilDoll

    I wish I’d asked for more knowledge and understanding, and I wish I’d done it at a much earlier starting point in life.

  • serious marcia

    I wish I’d asked for less advice. It was always well intentioned, but it took a long time before I could feel not obligated to follow it and find my own way.

  • Mrs. P

    I simply wish I asked for more understanding. I don’t think we have enough understanding in the world. This week, at the age of 28, I was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. After 28 years of being judged and ridiculed for my social awkwardness, I feel anger towards the majority of people I have encountered for judging me and treating me rudely just because they didn’t understand me. I am NOT unintelligent, I am NOT an air head, I do NOT appreciate people making fun of me for my little quirks. All I am is socially anxious and nervous (aren’t a lot of people?) and those are not reasons to belittle someone.

    I just want more understanding…I want to go back to my kid-self and stand up for myself better and ask everyone who gave me a hard time to be more understanding. I would also ask my present day peers to understand before judging. Everyone is different and everyone has their weaknesses and no one deserves to be treated with disrespect just because of it. I wish I had asked for more understanding my whole life.

  • Darren Robinson

    Permission from myself to to let myself just be myself sooner. Permission from me to let me fail with out beating myself up for it. The other comments are wonderful too: Help, Stories being more enlightened and loving humans.
    best wishes all.

  • cailinliath

    My friend is currently writing a series of short stories about her admittance to a psych ward. I keep thinking about it and these questions. She’s posting it here:

    As for asking/not asking for something myself, I am terrible at even remembering that I can ask. I know I am bad at asking, but I am learning that asking is often not on my radar at all.

  • Mhoram Freeman

    In a lot of ways I’ve managed to ask for whatever I’ve needed, when I needed it. Hell, when I was homeless, I had friends aplenty whom I was able to ask that they put me up for a few nights, to the point that in six months of homelessness I spent all of maybe a week actually on the streets.

    If there’s one exception though, I think it’s that I’ve never been able to ask simply for company. I don’t mean exclusively when I’m in a bad mental state, but even when I’m simply lonely, I can’t seem to ask for company. I’m an inherently anti-social person by nature, so I suppose admitting a simple need for occasional human company is something I struggle with. There’s a fair chance it’ll kill me one day.

  • Mikka Rose

    I wish I would have asked my sister to stay alive. When she decided to kill herself, she made an attempt and told me about it. I told her, “Don’t do that shit!” and “Why don’t you do ____ instead?” The one thing I failed to do, was ask her to stay, for me. I felt selfish. I wanted her to stay, but my mouth couldn’t form the words to let her know I needed her in my life and to tell her why. She killed herself the next day.

    The ironic thing is, two years later, I confessed to a friend that I wanted to kill myself. She told me I should do what I want to do, and not stick around for anyone else. I really wish she would have asked me to stay.

    • Diana K

      I’m glad you stayed, to share this if nothing else. I was suicidal and had someone tell me pretty much what you told your sister. It’s a bit heartening to think that maybe they were thinking what you were at the time.

      • NativeWit

        Please stay, both of you, through the ups and the downs. This is the only time you’ll ever get to be who you are, and become who you can be. Stay, if for no other reason, because you need you. You do, you know. :) Wishing you both love and peace.

      • Shola Lee

        This is a bit late in replying but…

        Both of you, how can one help someone who is suicidal?

        It’s something that feels hard to ask, but maybe this is the context for it. (maybe we need to be able to do this more)

        So many of my friends are depressed…

        I’ve experienced sadness and pain before but I’ve never wished to die.

        Why do you want to die?

        of course, feel free not to answer.

    • kaypea

      I ask you to stay. If I begged, it would be a demand and I have no right to demand that of you.

      Knowing from experience, even if you had asked her to stay, she may not have fulfilled that ask. I know that I can only ask you to stay as it is my desire. And only if I am the one able to fulfill that desire can I do that. Otherwise, I am at the mercy of the one that can fulfill the desire.

      Know you are loved. know you are wanted. And know I will always ask you to stay.

      • Shola Lee

        I really like what you said about asking to stay instead of begging.

        It reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s documentary on choosing to die that I watched recently.

        It’s interesting that in certain contexts- terminal illness,
        physical suffering- wanting to die seems to make sense. It’s ok. I can accept it.

        “Being ready” to die in old age, “accepting” death is seen as something to aspire to.

        The right to your own life, the right to die…

        It seems more appropriate to ask someone to stay alive. But then, is it ok to stop someone from killing themselves?

        They still have the capacity to be glad to be alive.

        I don’t know.

        Being asked to stay for someone else- it rings of having more than yourself to live for. We all seem terribly isolated- I’m talking about the west. Striving for success and independence as individuals, having everything within the reach of a dollar, rather than another person’s favour…

        If we were more interdependent, if we openly relied on each other, would that create meaning for us?

        What do you think?

  • Anita

    Help. From more than one person. Before it got to the point where I was begging – not asking – for attention, for someone to help me get over a broken friendship that I blamed myself for, despite it not being me completely (or maybe at all). I wish I’d gone to more than my best friend a lot sooner than I did – I wish I’d asked others for help so that he didn’t have to carry the burden of me by himself. Because despite him still being here and still being my best friend and so many things I’m grateful to him for – I hate that I put that burden upon him and gave him no one to turn to for help.

  • asteroidfish

    I wish I’d asked for help. And I wish I’d asked my parents to keep calling me by my nicknames, even though I grew up.

  • fallen_woman

    This kind of a question requires that I investigate regrets and the funny thing is that I’ve organized my brain and my approach to adulthood to let go of things that I would regret. Not say that I chase all of my dreams or something, but that when things don’t go the way I want them to I try to let go of dwelling and hurting and wishing something had gone differently. It’s part being taken by the Buddhist approach and part just not wanting to be eaten alive by wanting things out of my reach.

    So. It’s hard to answer the question. When I’ve had objectives and I realized I needed help from other people I asked them. It wasn’t too terribly hard. I mean there has been squirming and occasionally some cringing. There has been praying and on some occasions damn near full on anxiety attacks… But I don’t look at asking as a weakness. I don’t look at asking as something dumb. I just know that my brain handles stress fairly poorly so I tend to over-think and end up walking away from excellent opportunities.

    But I do regret letting people get away from me when all I could have done was ask them what was up, what was on their minds. I figured I like to wait to bring it up when I’m ready so they’ll bring it up when they’re ready. And then lo, and behold, they didn’t. But they’d pour their hearts out to the nosy friends…

    What do I wish I had asked for?

    At this point in my life (Amanda, we’re about the same age, but I’m in awe of what you have created whereas I feel like I’ve made absolutely nothing), I’m starting a new career and kicking myself because I could have started it years upon years ago. In fact, it’s within the acting realm and I have a degree in theatre but my professional experience is in copy writing. Why? Because I got panicked about money in my early 20s and held onto the first full time job that came along with both hands. I got burned out on that job and the bosses saw and we mutually agreed that the best thing was if we parted ways.

    I wish I had sought out a mentor while I was still in college, or even in the years after. Even after I got my job I knew it wasn’t what I wanted as a career and still gone back and asked to talk to someone at the theatre school about organizing myself for the greater world beyond college. Or hell, how to make a strategy for getting back to academia to pursue my Master’s. I was always good at academics but I never quite learned how to hang in the career-world. I wish I had learned relevant business-y lessons years ago and/or I wish I had pursued work in line with my studies ages ago.

    Not in the “respect myself in the morning” kind, but the kind where I take myself seriously and actually work toward my goals with as much faith and determination as I do when I take on other people’s projects. I still don’t have that. I can’t seem to get that out of myself and I wish I knew how.

    I wish I had asked other people to receive what I have to give them with the understanding that it comes from a place of love and that if they ever felt failed by me that they should tell me. Because I was always hardassed in my younger, punk-er days when I would just frown and say “don’t ask me what I think because I will tell you the truth.” People who thought I was being mean, I told myself, just didn’t get me and weren’t entitled to the truth. It took years and a ton of hurt before someone explained to me that I hold the truth as sacred and only give it to the people I respect. I can’t be bothered with people who can’t hear what I have to say and I will not piss on my own dignity to tell them things they want to hear. But I never couched in terms like respect and love, and that’s where it came from.

    Yeah, ultimately, I wish I had asked more of myself on all fronts.

  • Mathu Prescott

    I wish I’d asked for someone, anyone, to take the razor out of my hands. No one could see it was there, I was hoping that someone would see it, but no one ever did. I had to put it down myself, which was no easy task. If I had only said “Look, help me, I can’t do this in my own” I may already be better now than I am. Not cured, never cured, but better. More loved. I waited for someone to help, to make me feel loved. That never came. If i had just asked, the love would have come flowing through, I can see that now. So, see that for yourselves. You can’t wait for everything. Sometimes you just have to ask.

  • Jamie

    I wished I had learned to ask for help regarding mental, emotional and guidence. At this point in my life, I’m far to petrified to ask for help, and haven’t a clue how to even if I could.

  • hyenamoon

    Can I have cuddles all the way down?

  • juniper blue

    I once had a small Fair Trade gift shop that i started with the $4,000 I made when I sold my truck. The shop was 55 square feet … about the size of a walk-in closet. I was naive and I didn’t realize that most Fair Trade businesses start with $50,000. I struggled for 2 1/2 years working alone for the most part. The shop did sell a great deal of amazing things that were made by small cooperatives and non-profit organizations. I made many friends and loved being there but I was never able to make enough money to pay myself. Eventually, I had to give up and I closed the doors. I wish that I had known how to ask for help to keep this project going. I am no longer able to help the artisans. I miss this very much. Perhaps, I will one day try again … if I gain the courage to ask for help from volunteers and start-up investors.

  • Vixen

    Sometimes I wish I would have asked someone to take me to the hospital and call my Mom. It might not have been so awful if I had spoken up when it happened. I don’t think it would have helped to catch him, but maybe I’d feel like less of a piece of shit. I sewed my mouth shut and pretended to be fine just hours after. Maybe she would have noticed. Maybe she would have gotten clean sooner. Maybe I could have gotten help sooner. Maybe I would have never been institutionalized, or self harmed, or tried to kill myself. But then I think that I wouldn’t be here. With you. With the man I love. With a real Mother, not the junkie I’d known from birth. I might not have paid attention to the weird chick beating the shit out of a piano and screaming about not being okay and being fucked up and getting better but not betraying who you are as a consequence of what happens to you.

    Also I wish I would have asked if he was into domming instead of assuming that he was due to his alpha male nature around people who aren’t me. It hurt him, I think, to feel like he wasn’t comfortable doing something I would like. I love him no matter what, and the last thing I want to do is make him uncomfortable.

  • Vallie in Portland

    Trent Reznor, rock star that he is, is given many freedoms that those of us lower on the totem pole do not have. I work in customer service. I have to say “Thanks Anyway” if a client decides not to make a purchase. If I ended a conversation with “Go Fuck Yourself”, I would instantly find myself without employment. No matter what the situation is, no matter what the other party has said, I would be REQUIRED to reply with “Thanks Anyway”. “Go Fuck Yourself” would cause the other party to immediately become enraged with me and the company I represent. It would burn the bridge of the relationship between that client and the company. This person would tell everyone they’ve ever met in their life how my company treats its clients with disrespect and that they should never work with us. In this golden age of the internet, they would be able to do so on a massive scale. Even if my closing of “Go Fuck Yourself” had been after an hour long tirade in which the client had detailed very specifically how they were going to track down and murder my entire family unless I gave them a discounted rate on a product, I would have been found at fault for losing control and disrespecting that client. Trent doesn’t have to worry about such things. As a rock star, he has this power to say whatever the fuck he wants. If he says “Go Fuck Yourself”, no one bats an eye. He could make “Go Fuck Yourself” the title of his album, and people would still buy it.

    I envy him.


    I wish I had learned how to talk to boys in an effective manner sooner. Even though it was the 1990’s, I’d still been under the delusion for a long time that I should wait for the other person to show interest and ask me to be his. There are a few guys from my teenage years that I look back upon and wonder “What if I’d just asked him…” By the time I figured that shit out, the ones who got away were already long gone. In the end, it’s ok, because I found someone else to ask, and he said yes, and we lived happily ever after. But I still think about the missed opportunities of my youth.

  • The Good Girl

    I’d like to ask you to stay with me next time you’re on tour and going between Portland and Seattle as I live directly in the middle. If you need a place to crash, I’m here. I’d also like to ask that you listen to my next album when it’s done and I send you a download code (or hard copy if you prefer).

  • SweetRPea

    This is what I am asking for now: That you DO NOT write a book about asking for money.

    I understand that the “patronage” concept is very big for you right now as it applies to the independent artist. However, the reality is that fundraising has been around for CENTURIES.

    Whether in the form of taxation, tithing, patronage, etc….

    Today, colleges, churches, non-profits, arts organizations, NGO’s, different charitable organizations all depend to some extent on development: i.e: asking people to give them money to help them forward their cause. Development is a PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE about which MANY BOOKS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN. I know this is something that you are very interested in at the moment as it pertains to the modern music environment for performing artists, but given all that has been written, said and done on this topic, I really don’t know how much more you’d have to contribute. Development books should be left to the experts. And, while you do have some experience in raising funds from fans for different projects, you have limited experience in this area and are by no means an expert. What I would LOVE, however, is for you to write what you ARE an expert on which is Amanda F. Palmer.

    I think that your entire approach to being an artist, running your business, your engagement with your fans, your use of technology, etc….is entirely novel. Maybe many people are familiar with it, but many more are probably not. While I think that asking vs. begging is an interesting topic, I really don’t see it as substantive enough to fill an entire book worth buying/reading. Not for me, anyway. What I would buy IN A SECOND and recommend that MANY OTHERS BUY AS WELL is a book like, “Amanda F. Palmer, an Independent Life Unfolding.” This would be somewhat of an autobiography, somewhat of a guide for an independent artist starting out. What first lead you to music? When/how did you decide that music is what you wanted to pursue as an occupation? What deciding factors lead to this decision? What was easy? What was hard? Who helped? Who didn’t? What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? Illustrate each question with amusing anecdotes and a few pictures. That is what personalizes the experience and makes it an entertaining and novel read.

    What was it like to work with a major label? Did you aspire to this? Why or why not? What about the relationship worked? What didn’t work? What made you decide to go it alone? Was this difficult or easy? Why? How did you make the transition? Any regrets? How do you do what you do now?

    Is it easier/harder? More/less rewarding? How? Cover your use of technology, social networking, crowd-sourcing, blogging, audience engagement, merchandising, partnerships that have or have not been successful, etc…anything you can think of that might be helpful for someone starting out to know. What are some of your comments/observations on the current modern music environment for artists in general? How best to deal with this environment? How do you deal with it? Who do you look for for inspiration? Think of it as a handbook of sorts….from your perspective. Make a portion of your crowd-sourcing chapter about asking vs. begging. But, not the whole book. It’s just not interesting enough to read that much about. And, so much has been written already.

    Having this as a go-to guide, among others, I think would be enormously helpful for those seeking to be musicians or people who have an interest in the modern music environment in general. That is A LOT OF PEOPLE. Now that you have a bit more name recognition via interviews, articles, etc…invite people to know a lot more about you. Make it substantive. Make it humorous. Make it informative and interesting. Make it fun. Make it you. THAT is what I would buy. xoxoxox, SRP

    • SweetRPea

      P.S: I am not ASKING you to write this book. I am BEGGING YOU to write this book.

      I am COMMANDING you to write this book and COMMANDEERING you to write this book.
      I am praying every night to all of the holy Roman Catholic saints that you write THIS book and NOT the other book and am also going to be using any and all psychic forces I may or may not have access to to WILL YOU to do it. Also, my dog wants it. I can already tell. He doesn’t have to tell me. I just know.

  • Jessica Johannesen

    space when i needed time to think and help when i was done thinking. and courage.

  • Ria

    I regret not having given when others have done the asking. like now. you have asked for help and I have given my answer. if I had not, then I would think, “I really should have.”

  • octoberland

    I wish I had asked for help from a professional when I was younger. Maybe my life would be different now if I had. Maybe not. But I want to make it clear that this is not a regret. Just something I wonder about. I’ve experienced a lot of wonderful things in my life along with the heartache. If getting treatment earlier would somehow mean losing those exceptional experiences I wouldn’t do it. But I do wonder.

  • Diana K

    My parents got a divorce when I was 13 and I lived with my steadily more abusive mother until I was 19. However, I was told by my father at the very beginning that if it got to be too much, I could come live with him at any time. I just had to ask. I wish I had.

    I felt responsible for Mom and very much like she was dependent on me for the child support that paid our rent. So I didn’t feel like I had the right to leave her when she so clearly needed me, despite how much I was being hurt by staying with her.

    I wish my teenage self had asked any reasonable adult around for advice. I wish I had asked for an escape. I didn’t because my own well-being was at the bottom of the priority list.

    That initial reasoning set a precedent for the years after their divorce. Any time I needed something, I would weigh it against everything else until I found something that wouldn’t be for me that was needed more. It was only when I almost killed myself that I couldn’t find something to justify not asking for help, finally.

    Sorry this was so long, but I felt it was relevant.

    • revsparker

      this is my story too. I was 11.

  • Wenzdai

    This post couldn’t come at a better time for me….. For days I’ve struggled with a way to ask my friends for support without making it sounds like Im begging them or throwing it in their faces…and I get so flustered and annoyed that i just delete the message..

    I wish i could just ask for the same support back that they get from me. Ive always been a Slowly but surely I can get done kind of person… but it feels like the older i get the more help i need…and somewhere in my head that makes me feel like Im doing things backwards.. and I get embarrassed

  • Rachael Pixie

    I can’t think of things I wish I’d asked for, but I can think of many questions I wish I had asked. Most of them are “why” based questions.

    To the doctor who prescribed medications that literally stole my soul and changed my brain chemistry permanently:
    “Why should I take these?”
    “Why am I continuing on these when it appears that I went from being an anxious person with a great life to a broken person with a broken life?”

    I should have questioned authority more. I should have asked myself, “why do I think this person is somehow unquestionable?” and then asked them as many questions as my mind and heart desired. And if they didn’t answer to my satisfaction, I should have asked other people. I wish I
    had just asked.

    When I married someone who I knew was unhealthy for me… who I knew I shouldn’t have married, deep down. I should have asked myself why I was doing something I didn’t want to do. I should have said, “Why are you doing this with someone who has hurt you terribly, countless times, and will only hurt you more?” I didn’t. I should have asked the people I trust for their honest and uncensored opinions. They weren’t freely offered until after the fact. I should have asked for help, I should have asked for suggestions. For a way out. I should have asked myself to be brave and to do the right thing, even if it would have been difficult in material ways. Oh, how I wish I had asked myself to seriously weigh financial hardships of moving on my own without the resources versus the emotional pain and scars on my heart, psyche, and soul.

    I wish I had asked for justice when I was raped. I wish I had demanded it, actually. Instead, I begged for it, in an abstract way, begging the universe to right the wrongs while I was bullied into doing nothing. I wish I had asked myself if anything was worth letting him go free. I wish I had asked myself to be strong. To grab the spark inside of me and turn it into an inferno that would enable me to face the challenges and fear of the long and hard road. I wish I had asked for help from people who could have helped me.

    Through all of this, I wish I had asked myself what went wrong.
    I wish I’d asked myself where my self worth was.
    I wish I’d asked myself to think. Long and hard. About every decision I was making, with a clear mind.
    I wish I’d asked myself to put down the bottle of wine I was burying my pain at the bottom of.

    But on the other side, scarred and sometimes shaking when I wake up in the middle of the night, I will tell you this. I wish I’d asked all of that. But even though I didn’t, I asked myself other questions. I asked myself to process all of this. I asked myself to find a way out. To make peace with my past painful decisions. I asked myself to never make mistakes, missteps and mishaps like that again. I asked myself to forge new paths, and to live for the present and future. But I also asked myself to never forget the things I didn’t ask. So I will ask, beg, and demand the right things if and when I am faced with situations worthy of questioning in the future.

  • gothicgunslinger

    I wish I’d asked a student last semester if he was doing okay. His essays suggested to me that he was depressed and he came to class looking increasingly disheveled but I wasn’t sure how to address it. I’m new to teaching so I didn’t want to insult him or embarrass him… and by the end of the semester I was swamped with grading and working a second job and emotionally reeling from the aftermath of the bombing (I live in Boston so I was geographically quite close to the whole mess as it went down) that I didn’t get around to it. I wrote encouraging commentary on his essays but who knows if he read them, you know? I should have spoken to him, but I did not have the energy to expend, and I regret it.

    I think about this student a lot, and I think about the Tsarnaev brothers a lot, too. I wonder if someone had asked them how they were doing – like really ASKED and cared about the answer, not just to be polite – if the tragedy that rocked my city in April could have been prevented. The way Antoinette Tuff prevented tragedy in Atlanta by showing Michael Brandon Hill kindness and empathy. Because when I examine events of this kind, I don’t see the perpetrators’ actions as being born of evil, I see them as being born of desperation. Maybe human connection, on the very basic level, is enough to thwart these kind of tragedies.

    And so I wonder: could I have saved a life, or lives, just by asking? Why was I unable to do it? Fear of making us both uncomfortable? The worry he might resent me for it? These reasons seem so small when I look at them now, compared to what might have been gained.

    All I know is, with another semester about to start, it’s not a mistake I intend to make again.

  • @erinsweatrust

    I wish I’d asked my mom to be honest with herself. When my dad was dying of cancer after a long battle, I sensed him going downhill. I live 2000 miles away from home. I told her I’m coming right home, I need to be with you now. She said no don’t come home now. I said okay I’ll come home soon. What she meant was I’m not ready for him to die, don’t come home till I’m ready. She never was going to be ready. When I finally came home 1 week later. I missed him by 2 days and I never got to say goodbye. I Wish I had listened to my intuition and had an honest conversation with my mom.

  • Grace Saucier

    Honesty. People tend to tell me what I want to hear when I ask for their opinion and for a long time I was ok with that. I wish I could go back and get the truth from people. It would have saved me a lot of trouble over the years.

  • Gabriel

    I wish I had asked for help when I would be consumed with despair and darkness instead of tried to deal with them on my own. I have always convinced myself that what has happened to me and how I feel is insignificant when compared to others, that I have become jaded and closed off. I have no regrets for what I have become but I understand how easier life would be if I had opened up more honestly instead of using all these masks to keep everyone away. To everyone, I am confident, happy, and, never bothered by what people think of me but when I look at myself I see doubt and fear. I wish someone would ask me if I was alright when I’m lonely or sad. I wish I could trust people enough to answer that question with the truth.

  • KenDx

    For forgiveness. Pride, pessimism, the resignation that goes with it, or whatever that counts as “sinful” in one’s own set of values and beliefs (those are mine, I guess); life is a fleeting thing and even thought we’re all humans and we all make mistakes, we are all ever-growing-up-but-never-really-grown, and those mistakes may and usually do end up hurting people, and even worse, usually those people are the closest, dearest to us.

    Given this, can you think on how many mistakes you may regret, not about actually doing them, but about redeeming yourself of them with those that were affected by them?… How life would be so much bearable, so much beautiful, if one could materialize the “growing up” part of those mistakes in a moment of going to that person and saying “Hey. I did this, and I know I did (you) wrong, it was awful and I’m truly, deeply sorry”.

    That can be followed with another interesting thing I would have wanted to ask for… “Can you give me a another shot? / Can I have a second chance? / Can you give me another opportunity?”.

    • longstofly

      Agreed. When I finally managed to find a treatment for my depression that actually worked one of the first things I did was go around to the people closest to me throughout my struggle and talk to them. I knew that the depression made it hard for me to be a good friend/spouse and I knew how much it had affected them too. It was the hardest thing in the world to go up and apologize to them for how hard it was on them, and then to tell them how much I appreciated them all the times that I wasn’t able to tell them because of the sickness in my brain. Apologizing to my best friend was one of the hardest ones. But you know what? I took the chance and was brave enough to apologize and talk it out and not a single response I got was negative. People are a lot more supportive and forgiving than I had ever given them credit for. I am thankful every day that I was able to be brave enough to make those difficult apologies.

  • Pierce Harte

    I wish I had asked my parents if they really wanted me to be perfect. I wish I had asked them if they really believed I was the “bad”, “problem”, “trouble” child simply because I sought out my own identity through books and music that didn’t fall in line with their beliefs. I wish I had asked them if I was allowed to be normal, if they really expected me to excel at being “the smart child” even when I knew I was failing at it. I wish I had asked them to acknowledge who I was becoming rather than teaching me that I was only failing at being what they wanted me to become.

    But I wish I’d asked for more guidance and help from my teachers and mentors. I am smart, I knew it then, but I thought I had to instantly know all the material and get the formulas down and generate the brilliant idea/thesis for an essay without approaching a teacher to help guide my thoughts or correct a misunderstanding. These were upper-level courses in high school and I was afraid that seeking out help from my teacher would make me look stupid and my parents (as I perceived it) expected me to maintain my status as “the smart child” so I understood that I couldn’t reach out for assistance without exposing my own shortcomings as a young and bright student. Instead, I shut down and gave up. I let things slide. And as a result, I put a few too many dents in my prospects for university.

    I did succeed in getting into a small private college and, knowing how I’d suffered for not asking, I made a conscious effort to do that more with my college professors. I learned but I still wish I’d learned it sooner.

    And right now, I still wish I had the nerve to ask my parents to re-evaluate their beliefs, their principles, before shutting me and the adult I’ve become out because they can’t see beyond perceived wrongs. I want to ask them to try accepting me without reservation, to give it a good attempt, before I walk away and they lose the opportunity to accept on their own.

  • Brynn

    I wish I’d asked for more from myself. I also wish I’d asked for less. It’s a double edged sword. I was the nerdy smart kid in elementary school and middle school. I was teased sometimes but I generally reveled in being intelligent and loved reading and learning and being a teacher’s pet. It felt good to know the teachers noticed me and praised my work. Then I slowly lost my touch for math…then history…even other things sometimes. I only consistently excelled at English and foreign languages in high school. When things got tough, I got to…staying. Giving up. Letting myself go and berating myself about how I was smart, why was this so hard. Looking back, I was too hard on myself, didn’t cut myself any slack. Let everything overwhelm me. In college, I let emotional personal issues ruin my grades and scholarships (I have since returned and graduated but the road was long and hard). I let myself continue thinking I could never be good enough. I’d have emotional breakdowns, emailing teachers in tears about papers and homework I was overthinking, overworking. In the end, I churned out A+ papers with teachers left stunned I’d produced anything at all and wondering why I beat myself up so much. I wish I had let myself breathe and not have to be so perfect all the time. Not let the little things get to me and destroy me so easily. But at times I know I didn’t ask myself for enough. To push through and do what I needed to, no matter how hard it seemed. By asking too little of myself, I let myself stop asking for enough. I hope one day I can be content with where I am and what I’m doing in life and finally say I’m enough.

  • Ashley Long

    The only thing I can think of is I wish I had asked for help on some many occasions when I needed it. But it’s hard to do, it’s hard to bare your soul and humble yourself and admit you need that help.

    I also thought of with the other blog.. if people like an artist, etc. they aren’t going to see say a Kickstarter as begging. They’ll see it as asking and be more than happy to contribute. At least that’s how I have felt with those sort of things. But it all might depend on peoples’ perception.

  • Matt Shaw

    I wish I asked someone if I can help them. In any way

  • dust

    My French teacher in high school was gay. A year after having his class I was coming to the realization that I was gay. I confided in him and he was extremely supportive of me and we talked for hours over a period of a several months about the topic. The thing I never asked him and regret not asking is, how do you deal with it when people you like and you want to like you make off handed comments that dismiss you as a human being because of your sexuality? I looked up to him and didn’t want to seem weak. I don’t know if he would have had a good answer but I deeply regret not asking.

  • anonymous

    I wish I had asked my ex’s mother “why didn’t you warn me?”. She helped me move in with him and never told me he was violent.

  • Pia Lauridsen

    Like the comment below me – help, as in help me to see me (or by seeing me) to move me forward. I didn’t know way back when that help was what I needed, and I sure had no clue how to ask. I am working on getting better at asking for help, and being specific about it, because I am also learning that people are not mind readers….. :)

  • Genwhy

    While my asking wish is not profound or life-changing, today I wish I asked for extra gravy cos’ I love it, but didn’t, cos’ I didn’t want the server to think I was greedy

  • Stephanie

    I second, no, three-thousand-and-thirty-fourth Respect. and ‘ask’ is the key word, there. when i was a naive little young thing, i bought into the ‘humility means learning to take whatever the rest of the world wants to sling at you with a smile and a turned cheek’ way of doing things. naturally, i got steamrolled.

    then, downtrodden and dejected, i became used to playing the beggar. this yielded even worse results – people instinctively disapprove of emotional-street-children. eventually i began to resent The World for taking my high-road methods as permission to go through my bags and take whatever emotions, talents, belongings, and desires they liked.

    so next, i pendulum-ed to the opposite end of things and started demanding the things i felt i deserved but had not received. which, of course, backfired also; flies hate vinegar, as they say. it took me a bit to figure out that asking – nicely, always, firmly when necessary – had been an option all along. and that people don’t intrinsically revile question marks, it’s all just a matter of the phrasing and the intention behind it. that, and the word ‘boundaries’ has to be in your vocabulary to start with.

    i learned the hard way to divine others’ answers from their actions, though in hindsight there were many times when the answer was clear but i ignored it and kept asking anyway, without realizing that was what i was doing (unhealthy relationships of the world, hollaback!), convinced that if i shook the magic 8 ball for long enough, i’d get the ‘prospects look good’ side i was looking for. it would’ve made things so much simpler and less painful for everyone if i’d just had the good sense to ask honestly in the first place. trick is, though, you have to be willing to hear the answer, and to listen once it’s given.

  • Tanya Speed


  • Redertainment

    I wish I had taken a chance

    I wish I had allowed myself to be vulnerable
    I wish I had expressed how I truly felt about someone
    I wish I had expressed how I might feel about someone
    I wish I had taken the same risk that some people see as no risk at all
    I wish I had taken the same risk people told me was no risk at all
    I wish I had taken the same risk people mocked me for not taking
    I wish
    I wish
    I wish I had asked someone out on a date
    I wish I had asked anyone out on a date

    (Incidentally, I wish I had realized sooner that poetry isn’t hard. Poetry is art, and art is not hard.)

  • NecessaryQuaint

    For love. For hugs.

    I wish I’d have asked how to help all those times someone has been in need, and I’ve been too scared to even find the right thing to say or do myself in case it make it worse.

    And also for help or support for all the things I wished to learn but never did because I was afraid of what others would think of me

    I wish I had asked myself what I really wanted to do before starting college.

    I wish I had asked for privacy and independance.

    I wish I had asked for money to eat or food once on a trip where the money I had vanished (lost or stolen, never knew) instead of expecting the friend that travelled with me would realize I needed help on her own.

    I wish I had asked for help many times. But I still can’t.

  • rahrahmaybe

    Clarification – There are many times when I’ve had an interaction with someone and am unclear by what they mean or don’t understand their lack of communication or their decision. So I end up making assumptions of what I think they meant or why they aren’t communicating. Have a whole story worked up in my head that may or may not be what is really going on. It leaves me feeling so many things, things I may not have to be feeling if I’d just ask what’s going on.

    Another thing I wish I’d ask is to take a tricky conversation that’s being had via email and talk in person face to face. Email can be great but its also very limited. It’s so easy to read into something that’s not there or to read the tone of the email wrong.

    So much possible unnecessary suffering we could be going through if we’d just ask.

  • Prenna

    I hate asking for anything. It makes me feel vulnerable and I have more than enough weakness in my life.
    Looking back there were 3 or 4 times in my late teens when I overdosed on drugs and was brought back by hospitals. In some ways I wish I’d asked for a DNR order before that. But I’m just in a down-swing at the moment.

    I can’t really think of anything else I wish I’d asked for.

    “And when the wizard gets to me I’m asking for a smaller heart”

    • SitsUnderWaterfalls

      I didn’t mean to *upvote* that, not about the DNR, I meant I sympathize, the vulnerable feeling.

      There was a long time when I couldn’t ask people anything. For knowledge, for friendship, for courage, for kindness. But I could ask books, in a way. I could fall in, could learn about things I didn’t dare to say out loud, could practice being brave alone, under the covers.

      I wish I could give you a book, a story that could help you make sense of things in the quiet. Books don’t judge. But there’s a limit to how much they help.

      • Prenna

        Thank you. Sometimes I do ask books. Sometimes I ask music. Sometimes I’m just too far in to hear the response.

    • longstofly

      That part from Trout Heart Replica really resonates with me too.

  • Michael Brost

    Time with people I thought would be around forever; time to let relationships grow between, to experience each other more fully.

  • Laura Gillespie

    I wish I’d asked for an answer (on multiple occasions). I’m always so afraid that the answer will hurt that I allow myself to live with the sort of haunting uncertainty that’s apt to cripple any situation. And even after they’ve crumbled and gone, the what ifs never fade.

  • rosamays

    I suffered from social phobia much of my teenage life. I can now say that I’m as recovered as I’ll ever be, and although asking for things is still had for me, asking for things as a quiet, fifteen year old girl would have been unthinkable. I wish I’d asked for just the simple things, like “Hey, can I borrow a pencil?” Because I went pencil-less much of my school life due to being unable to ask this. Now, I look back and it’s sort of funny. I actually had to change my entire final Art exam because I couldn’t ask the teacher for a fucking pencil. And I really wish I had.

  • Ruan Peat

    Knowing what to ask for is hard, there is a phrase locally that goes along the lines ‘whats for you, wont pass you by.’ Which is often noted when someone asking for something doesn’t happen, a new job, a new chance, and I have seen someone miss what they were asking for and been down when something they would never dream of asking for has dropped in their lap, better, more future, wider chances. I tend not ta ask for anything unless I know I need it because I wonder if I missed something else by not looking. But I am still learning!

  • Figment

    Recognition. Open your eyes. Drink some Goddamn espresso mixed with a fecking redBull. See what’s happening? See who works hard. See who asks instead of begs. Notice the details fucker.
    -but i think it defeats the purpose if you have to ask for it. Don’t you think Merit should make the smoke clear on its own?

  • Michael Trout

    A second chance. In fact, multiple chances. We all make mistakes, say things we don’t mean or do things we didn’t mean to at some point in our lives. The world would be a better place if we all admitted our wrongdoings and forgave.

  • MizTaken

    there is a church just around the corner from me that has a sign which reads ‘there are some things that can’t be answered by Google’, there is another one which just took down ‘you can’t follow Him on twitter’. What do I wish I asked for- the right to live. Ask and you shall receive.

  • Jo Bradshaw

    I wish I had asked them (teachers, family, people who I thought were silently measuring every action up to some yardstick marked ‘what you’re capable of’) why they never taught us about failing, and that permission to fuck things up could be beautiful. I wish I’d asked them why they revered ‘yes’ so much, when ‘no’ was more powerful than I could ever have imagined.

    • kaypea

      I heard somewhere that when we prohibit failure we kill innovation. I have it as a quote up on a whiteboard that faces my desk every day. I tell everyone else that if they fail, I will help them back up. I wish someone would have told me too, but it isn’t too late for me. And I will go around telling people to fail all day long. BUT I will also be there when they don’t.

  • Charlie

    I wish I had asked for respect from a younger age. For a long time I didn’t think I was worth anything; I assumed everyone around me had it right. I was afraid; of being beaten up in school, of being ridiculed, or most crucially- of being left alone. I never corrected anyone or asked to be treated like I was worth something. Guess what; if you don’t ask for respect, you don’t get it. Ever.

    Now I realise that no one is better than me, and the simple act of asking (metaphorically sort of in this case) has made me a better person. You realise that no one is more or less deserving of respect, but that it comes down to who is asking and who isn’t.

  • Lukas Mayo

    I wish I asked what he needed me to do, when a man came up to me and desperately said, “I need your help, do you have a cellphone I could use?” I was at work behind the counter, and had to be professional, so with my boss and co-worker watching, I said ‘no’ and got back to work. I wish I had the guts to ask that man how I could help.

    • Triinu Meres

      I’m glad you wish it now.
      Took some courage to tell this story here, I believe.

  • LaniLaniDuck

    This plays a lot into what I hinted to in my response to the last question. I’m clearly looking at these questions through the filter of the recently broken-up with. My 4 year relationship with the girl I thought I was going to marry fell apart in a really painful way earlier this year, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what I should’ve asked for before it was too late.
    I should’ve asked to be heard. To be reached out to. I should’ve asked for the little things, should’ve given my needs the credit they deserved before they turned into raging and unreasonable monsters that we tried to shoot down instead of trying to feed them. Though I still identify as a polyamorous person, I honestly wish I had just asked her not to have that fling, because it snowballed into a relationship that took over her life and personality. I wish I’d asked her to choose me, because even if she’d said no, it would’ve ended something that became emotionally abusive.

  • Swan(n)


    I wish I’d asked for time to stop, time to recover, time to enjoy life, time to make a decision – without fear of failure, or gut-wrenching guilt that I was letting someone down.

  • laura hodges

    I wish I’d asked myself what I really wanted.

    Instead of what I thought I should want out of my relationship with my girlfriend, or asking her what she needed (needed… not wanted) out of our relationship, I should have asked myself what I wanted and/or needed in my life.

    I wish I’d asked myself what would make me happy – not what would make others around me happy, but me me me. I have to live in me, after all.

    In writing this, I thought about my life and where I am. I think maybe I might need to think more, and ask myself that more.

  • just_alexandra

    “so.. do you want to give it a shot?”

  • Triinu Meres

    I read lots of comments and I’m confused.
    How can you ask for love? Ask for understanding? Why do you wish you would
    have asked for that? What difference would that make?
    “Please, love me,” and suddenly they do? “Could you understand me more,” and suddenly they do?
    It’s not like that. Life and people aren’t like that.
    Great Russian writer Bulgakov wrote in his “Master and Margarita”:

    “You should never ask anyone for anything. Never – and especially from those who are more powerful than yourself. They’ll make the offer themselves, and give everything themselves.”
    (Of course, in Russian it’s not “asking”. They have a word for asking (like posing a question) and a different word for asking (like asking for something). Bulgakov used the last one.)


    Now, it’s not like I wouldn’t ask for something myself. I ask my son’s father to buy him things for
    school, because I don’t have money in the moment and school year is about to
    begin and we will all be happier like that. I ask for a lift for time to time, if the other person lives nearby and I like them (I mostly don’t ask for things, if I don’t like the person). I’m asking my
    publisher to finally pay the money he owns me, even as I know that the firm isn’t doing so well right now – but I’m not financially very well either. I ask my friends not to forget me, if I have busy times in university and with writing in the same time and all my free moments are reserved to my kids.
    There are things you should ask for, even if just because people are not mindreaders and they may not know, what you want or need – and so cannot give everything themselves.

    There are situations when you can even ask for attention. I can see that working.
    Or maybe even for respect, though I would say, if you want to be respected more, you should _demand_ it.
    Not ask. Giving the option to say “No” doesn’t seem like a good idea to me in this case.

    But to ask for love? For understanding?
    They’ll make the offer themselves, and give everything themselves. Or they don’t and no asking can change it and you should deal with that.

    Walk away or try to be more lovable and more understandable yourself. Explain things, don’t just ask for understanding!

    Asking is fine. It can help you, it can form strong connections, where there were none in the beginning, it can make many people happier.
    But it’s not a cure for every problem. There are things you shouldn’t ask for.

  • Toadie-pie

    I wish I had asked to take a gap year. The more time i spend in school, the more i want to scream and the more i feel that i am becoming stuck in the same place

  • insignifikunt

    Help. I am currently ready to tear my hair out sitting in my room in a psychiatric ward because one of the patients won’t stop yelling while another keeps opening and slamming the freezer door shut. Both are only a few steps from my room…

    If I’d have asked for help earlier i wouldn’t be in here now and I wouldn’t have wasted all the other months of my life in here over the past decade.

  • Jude

    It’s impossible to live your dreams without asking for anything!

  • pointlesshero

    i think there will be a lot of it but – help. we are too afraid to ask for help. i didn’t. i took me 4 years to stand up and say ‘lisetn, i really need you help because i don’t want to be dead inside anymore’ and it wasn’t that hard in the end.

    and i’ve never asked someone important to me to stay with me, so they didn’t.

  • revsparker

    Well, holy hell. I woke up before the sun with a poem or a song in my head. It was so complete that I actually googled to make sure it hadn’t already been written. Here it is:

    I let them call me baby
    I let them call me beauty
    But they do not know my name.

    I let them see the bruises
    I let them touch the edges
    But they do not find my strength.

    I cannot bear the lightness
    I cannot hold the silence
    So I do not say a word.

    Their disapproving glances
    The disappointed sentence
    Saying I should not be heard.

    I turn away attention
    Though it means I’m always empty
    And I have to walk away.

    I draw their eyes to the cadaver
    And I tell them they can have her
    So they will not make me stay.

    I let them criticize her
    So that when the truth arises
    They will think it’s all a joke.

    I let them laugh and mock me
    So that when I’m finally talking
    They will say I just misspoke.

    I dive deep into a story
    As I let them take my body
    I do not tell them who I am.

    But even as they know me
    It’s a monument to irony
    That I’ve slipped away again.

    I do not know the ending
    I cannot stop pretending
    I live anything but lies.

    I think I long for freedom
    But instead I just keep bleeding
    While you avert your eyes.

    I am sad and I am sorry
    But it’s just another story
    No one notices it’s true.

    I may let you call me beauty
    But you never really knew me
    And you never wanted to.

    I was born into this fable
    I have held the heel of Abel
    Now one of us must die.

    If I choose to kill the body
    Crucify the god inside me
    It will still be suicide.

    Take away the cup of choices
    I don’t want to hear the voices
    Except the few inside my head.

    I won’t sacrifice my soul here
    Or capitulate to old fear
    Even when it’s clear I’m dead.

    You wouldn’t complicate your version
    Of a story of perversion
    That was all about your own.

    Now that I am liberated
    I can see that you’re frustrated
    That you’re gonna die alone.

    I have given up pretending
    That there is a happy ending
    That’s just how the story goes.

    Now no one calls me baby
    Or mistakes me for a lady
    And I’m happy no one knows.

    If a troupe of misfit angels
    Comes to tell me there’s a way home
    I will know to let them in.

    But when it finally gets quiet
    I will slip into the silence
    Screaming to the very end.

    If you choose to repost, please give credit: Sean Dennison @revsean. If you woke up before the sun today with the tune to this song in your head, let me know. I’m good with words, but have a nagging feeling these are not the words of a poem, but the lyrics to a song.

    • Dania Bella

      I was thinking of Half Jack while reading your poem/lyrics…

  • MissTegan

    I wish I’d asked for more “me” time. I still wish I knew how to do it! I am a people pleaser by nature which I don’t put any negativity on becuase I love the people I please, I LIKE pleasing them and I enjoy making them happy. But it gets to a stage where I am expected to put them first and that is when I find it hard to step up and ask for them to put ME first. A few weeks ago I broke in front of my boyfriend and just cried for about ten minutes straight simply because I hadn’t been alone in ten days. I wish I could ask for alone time without feeling guilty or like I’m letting people down. I wish I had’ve asked my Dad for his life’s story before he died. Two completely unrelated asks but definitely the two most important “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” asks of my life so far.

  • ZwidS

    Anything, really.

    As a person who has herself never been allowed to say No, I can’t bring myself to ask anything of anybody, because I project onto them the total lack of options this would mean for me. And also because I can’t deal with No as an answer, not yet having grasped the whole concept.
    (36 and still learning things other people learn in kindergarten…)

    • hyenamoon

      I’m 38 and still struggling with the basics of human interaction.

  • david bird

    Amanda, I was always taught that when you needed help, go to your family first…We are your family so why can’t we help you in anyway we want?

  • ~~♕ Princess Riz ♘~~

    Advice! I have always been one to attempt navigating life alone to seem brave or intelligent, but I have recently found, as I’m sure many people have, that it is far too tiring to live the lie of self-sufficiency. If someone has been there before, or done that before, why not ask them how it went? Get their advice, listen to their stories, and if you still can’t figure it out, ask for help! The majority of my life has been spent using lists and numbers and prices to tell me where to move, go to school, get a job, eat. When I started asking the people around me for advice and for opinions and information, I found that I learned so much more! Why only look online for things I want to know about when I could ask my community? Through learning to ask, even for little things like where to get coffee, or volunteer, I have begun to feel like I am part of a colorful thriving community, and not just a gal who lives in some part of the city.
    We can’t know or do it all, but when we pool the knowledge and experience of our community, when we are brave enough to admit we need help and ask for advice, chances are someone who lives down the street or works at your favorite coffee shop can help a whole lot more than a spreadsheet, webpage, or price list.

  • Victoria Kloepfer Evans

    I wish, at the time, that I had asked the nurses at the children’s hospital to hold my daughter the day before she passed away. I had a gut feeling that this was the end and I didn’t act on it, clinging, instead, to the thinnest thread of hope instead of giving into instinct.

  • cherryfairy

    Time. I wish I asked for more time when my son was diagnosed with autism and the doctor rushed me out. More time with my dad before he passed away. More time at work so I can get extra cash for a car to get the time lol. We never ask for just a little more time to get stuff done.

  • Lysambre

    I wish I had asked for help about school, when I realised that being smart was not going to be enough in higher education since I had never learnt to do the actual work.
    Everyone thought I would go important places while I was slowly drowning in the realisation that I would go nowhere.

  • Werner

    I love to be asked for everything that is in my power, I am really happy to help, share and especially to jump start something that has potential. To see such a baby growing is so rewarding – priceless :-)

    I do not like to be begged by someone. I do not know the deep reason for this, but it has something to do with egalitarianism. We should be equal and somehow we are equal.

    As I am traveling a lot by train I really hate those guys begging for money presenting a story about being lost here and need some ticket money. I always point them to the railway mission and this is a beautiful reminder to donate the local mission. Which I always do. If I am in a hurry, the money goes to the mission on the next stop. So it seems to be I try to turn begging into giving.

    Once an old-timer walked up and said: He is sorry to beg me for money, but when he and his wife were young they did not thought life becomes so hard. Sure he got some Euros but I really wish he would be able to ask. He is not, and I definitely do not want to blame him, I want to blame us.

  • Ponto

    I wished I had asked for their help. I wished I had asked for time. I wish I hadn’t waited.

  • Asia Baca

    hugs. my family was never big on affection. dad was a man’s man and mom was from an asian culture where they just don’t “do that”

    • musictwig


  • Keiahna

    You only asked us to answer, not begged, so I suppose straying from the path is okay, as long as it is still in the theme, right?

    These past few months have been… Well kinda difficult. I’ve all but moved out of my home to live with a friend at the age of 17. This is due to home complications..
    During this time I’ve had to ask for help. I had to call a friend and with trembling words and tears running down my face to ask “Can you come get me?”, he did. I had to ask “Can I stay with you for a while?” the answer was yes, to all I asked. Not once did I feel I was begging, I was simply asking, I nearly expected the answer to be no each time, but the answer was yes, and I felt awful. I felt like I was using people, I felt shameful, but in my asking I not once felt like I was begging. I never pleaded, I was OK if the answer was no, granted I didn’t know what I was going to do had the answer been no, but I was still only asking.

    Through everything though I suppose the one thing I should have asked, the one thing I wish I did ask, is, “why?”. I wish I’d asked my parents what their plan for everything was. How they wanted the next few months to go. I wish I had asked my father why he did what he did, I wish I asked my mother what I should do. I wish I asked them how things were going to play out. If for no other reason than because I just wanted them to answer. I just wanted them to think. I didn’t ask though, I instead just left within moments of seeing the state of my home. I don’t want those questions answered now, its too late for that, but in those moments I should have asked.

  • C

    I do not wish i’d asked for anything. If I did not ask something, because I didn’t dare, or just didn’t want to, I believe I didn’t need it.

  • April Cheri

    For anything. For everything. I know asking is hard for nearly everyone. But I think it’s a particular flavor of hard for those of us who struggle with feeling invisible. I grew up in the shadow of a narcissistic mother and became invisible very early in my life. I stopped asking for anything more than what I needed for survival until recently (I just turned 40). Asking for anything from anyone makes me visible and it feels wrong. This is one of the primary reasons you inspire me so much as an artist. You seem so comfortable being visible.

    With the support of loved ones and the inspiration of people I admire (including you), I have been working the last couple years to be more comfortable with my visibility and to ask for what I need and want in my life. It’s serendipitous to find your blog posts about the asking book this morning. Yesterday I was unusually brave in my asking. I asked for a significant raise at work, which is justified for many reasons. But more importantly, I used the opportunity to ask the President of the company I work for to explain how some of his decisions fall in line with our core values and have since been invited to meet with him to discuss the concerns I have regarding the fair treatment of my staff. When it comes to the motivations for asking, I think I find it much easier to ask, and be visible, when I know I am acting from a place of integrity and justice rather than personal desire.

  • Lucy

    I wished I had asked for forgiveness, instead of running. I still wish that, I still wish that I asked people to stop me from running. That, and I wished I had asked my grandparents to teach me about the Beatles while they still could.

  • musictwig

    I wish I hadn’t been too shy to ask to use the toilet that time at my music lesson when I was a kid. I would not have peed my pants on the walk home!

    (I never told ANYONE that before.)

    • hyenamoon

      In grade school I had to go to the bathroom real bad. I was too shy to ask my teacher to let me go (figured she wouldn’t believe I had to) and messed my pants. That was a horrible day.

  • Deb

    I wish I’d swallowed my pride and asked my folks for assistance with food. We were really struggling to make ends meet then and my pride got in the way of asking for assistance that I know they would have been more than happy to give. Had I allowed them to do so, we wouldn’t have had to duck all the neighborhood grocers to whom we owed store credits in order to keep from having something shut off that week. We always fed my son over ourselves, however, they still chastise me about it to this day.

  • sometiems_kate

    It remains the one thing i’m frightened to ask for.

    Sometimes when i’m brave enough to ask i’m refused, when I really did need it, and it hurts so much.
    But, when i’m brave enough to ask and its granted its magnificent and kind and loving.

  • Glenn AWB

    Time for mywelfnto figure things out. My mum was in such a rush to get me to college, I went in with no idea of what to do, and ended up switching majors 3 times. I would’ve liked to have a year off to learn a language and to start university in another country, but was too afraid to ask to not go to college right away.

  • Sophie O’Doom

    I absolutely wish I’d asked for help. It’s still hard. Or asking for understanding, which guess is like asking people to pause and think about their relationship to you and whether they *want* to understand. And ultimately the root cause is fear; not wanting to impose on anyone or seem less than your best at all times, in case they realise that you’re not as awesome as they though, and leave you. Same thing goes for why I’ve historically not asked for commitment from lovers. Fear of abandonment. Fear of loss. And so we sell ourselves short, not asking for the things we damn well deserve, because we don’t trust our worth, and are scared noone else will, too.

  • Andrea

    I wish someone asking me for helping him/her in mathematics. I studied this fucking shit for 4 years and now I don’t know what to do with it… so I changed my field of study into psychology. The most I can make of my first study is to teach other people! Maybe this sounds strange or like a thing about power.. but it’s about helping… And love. Love in form of Math.
    btw: I am studying psychology because I want to help people! So maybe the thing I really want to get asked for is help and support. Or Love.

  • Andrea

    I wish someone asking me for helping him/her in mathematics. I
    studied this fucking shit for 4 years and now I don’t know what to do
    with it… so I changed my field of study into psychology. The most I
    can make of my first study is to teach other people! Maybe this sounds
    strange or like a thing about power.. but it’s about helping… And
    love. Love in form of Math.btw: I am studying psychology because I want to help people! So maybe the thing I really want to get asked for is help and support. Or Love.

  • Dania Bella

    Comfort. Money. Love. Help. I have a difficult relationship to asking. I’ve always been asked for help, as long as I can think back. Consequently, as there was no one else who could have helped, I did and still do. This is why I have always had problems asking for help for myself. It has something to do with pride and fear. Constantly being asked for help and considered as the stronger person in a relationship, I have a strong need for doing things myself, although I know I could use help. I couldn’t ask for money for school trips because I thought I wouldn’t get it anyway. I thought I needed to earn the money myself. I didn’t want someone to spend their money on my problem. I didn’t ask for help because I thought it would be begging. I never ask for help when sick. I simply know how it feels to be asked and begged for anything anytime and don’t want to put anyone in need to help me. Responsibility – am I responsible for anybody and do I want anybody to be responsible for me? Why do we fear being responsible for someone else? Why do we fear people being responsible for us (all the time)? I think this is a give and take problem. If you’re a giver, it’s hard to take and vice versa. Being connected might be the key. Co-responsibility.

  • GTM

    I wish I had never been afraid to ask for help, advice, or love from those whom I care about the most.

  • Sarah Beirne

    Forgiveness. There are probably only two things I regret in my life – occasions where I have said something and regret it to this day, even though it has been years since all that has happened. I know that I will never be friends with them again, and I am ok with that.

    I just wouldn’t like to think that they are still as hung up on it as I am.

  • James G.

    I’m thinking about This American Life and their podcast. They ask for a donation on the podcast every so often, like once every six months. And when they do, they get a ton of response. They pull in a lot of money to cover the bandwidth of a very popular show, and make more and better shows. I think they get this response for three main reasons:
    – They don’t ask often. They don’t overwhelm their audience.
    – They do good work.
    – The people donating know where the money is going, into expenses and making better shows.

    I think it matters that they do it this way, but it also is a matter of the horse before the cart, or the horse and cart put before whatever comes before both of them. Snakes? They already make something great and give it away for free, then ask later. They establish themselves, much like you did with your audience before going direct to them in the KS campaign.

    I think it’s an interesting way to look at it. Do something great, special, etc, and then ask the fans / audience to contribute. I’ve seen it over and over, and it works for a lot of good reasons. 99% Invisible is one that comes to mind right away.

  • leebenningfield

    Is Amanda referring to anything specific, or recent, when she calls out Regina Spektor? All I’ve heard is that she wrote the theme song for a Netflix original series – which doesn’t seem comparable to the kind of attention Miley has been getting this past week, or Trent going back to a major label after several independent releases.

    I’ll also say that I’ve kickstarted a handful of albums, and none of them came across as “begging” to me. It’s always been “We need money to record and/or produce this album, so who better to ask than the fans who want the music?”. And I also regularly buy albums on bandcamp. Not for $20 (unless it’s a CD or LP), but $5-10 is not unheard of or unreasonable for a digital download.

  • Joseph Barber

    Love. We know that people love us, family, friends, strangers on the street. We know it deep down but often times we need someone to tell us, just to reassure us that we aren’t alone. I was alone for maybe nine months after I lost a parent and never once did I ask for help, did I ask for love from the people around me. Eventually I collapsed and asked for help, and it was forthcoming. All the lovely people helped me through it and it is only because of their love that I’m still alive, I just wish I had asked for it so long ago.

  • Jen

    When I lived in the States I had to claw and fight my way up to get what I wanted, because I didn’t know how to ask. It totally worked, and since expatriating (15 years ago) I’ve had no problem asking for help, and everything I’ve achieved in my life so far has been because of both friends and strangers propping me up. Now there’s nothing wrong with doing it on your own and fighting for what you want, but it did make me a much harder person, because I got myself into battle mode any time I needed something to get where I wanted to be. If I had been better at asking in the right way it’s possible I wouldn’t have had to lose so much of my softer side to get where I am.

  • McFluffkins

    I would ask for a chance. A shot at something. Even if/though I’m not qualified. Try me. Let me. Teach me; I love to learn. I’m not nearly as afraid of failing as I am of being told that it’s not worth it to give me a go at something.

    Consequently… I never ask for a chance, and I’ve trapped myself.

  • tootles

    I’m so used to be in the position of the ‘helper’ that I usually try to also be my own helper.. which can turn out to be pretty disastrous (in case you fail to help yourself, you are prone to a lot of self-deprecating thoughts). I know a bunch of people that go by this philosophy: “I can help myself, thank you very much!” and it defeats the whole purpose of genuine, vulnerable way of asking for help. You need others to help in order to feel that you are part of a larger scheme, to feel connected, to experience true self-worth (you cannot do everything for yourself, you have to learn to accept that if you are the afraid-of-asking-in-case-your-request-is-rejected type), true feelings of togetherness and, generally, a balanced emotional life.

    I grew up with my grandparents, my mother and my older sister. When my grandfather died (he was the staple that held the reins in terms of the family’s well-being) I felt the need to be the go-to person in the house, the balanced one, the logical one that listened carefully to everyone’s opinion and weighed in with advice. I cultivated this attitude since I was 12 and it ran amok without me paying real attention to it, if it was right or wrong, it just amplified and took over basically every relationship I went into. It got to the point where it ran automatically. Friends asked for help, advice – of whatever nature – I was there. Then it became clear that it was unhealthy. I felt that no one understood when I was in trouble, because I never let it show. I did not know HOW to ask for help. I was so immersed in other people’s issues that mine were kept in the ‘dark room’, ready to engage me violently whenever I spent more time alone. These thoughts were like desperate elves that needed to interact with others, but all they got was a mind-cage that sunk them into a hole by whatever means possible. Point is, problems need to be shared, otherwise they can cause disasters (and this you can see in any tragedy that’s going on in the world).

    So, in my case, I have started to view asking as a necessity, to keep reminding myself to ask for help, that it is a real option, that you have to let your worries engage with others and create bridges between consciousnesses.

    I wish I asked for the small things at the right time so I didn’t have to ask for, almost demand for, the big things, before I realized what was going on. Things like understanding, empathy, compassion, for my friends to get used to listening to what I have to say for more than 2 minutes at a time. It can start looking pretty dramatic to others when you jump straight to the bigger things. There’s this build up that becomes unmanageable when you keep a storage of issues and you do not ask for help at the right moment.

    It is important to become aware of the extent to which you can help yourself and to be concious that you need to let others in on whatever you are going through. You also help others when you let them help you.

  • DefaultAllyson

    My first, impulsive response was to say I should have asked for help. Help is a vague word, but perhaps it need to be. If I had known what kind of help I needed I could have attempted to find it on my own. So I guess asking for help is asking someone else what they think you need. It could have been useful to gain perspective – it you ask the right person/people anyway.

  • falconbridge

    There’s a lot of things I would ask but nothing I would ask for. Maybe a mention at my mom’s funeral but since I was so distressed I didn’t hear anything that was or was not being said. I just heard from everyone afterwards, “why weren’t you mentioned?”

  • Alex Vassilakos

    I wish that I’d asked for a chance to speak up before everything was ruined.

  • Karan

    I do not know. And this makes me choke on my tears.

  • Emily Buresh

    I wish I was able to find helpful advice from other professional artists when I was younger. It has taken me a very long time to realize my passion is for music and painting as a career choice, but the advice I had gotten when I was younger was from non-creative people telling me to stifle my dreams for a paycheck even if it’s minimal. The beauty of the internet is that now I can find good advice and also help others who are seeking support. Plus, I have gained the confidence to tell people who give negative advice to “Go fuck yourself, this IS my career”

  • Wolfgang

    I would reinforce what people have said about power, and communication: if you ask, you see eye to eye, you communicate between equals. if you beg, you have to give that away. I guess there is a reason why people beg on the knees, from a lower level.

    Out there somewhere there must be a similiar image for making demands, and where that puts you. A high horse, I guess?

  • iFr4g

    A Second Chance.

    Whilst I am relatively happy with where I am in my life, I do wonder what it could have been like if I had tried just that bit harder.

    A phrase that has followed me through all of my school life is “You have the potential but you do not apply it”, I have been told this over and over again throughout school and college, but I never listened to it, I felt I was doing OK. In the middle of secondary school I developed a gaming addiction, lost real friends and put off events with my family so I could game. Of course this also meant that my education also suffered, I would put off homework so I could game and I ended up doing the bare minimum to get a pass grade, this would annoy some of my friends, especially when it came to exams when I would get better marks than them even though I never did much in class.

    Because I didn’t try harder at college, I didn’t get the grades to go to University, I finished college with an A-level in Media Studies and an AS-level in Music (I barely passed music even though I play the saxophone). I was very fortunate to be employed by my college as an IT technician on the basis I did a distance learning degree in IT along with my job, I came to realise that my employer did not track my progress with my degree and I got lazy. This would cause me to rush my essays on the final day, on most occasions asking my tutor for extensions as I had forgot to do the work, usually I’d make some bullshit excuse up. I ended up quitting my degree hoping that my employer would not question how I was doing.

    Eventually my laziness was my downfall and I was given two separate disciplinary actions for breaking company rules, forcing me to look for a new job before the brown stuff hit the fan.

    It was at this point that I realised it all needs to change, I found myself a new job working in a call centre doing support for “Chip and Pin” machines, two years later I got a position further up the company software testing, I like the people I work with but most days I do not enjoy the job. The job pays well and I work hard at it but most days I wonder where I would be now if I tried harder in school like a lot of my friends did, working in jobs they love and enjoy.

    Apologies if there are grammatical issues, English was never my strongest subject at school.

  • Laura

    I wish I’d asked for help when I needed it.

    I wish I’d been taught that it was acceptable to ask for anything, ever.

    But also, I wish I’d been taught that it was OK to ask for non-essential things that I just plain wanted. Things that might have resulted in love, or joy, or beautiful experiences.

    But I was raised to think that all asking was begging, and that wanting things was frivolous.

    I wish I’d asked whether my feelings were reciprocated. I wish I’d asked for more. I wish I’d realized earlier than I didn’t need an “excuse” to ask. I wish I’d realized how many of my loved ones were just waiting for me to ask them for something, anything. And that my seemingly never needing anything made our relationships feel unequal to them, like they were “needier” than me.

    I wish I’d been taught that asking wasn’t automatically “needy” and than needy was a bad thing.

    Lucky I’ve got the rest of my life to ask ask ask ;)

  • Chloe Trammel

    I think this is a really good question, AFP. I love words and their meanings, and this was an interesting exercise to think of the difference between these two words as I see it.

    About the word “begging”…I don’t think it necessarily has to have a negative connotation, to asking’s rather simple or neutral connotation in comparison. And here’s why…

    Googling produces this definition for “beg”: “To ask earnestly or humbly for something”, synonymous with words like “entreat”, “plead”, “appeal”, etc. These are words I normally think of when one is trying to convey sincerity to the person they’re asking, or to convey that it is of a more urgent importance to you than usual that the request be fulfilled.


    “I asked her for money” vs “I begged her for money”

    “I asked him to stop” vs “I begged him to stop”

    “I asked for forgiveness” vs “I begged for forgiveness”

    I suppose how we perceive the word “begged” in these sentences all depends on how we perceive the motives of the “beggar”.

    I think people see “begging” as “soliciting” when the motive behind the request seems insincere or misaligned — if they view “the beggar” as underserving of the request they’re making. In the creative world, it seems that this is especially the case if the request is for things that sustain: inspiration, acceptance, stability, support, opportunity, sustenance, money.

    With this opinion in mind, here’s how I think I would answer your original question:

    Asking is making a request.

    Begging is asking with a deeper intent.

    To determine whether or not it is “right” or “wrong” to beg, I think that the intent should be identified and considered in its context.

    Anyways, that’s what I think. I love reading everyone else’s thoughts…people are awesome!

  • Lauren Eldekvist

    I wish I had asked for the things I truly wanted and not the things other people believed I should want.

  • Kjersti Dahle

    i wish i had asked for some time alone with my mother’s dead body. i was eleven and she had died of a year long battle with cancer. her skin was yellow. she was wearing a dress and a wig. and i was just completely full and completely empty at the same time, and all my family was standing around us as i brushed her hand with mine. my older brother gave her a hug. i hadn’t even wanted to go in to say goodbye at all, but dad said i had to, and now i just wish i had asked to say goodbye in private. i don’t know why, i don’t know if it would have changed everything, but at least the memory would be something other than being stared at while touching that yellowed, broken skin, not daring to take the time i really needed.

    • Birte Valkyrje

      I wish I could hug you right now.

  • Ruben Suarez

    A kiss.

  • Ruben Suarez

    A hug from my father. Not that he never hugged me, because he sometimes did. But I never came to him and asked directly for a hug. Because I didn’t think I needed one, and it never occured to me that he did need a hug. We always can use a hug from our loved ones, but, more importantly, they need one from us. To show that we care, that we are as fragile as them and that, together, we are stronger, even for that brief moment of embracing. And then he died, and I was only eleven. I thought I was a very independent boy. And I never asked him to hug me.

  • Waterlover

    I wish I’d asked, “Do you want me to stay?”

  • CoinOperatedBear

    I wish I asked for more artists to collaborate with on any of my projects really. Since school is starting in the morning, perhaps I’ll get a chance to :D

  • Molly Katheryn

    I wish I had asked for: the truth of others’ experiences; a hug from my parents so I’d feel comfortable asking for hugs from my friends in the future; advice, more often than not; anything, from the people who are gone, now; my ring, before the door closed; and toilet paper, at least a time or two.

  • Annie Sikander

    I wish I’d asked more people if they were really okay when they said they were, but didn’t look it all. I wish I’d asked for things I’d genuinely wanted, not out of greed, but because it would’ve meant figuring out my self-worth when I most needed it. I wish I’d asked for forgiveness from people I’ve done wrong, when I still had the chance.

  • holly troy

    I wish I simply asked him if he loved me.

  • kaypea

    I wish I had asked for forgiveness instead of assuming I would not get it. I was afraid of the no and by not asking, I already have that and I run away from it. I didn’t give them the choice to choose and that makes me sad. Because even if they say no, at least I could have been brave enough to ask and I would have given them enough respect to be able to choose for themselves. I took their choice away when I didn’t ask for forgiveness. I wish I hadn’t.

  • Danielle B.

    My answer isn’t what I wished I had asked for, but what I wished I had been given because it’s now too late to ask for it.

    I wish I had been given more knowledge about personal finance. I wish my parents would have explained credit and credit cards and debt and interest rates and budgets and saving and goals. I wish my parents would have encouraged me to take a personal finance course in college, rather than telling me that I should double major and literature and business because I wouldn’t be able to get a job with just a literature degree. And then perhaps I would have taken that one personal finance course and I wouldn’t find myself at 30 years old, making nearly $50k but barely–and I mean barely–making it paycheck to paycheck with more debt than I should have seeing as how my debt is no where related to student loans and I can’t look at anything (except the house I bought last year that I love but maybe shouldn’t have bought but it was such a great deal) and say, “Oh these great things right here are why I owe various financial organizations a combined amount of $22k.” And while I have never been late with a payment and I always pay the minimum, if not more, I can’t seem to ever stay below $20k.

    Okay. So maybe my answer is that I wish I had asked for help figuring out how to navigate the grown-up world of credit cards and financial awareness.

    But also I wonder would that have made a difference since I was undiagnosed with bipolar until the age of 28 and one of the side effects of mania is not having impulse control and not being good with money.

    Perhaps then my real answer is that I wish I had asked my parents to have me evaluated for ADHD when I was in high school/just out of high school because I knew I was ADHD and when I finally went for that diagnosis, that’s when I was diagnosed bipolar and that’s when I began understanding why I would spend $150 at Target on a biweekly basis months at a time and why I gave into the idea of buying a car for more than I could afford–but really I could….but no I couldn’t–and also why I went to grad school for two years only to drop out (without telling my committee) right at the end when I was 2/3 of the way through my thesis.

    So, if I had asked for my parents to take me to get evaluated for ADHD…would I still be me? Would I still be me, but without “average/explainable” debt and with a savings account that had more than $75 a month in it because that’s how much is automatically transferred from my checking account?

    I don’t know. It seems to me that wishing I had asked something is the same as having regrets. We all have them, but if we spend too much time regretting those things we regret, we lose sight of the fact that we wouldn’t be the same person we are today or even living in the same place or even loving the same people and then we would spend too much time thinking of those things that could have been and making ourselves miserable instead of paying attention to those things that are and that are wonderful.

    And then, perhaps this is the reason I can tell my girlfriend I only live in the here and now and next two months and why I get freaked out thinking about the future because what if things don’t live up to that and I spend too much time thinking about perfect fantasies and miss out on the imperfect now.

  • Guest

    I wish I would ask for help more. (Present tense on purpose.) I was brought up in a household where asking for help was a sign of weakness, sometimes even an offense that needed to be punished.

    Now, my husband is a disabled veteran, so I’m the strong one. There are days when he can’t support my emotional needs because he has his own to deal with. But still, I can’t bring myself to ask my friends for help, and I suffer in silent misery. I bottle it all up, and if I’m lucky, after he’s asleep, I’ll cry myself to sleep.

    There are days I am screaming, “Somebody help me!” in my head, but never say it out loud. Instead, I check Facebook, and I check Twitter, and I hope that someone notices me.

  • Ruthie Whalen

    It all comes down to context- as I have been taught context is decisive. When making a request for something–what is your context? If it is community– then what’s the opportunity not only for you but for the person you are speaking to. An opportunity allows us all to grow and learn from each other.

  • Kimberly Santini

    I wish I had asked myself for permission to be authentic long before I figured out it was entirely ok to not be a cookie cutter version of insert-your-own-label-here. I would not, therefore, have had to ask for forgiveness as often as I did when younger.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I had asked earlier for help when I was depressed. I was depressed because I couldn’t get pregnant, and because I was depressed I was self destructive, and not eating, which kept me from getting pregnant. Breaking out of that cycle was impossible without help. Now I’m a new mom and healthier than I’ve been in years!

  • Marzipans11

    I wish I’d asked him to talk to me.

    (Note: not begged. :P)

  • Ciara Baker

    I know I’m a little late on this, but I just moved to a new city, going to a new college. Right now I’m having a lot of trouble asking.. basically.. for friendship. For kindness. I don’t know many people around here, and I’d love to get into the action with everyone, But when I’m in class or sitting on campus, I can’t bring myself to say hello to anyone. Everyone looks so busy, and I feel so silly asking for help with being social, especially when upper class men get annoyed with freshman and their questions. (I feel even more annoying because I transferred as a sophomore) But every day I go home regretting I didn’t attempt to talk to very many people.

  • Meegan Cloughley

    What do I wish I had asked for? When I was 17, and trying to speak out against the sexual abuse from my grandfather, tried to ask for help to stop the rapes which number over 400 by that stage, I was ignored by my teachers, by the police and by the children services, because of my age I slipped through the cracks. When my fellow peers found out about what I was saying I then became the “grandfather fucker”, was asked if I spit or swallow, how much I got paid and other such offensive comments.
    I gave up, I gave up on life and gave up on humanity, I tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide and to this day considering the amount of tablets I took am unsure how I survived. I gave up on the belief that I was a worthy person to have a normal life, and that I deserved to be nothing more than the oxygen thief I was described to be.
    Sorry I wanted to put some context to my answer.
    I wish I had begged for help, I wish I had yelled at the top of my lungs for help, I wish I had screamed, and thrown tantrums. I wish that I had the courage to take a knife and remove my grandfathers penis the next time he decided to use me for his perverse sexual pleasure. I wish someone had opened their ears and eyes.

    In some ways, I wish I had asked God to let me have peace.

    • iFr4g

      I hope you are in a better place nowadays and that that person (he doesn’t deserve the name “grandfather”) has paid for what he did to you. I found 17 such a difficult age because it’s the inbetween part of life, you’re not considered a child/teenager but you’re not considered an adult. I hope whatever comfort you have found, whether it be therapy or belief is helping/helped you through the ordeal and let you live a “normal” life, whatever that is.

  • ShellA

    When I was 16 and I had the bastard black dog of depression cornering me at every turn, I should have asked for help. Through my own stupidity I demanded help off those I loved instead. Why are you not taking the pain away? Why won’t you make it all better? I grew up and finally asked (softly and with feeling)- please can you help me? And that was when I was ready to embrace the love they were always willing to provide.

  • cobra427

    So I’m late to the party and I hope you are still reading comments.

    This relates more to the previous blog about asking and begging – I know that your TED talk was called the art of asking but I don’t actually think you asking or begging. You are trading, most of the people who donated to your kickstarter didn’t give you something for nothing, I imagine that most of the money came from people who bought packages. Even if they didn’t they were investing in your music which gives them something in return. When you talk about being a street performer, same thing, they gave you money in exchange for a connection. With crowd-sourcing musicians same thing, you are giving them access to a fan base and support for their art. In my opinion there hasn’t really been any asking, it is more like a free trade system in which each party chooses what is suitable value for the trade of what each side is bringing to the table.

    I have been to many of your shows and I have watched many of your signings, I have witnessed first hand the effect that your music, can and, has had on peoples lives. I think that the people who donate money to you are just thanking you in their own way. Not so much that you are asking for people’s help but more that they are thanking you for whatever you give to them.

  • Amelia

    I wish I asked for people close to me to stop doing things that hurts me. When someone’s doing something that hurts me, I’m afraid to tell them to stop because of the response I might receive. For example: I have a friend who pokes fun at me and I know they don’t mean it but, sometimes, it really does start to hurt because it reminds me of every other bad thing a someone who meant it has said to me. But I’m scared that if I tell them to stop, they’ll claim, “It’s just my way of showing affection.” and I will kind of take away one of their only forms of showing their love for me. I know this is a ridiculous fear and I should take more charge but it’s hard.

    Then, there’s other important people in my life that do things which wound me greatly but it’s things that even if I asked for them to stop, they would say they can’t or deny the problem. For example: an alcoholic family member who’d rather spread their misery than get real help or try to live positively.

  • BookTree

    a hug and comfort. In those moments when I felt like my worst enemy I used to seclude myself from the people around me; when being asked “what’s wrong?” I put on a smile and said “everything is fine” until the person stopped asking; I often thought “who am I to feel sad and whiny when so many other people are worse off”; I guess I considered myself weak; but in the end all I wanted was a hug, the chance to cry and being told that everything’s gonna be okay.

  • iFr4g

    I wish I had asked for more stories.

    I don’t feel like I knew my great-grandparents as well as I could have. From the stories I have heard so far my great-grandfather came from nothing and made something of himself, apparently the church paid for his studies and he became one of the top biologists at Kew Gardens in London.

    I think, and the family thinks he worked for the government during WWII, he was an air-raid warden but he would never talk about it to my grandmother or my father, I would have hoped if I had asked him about his time in WWII I would have learnt a lot.

    Unfortunately, I only started asking lots of questions to my grandparents about their lives about 5 years after my great-grandfather died and I regret not asking my great-grandparents the same questions.

  • http://@leah_v leah_v

    I wish I asked that cowgirl for another dance.

  • Lady

    This is far more specific than many of the other ones, and I doubt that it matters all too much.

    I work with horses. Currently, I am paid to do so professionally.

    One of the things I wish I had done was ask for fair wages at some of the first few jobs I worked. In the horse world, it’s common for many young women and men to work for excessively low wages (below minimum wage) or solely in exchange for riding time at unfair rates. In the past I had been too insecure to ask for something better. I was afraid that I wasn’t appreciating my employers enough–that I had to earn the right to earn a living wage. I spent years working full time in barns, barely making enough money to scrape by, because if I asked for a living wage or more riding time I had an “entitlement problem.”

    I could have saved myself a lot of strife had I just asked for more and been direct about it. I would imply that I wanted more, and hope they offered it of their own accord. Nobody ever did. I genuinely do feel as though I could have been learning and getting a lot more experience under my belt had I bothered to ask for more in exchange. When you’re working 60+ hours a week at $5 an hour (in terms of services) just to spend time on a horse, while going home to work a job for money to pay the bills, you know you’re passionate about something.

    Not asking for more in exchange is what kept me near poverty for a very long time and kept me from reaching my goals faster. I would tell other people that if they wish to get better at something they dream to do, ask around, and keep asking until you find someone who will say yes to your terms.

  • Olga B

    I wish I would have asked “can I help you?” more often. I’ve been in countless situations throughout my life where I was confronted with people needing help, wherever it was an old lady who couldn’t lift the bag of potatoes into her shopping cart or someone crying in public. I’m ashamed to says that more often than not, I looked away and didn’t say anything. It always felt highly uncomfortable to me to approach people in a moment of weakness, which was how pain appeared to me. It felt as though I was overstepping some line and entering a zone where I wasn’t welcome or needed. It made me feel vulnerable.
    It’s silly, considering that we all hurt and cry and need help at some point and pretending otherwise is futile. We need each other, wherever we like it or not, and there is no shame in asking for help if you need it. Whereas the impulse to reach out and help is a beautiful thing, while it does initiate a strong sense of closeness, if only for that moment.

  • francesco

    What I wished to have asked once, some time ago: Will you go out with me?

  • veeee

    clarity/reasons/truth, whatever you call it. But maybe the answers scared me, so I left things unsaid, floating away. (of course, this has a lot to do with old friend low self-esteem).
    I’m learning to get better. I’m learning to ask.

  • Bexbob

    I find it interesting that in an ever more material world most people wish they had asked for something of emotional rather than material value. Makes me wonder if we haven’t become a society that is expert at asking and answering all the wrong questions.

    How many times do we meet someone and ask what they do to make money, or where they live?

    The implication being that the answer puts them somehow on our map of social strata and we don’t value all human beings equally.

    How many times do people make a request and we ask ourselves what’s the angle here?

    The implication being that no request could be an honest and straightforward.

    We ask lots of questions every day, both mentally and aloud, but how many of them are the right ones?

    Maybe it’s not what I wished I asked that is important, but the questions I wished I hadn’t.

  • Viaka

    I wish I had asked (and even now, wish I had the strength to ask) to not be treated like a human being instead of a thing. I’ve dealt with mental illness basically my whole life, but I’ve always been treated as broken, damaged, pitiful (as in, literally to-be-pitied), or such a colossal fuck-up that I’m below all the “real” people.

    • Hunchie

      *whispers* I think you are a real person! hang in there.

  • Piper Shepherd

    I wish I had asked more people in tough positions to relax and think rather than empathizing with them beyond the point of being able to solve anything.

    I wish I had asked more people for outlets to help myself instead of open ears to enable me to keep dwelling on an issue.

  • Monica

    Time. An extension for my last term of college so I could spend more time with my mother while she died. She didn’t tell me how sick she was so I could focus and finish school and she could see me do it. I did, she saw me do it, but in retrospect I wish I would have asked if it was okay if I just sat on the couch with her all day. I could have got her tea and she could have told me about her life.
    And now I’m sitting on a beanbag in the corner of a room at this hostel and Lost is playing through my headphones and I’m crying because yes. Time. I would have asked for more time with the person I loved the most.

  • Stephanie Bartley

    Apart from a hug from you the other night?

    I was going to say help, lord knows there have been times I
    needed it. I’ve attempted suicide more times that I care to recall, self-harmed
    hundreds maybe thousands of times since I was 7, but I know why I didn’t ask
    for help, I would have to open myself up (haha emotionally not physically this
    time) in much the same way that caused the problem to begin with. I’m good now
    and haven’t self-harmed in a long time, but even knowing what I know now, I
    still wouldn’t have asked for help.

    Real advise/information about sex and sexuality but I’m not
    sure where I could have gone to ask. Sex was taboo in my family and while I was
    handed a book covering the physical theory of intercourse, I never had exposure
    to anything related to sex (even the TV show friends was off-limits) and when
    it came to sexuality, as far as my mum was concerned, it was OK for other
    people to choose to be gay, but I couldn’t. It’s taken a while but I think I’ve
    nearly got it figured out.

    In considering all the other major events of my life, I
    guess I’m fortunate to not be able to think of anything else I wished I’d asked
    for. Life is good for me now and asking for anything up until this point may
    have changed the direction of my life entirely and while that wouldn’t
    necessarily be bad or any worse than my current position, that’s a gamble I’d
    not be willing to take.

  • Moxie

    what do you wished you’d asked for sounds like a regret, which I try not to do, regrets can eat away at you.
    Asking for something can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I always say, if you don’t ask you don’t do it, what’s the worst that can happen? they say no & you carry on.

  • JCLove

    I wish I could ask for help more often. I realized the main reason I don’t ask for help is because I’m embarrassed. I was born the hydrocephalus ( water on the brain) and I been trying to prove to people I’m worthy of being with them ever since i was born. I ask a bunch of questions almost non stop, cause I’m slightly hyperverbal but never for help. Because of Hydrocephalus I was left with some learning disabillites and eventhough I’m pretty comfy with who I’m and my problems….but I don’t ask for help because my peers would laugh and bully me if they found out why I need help. I don’t think any of my Friendster teachers know i’m dysgraphic( I write slowly) or that i have a hard time reading. Instead of asking for help I push myself to hide them and spend hours working to hide the disabillites.. They don’t know that it takes me two hours to read 16 pages in a history textbook or that i have trouble writing …all because I’m afraid to ask for help. Also a lot of people don’t understand that just because I’m smart does not mean I don’t help and they think that I ‘m lying because I’m smart therefore I not learning disabled and need accommodations and help. So I guess I’m a coward for not asking for help. – J.C.L

  • Bck


  • B

    A few years ago, a teacher asked me If a student In a wheelchair could sit with me and my friends because she sits alone….I said why not. So the next day I saw her sitting alone again I wanted to tell her to sit with us but I was too shy and awkward to ask her to sit with us…sadly weeks and months dragged on and I never asked or offered her to sit with us and she always sat alone…I felt soooo bad but I myself was shy teenage nerdy dork . I will always regret never asking her sit with us. I wish I asked for her friendship.

  • riita

    Like many said below – help and guidance. When I was young I never had any guidance and neither did I ask for help out of fear of being laughed at. I was trying to figure out everything myself – sometimes that can work (but takes much longer), but often it doesn’t. You either get it wrong, or it gets you nowhere.

    Don´t be afraid to ask for help or advice or anything else you might need. Do it before it is too late, or else you will find yourself begging (which brings this back to question 1). I know what I am talking about because now, way too many years too late, I am trying to solve my situation I should have dealt with years ago. I finally asked for help. And yes, I ended up begging.

    I feel desperate, helpless, stripped naked and ashamed of myself. I know I cannot go lower than this. Yet, I am giving it a try because I feel it is my last chance.

  • guestwalker

    Like said below – help and guidance. When I was young, I didn’t get much guidance and I never asked anybody for help out of fear of being laughed at. I was trying to figure out everything for myself – sometimes that can work (but takes longer), but often it doesn’t. You either get it wrong, or it gets you nowhere.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice or anything you might need. Do it before it is to late, or else you will find yourself begging (which brings this back to question 1).

    I know it because now, way too many years too late, I finally asked for help with my problem. Needless to say, I ended up begging. I simply missed the right time.

    I feel desperate, helpless, stripped naked and ashamed of myself. I could not go lower than this. Yet, I give it a try because I feel this is my last chance.

    • guestwalker

      and sorry for double post. thought I did not post it the first time.

  • lcp

    I wish I’d asked my (then) friends to bear with me, to stay with me, to contact me and be persistent about it, when I was sliding down into the agony that is a combination of depression and burnout.

    I didn’t manage to answer the phone for a while back then, I said no when people asked me if I wanted to do something with them (if I did answer at all). Slowly but surely people probably felt rejected. They eventually stopped calling and texting and mailing. By the time I was getting better again, their friendship was a distant memory. Mostly I was too embarrassed to call back many months later. Some had moved away, many had different numbers and/or e-mail addresses. Only very very few friends from before that time remained. And it’s not even that only those were true friends. The others were too. I’m sure they’d still be my friends if I had managed to ask.

  • Riajj, Defender of Time

    I wish I had asked for… acceptance. My family is evangelical, and at fourteen I suddenly decided that I was agnostic. I did not give a hint of this idea to anyone for years, and continued going to church, etc., going through the motions, screaming bloody rebellion in my head. I don’t regret my lack of belief. I never felt that I was anything but accepted. But I wish I asked for a full, unmeasured acceptance of myself, including the uncomfortable bits and the broken pieces.

  • KAOS

    A hug.
    Being helt really tight by a person whom I trust, who could have changed a feeling bad moment into a wonderful memory… Instead of me being to proud and him being too…not sure, caught in his own world and us both just sitting like two strangers opposite of each other.
    Guess if I’d have asked, it might have changed the moment for both of us.

  • Hardly Shakespeare

    My sexuality. I didn’t ask to be this way. If i did, maybe it would be easier. I don’t talk about it anymore because I’m scared of the Help. Once you ask for it, people believe they have the right to say what they want, do what they want….the age-old adage: Helping or Hurting.

  • Matches Malone

    Clearly, I’m tuning in late to the conversation, and whatever I say may have already been said elsewhere….

    Having said that, it looks to me that everyone really feels the same, and it comes downto, asking is once or twice, and begging is asking again and again, to the point of annoyance. Someone mentioned the anonymity factor of going the Kickstarter route, and this has maybe changed my mind about using either that or Indiegogo in the future, however, at the same time, I still feel my field is saturated, and it’s not clear to me how to get myself above the general noise level, and the begging aspect.

    I do agree that there are probably many paths, and that simply because you haven’t seen the movies I’ve made, doesn’t mean they aren’t any good, or worthy of being funded properly.

  • Becca P.

    I wish I’d asked for the truth, and earlier than after it was too late.

  • Elli Angel

    In all honesty, if I could wish for anything it’d be for someone to have taught me how to ask.

    When I was younger, I was one of those kids that felt satisfied with all they had and never asked for more. While I was growing up, I was quite independent, really shy and with only a few friends, but feeling truly ok with that. As a teenager I was struggling to find a place where I would fit in; but I didn’t want to “bother” anyone. Tapping on someone’s shoulder and asking felt like being annoying. I didn’t want people to think I’m annoying. And I thought I was doing a fine job being on my own. Right now, being an adult, I realise that it was never fine. But I also realise that it is a bit late. I have trouble trusting someone with my thoughts and feelings, giving and taking, the magic of intimacy. I feel awkward amongst awkward people. I’ve gotten better at making conversation with strangers, but when it comes to asking it creeps me out! I don’t like asking like I don’t like being asked to do things. And this links back to the previous question, asking and begging; I think people should only voluntarily give, and the person who receives should not push. But they should show they want something, right? How is this done without prying, I have no fucking clue.

    (Things I would’ve asked for: Someone to talk to. Hard to do because people hardly ever listen.)

  • If wishes were fishes

    AFP summed up a comment saying:
    asking = trust
    begging = fear

    Earlier I was a guniea pig for my music therapy friend, and she posed the thought, “what is it that you want to say to someone, but haven’t?”

    Now you ask, “what do you wish we’d asked for?”

    I wish I’d asked for space. I wish you had been safe to be close to. I wish you could have seen through my mask, and I wish you had asked me to take it off. I wish you had asked me what I needed.

    It hardly took a question to get you ranting.
    I wish I had asked less about you. I wish I had spoken up for me.

  • miss u

    I wish I’d asked him if he wanted to go to prom.

  • Foots

    um … as a corollary to yesterday’s comments … if Amanda is giving us the option of paying for her music with the option that the answer from us could be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and NIN are demanding payment with, when the answer is ‘no’, the message ‘well, go fuck yourselves’ … then who is asking and who is begging – really?

    In terms of what I wish I’d asked for – well, I did. I asked for help for my son when it was clear things weren’t right – and I was constantly and patronizingly told I didn’t know best. I wish I wouldn’t just have asked – I wish I’d have demanded, thrown tantrums … anything.

  • demonfaceandnod

    To lay with my head in her lap and cry.

  • KirraQ

    Like The Beatles song……

  • KirraQ

    And in relation to the the crowd funding/label discussion.
    I think this is similar to how current people work. Some have permanent jobs with big companies, others have their own business, some people work contract/consulting jobs. BUT generally we have many different jobs in our working life now (as the research shows and we are told in the media), so why wouldn’t this apply to musicians/artists? They can change the way they work just like us.
    (In the last 10 years of working after finishing uni I’ve worked a mixture of hourly paid/ contract/ casual/permanent/part time jobs already).

  • Cynthia Hathaway

    I wish I had asked my mother for her forgiveness, for honoring her wish to be allowed to die as illnesses piled misery into the holes it left in her life, and for being her voice in that wish after she was no longer able to speak for herself. She extracted my promise to do this (she asked, with a lifetime of emotion; I did not make her beg) and I saw it through. But I can’t forgive myself. I wish I had asked her to do this. I did not want to make her cry again. I thought I was strong enough but it turns out that’s not quite true.

    On a more positive note, learning to ask has been the greatest lesson of my adult life by far, and it has turned my 20-year relationship from a messy sack of silent, unfulfilled desires and unpredictable betrayal into a satisfying, trustworthy ship in which to navigate the world’s trials and wonders. I ask for the simplest things and receive them – please tell me I’m beautiful and capable from time to time; please tell me you won’t leave today – and I have let go of the guilt for wanting that. We both know it’s OK if the answer to a request is “no, I can’t do that” sometimes, and that there is no hidden agenda. Nobody needs to guess. It opens up another door entirely.

  • Jeffery Maxwell Rawson

    Even with reserves of inner strength and presence of mind you forget that your reserves of Hope are topped up by people other than yourself. it’s like the company you keep when you’re not keeping company.

  • Andres

    I wish I had asked for more people to do things WITH me. I would have been more prepared for rejection, less afraid of disappointment and more empowered to go for what I wanted… alone and/or with others.

  • Hunchie

    for love and forgiveness of myself much sooner than I granted it. Taking more time for me than trying to please every one else. It took a long time until I realized my own self sabotage. It still may be hard to recognize at times. damn wolf in sheeps clothing. But then again, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am if I had rec’d that earlier. Then fuck it….I should asked for that second piece of awesome pie.

  • Corina

    I wish I had asked my dad for his insights and, more importantly, his blessings on my marriage before it took place almost a year ago. I am a girl, I married a girl, yet that doesn’t seem to be the biggest issue surrounding it. I knew there was something he was uncomfortable with a year ago, and I never had the courage to ask. I was always daddy’s little girl, especially in the past decade as I have grown into adulthood (I’m in my late 20’s now). Now this is the most awkward year I have ever had with my father – we barely even speak. His words and encouragement mean so much to me, but now I feel that everything I do, if I tell him about it, it’s not good enough because it’s not what he would do. Now I have been battling with depression, and I feel like his lack of enthusiasm for my life, my career, my living situation has a lot to do with how I am feeling. It’s not too late to talk to him about it, but I feel that asking him at the beginning would have been much easier than it is now that the issues have piled up.

  • Joseph Harrington

    The thing I wish I had asked for he most is for someone to tell me what to do. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to forge this bold and unique path that I’ve never wanted to stop and ask for directions. Now that I’m at this tremendous crossroads in my life (close to finishing school and setting myself on a “career path”) I can’t help but feel lost. I’ve tried to do what I wanted to do for so long that I’ve neglected valuable advice or even right out contradicted it for the sake of coming of as self-sufficient. Turns out it is indeed very easy to get lost when you’re unwilling to ask for directions.

  • Di.

    This is going to sound cheesy. When I was 12 I wanted so badly to kiss a certain boy. We danced once at a kids disco and I nearly asked him for a kiss. We were friends. I thought maybe one day… Well about 6 months later he hanged himself in his bedroom. Just before the exams. I’m an adult now but I never really wanted to kiss anyone else. There are no second chances kids.

  • Anon

    I wish I’d asked for if an appeal was possible before accepting that I had to leave a Ph.D. program I’d been working on for three years. It was probably the right decision to leave (the program is having a lot of problems, and is not doing a good job supporting students), but I have these nagging doubts that I gave up too easily and that I won’t be able to get into another Ph.D. program that’s a better fit for me.

  • ML

    Help. I wish I had asked for help sooner. I’ve always struggled with my ADHD. It even made me give some of my dreams up. I changed and took up new goals, started pursuing new dreams, but I stil wish I had asked for help sooner. I would have gotten it. My family is great, and so are my friends. And I knew all this. I knew they’d help, but I was ashamed of something no one should ever be. If you need help, ask.

  • Ladle

    I wish I’d asked for my abuser to leave me alone. I was well within my rights to demand it, but that would have been too much for me. I could at least have asked though. I was a polite kid. I would have said it nicely. Maybe he would have listened or maybe (probably) he wouldn’t have, but at least then I wouldn’t have spent years beating myself up for not opening my mouth and just giving it a try.

  • The Moon’s Daughter

    I grew up in a household of alcoholics – my mother and maternal grandmother – and would visit my alcoholic father (and my alcoholic uncles) about every other weekend. My best friend as a kid also had a lot of alcoholism in her household. I also have Cerebral Palsy. It was a rough time, and I did a lot of parenting the adults around me, but – because of the disability – I discounted so much of what I felt about my parents and other adults around me. They would tell me that I was “so sensitive,” “too sensitive,” when I would end up curled in a ball trying to make space between their chaos, their irresponsibility, and me. My father used to make me blow air into the Breathalyzer installed in his car so he could drive me around drunk. I was called horrible things when Mom was over the line. I just realized, just yesterday, at 25 years old, in therapy, that there’s nothing wrong with how I reacted to that situation – that I was not too sensitive, that I AM not too sensitive now. All of this to say that I wish I had asked someone else, someone outside of my situation, if any of the things that were going on in my life were normal. If someone had said no emphatically enough, maybe I would’ve realized sooner that my feelings and opinions were not to be dismissed so quickly.

  • tripleM

    I wish I’d ask myself for more self reflection when choosing my university course. I chose it hastily, and now with all the debt I’m in I wish I had taken a year off working before making such important decisions. I’m not even sure I like engineering anymore…
    I wish I’d ask myself for more self reflection on my feelings and that I knew how to express them better. I feel I’ve let a lot of people and opportunities go because I wasn’t able to express myself.
    I wish I’d ask myself for more self reflection on my opinions. I have a lot of difficulty forming my own opinion before reading three or four others. I wish I’d ask myself to think more about myself.

    • certainly not Clyde

      I wish I had asked what $80k+ really meant in real life before I had opted for university. I didn’t know at 17.

      I wish I had asked why I couldn’t take time off – I tried. I caved and kept going.

      Instead I’m just asking myself how much longer until the degree pays itself off so I can get out of this field, and whether it’ll happen before I break.

  • CharonPDX

    In the realm of “shameless plug”…

    The wonderful geek-folk duo “The Doubleclicks” (who opened for you in Portland last year at the Q Center fundraiser,) are doing a Kickstarter, and it’s going like gangbusters! (Search Kickstarter for “Doubleclicks” and “dimetrodon”, the name of the album they’re funding.)

  • BellePizza

    I wish I’d asked for a raise at work. I was being severely underpaid in a skilled profession (as a specialist instrumental teacher) I was working lots of unpaid hours, and I was being paid well under the going rate for music teachers. (My bosses were taking more than half the cut from each student!)

    Then again, I heard that another teacher working at the same school asked for a raise when she completed her music degree and they fired her for it.

    I still wish I’d just asked though, instead of sitting around being bitter about it 2 years after finally leaving.

  • librarianlibby

    I wish I would have asked for understanding. Work, family, friends.. Understand I’m busy, or Ineed help, or I’m not typical and I don’t do things in a typical manner. Please understand I’m just a lost weirdo trying to figure things out as best I can.

  • Melissa Yoes

    In asking you are giving an opportunity for someone else to give. Giving is as blessed an act as receiving and one, of course, could not exist without the other. Both can be experienced as a joining and as love. When I am asked, I go within and ask, and give the answer that comes from my heart. In this way I give from an inner wisdom that I trust more than the mind that just logically weighs things out. This has never failed to keep me in a clean place of giving (or not giving) without guilt. I think asking can come from the same place, without guilt or expectation.

  • Rob Goodman

    I wonder if Trent got burned by giving away The Slip for free. On one hand I agree. The new NIN album is a really fucking good album. You can hear the hard work that was put into it. There were many people involved in the creation all the way to the artwork and I’m sure all of those people didn’t volunteer for free. What he said may have meant to come out like “Come on you guys! Seriously! People gotta make a living here entertaining you”. On the other hand, there are better way to say it. When Trent gave away the Slip album it was basically “here’s my new album and thanks for your support”. Hard to say. I feel that artists should be supported in some way. We HAVE to support our own, I want Trent to have nice things for making such great music. But maybe they asked him on a bad day. Good discussion topic regardless.

  • Cliff

    I wish I’d asked to be left alone before people realised I have a hard time saying no and a mob of askers with no boundaries tore me apart like hungry zombies.

  • Jo

    So many things. I guess I regret not asking for help when I had an eating disorder (and had to deal with the consequences years later). But lately I wish I had asked for guidance (I am twenty something and very lost in general) from someone who could really help me. For example, I like writing but never really had anything published for fear of rejection and feeling that nothing’s good enough for others to see. I wish I had asked someone to just guide me so that I could get over my fears and be brave enough to express myself.

  • Fortunata

    I wish I’d asked to move when I had the chance.
    In second grade at a childhood friend’s house her father played a very intimate game of doctor with me. From that moment on I felt like my childhood was violently ripped away from me while I had absolutely no say in the matter. My mother didn’t believe me when I first told her, the father told my parents I was misbehaving, and in result I shut down. I refused to remember it or even tell anyone about it for years,
    I first attempted suicide when I was ten years old. I didn’t exactly know that that’s what it was called, but I did know that I wanted the end result to be death. Marks would periodically appear on my arms and legs in the forms of bruises, cuts, burns, and scrapes, mostly self inflicted in one way or another. I struggled with my sense of self for years, feeling like my innocence was ripped away in one quick brush of a mans hand. All of this before I even reached high school.
    In eighth grade my family had an opportunity to move to Ohio for my fathers job. My mother didn’t want to move too far away from her parents and my sister wanted to be able to attend her senior year at our local high school. When I was asked what my opinion was, I just shrugged.
    I always wished I had asked to move. My demons surrounded me where I lived. They lived down the street and around the corner, in the schools, at my dance recitals. Until this past year I racked up countless suicide attempts, several scars, and learned the side effects of several different anti-depressants. I asked for help, I asked for support, I asked for all of these things. The one thing that I should have asked for, the one thing I will always wish I asked for was to move. To leave the city that caused me so much mental and emotional distress. I will never forgive myself for not asking because now all I want to do is run.

    • Di

      I’m so sorry. May your past fall away and your present be real and painless. Xxx

  • belle

    This is probably more about Trent Reznor than about the question you asked, but, you know, fuck it. I do not care how albums are financed/enabled; it simply isn’t relevant to me. What *is* relevant it how good the album is; and NIN’s last two albums are poor (yes, I expect my ass to be handed to me on this point, but again, fuck it). I felt guilty about criticizing The Slip because I downloaded it; so I went out and bought it, and it did not improve. But at least then I also felt like I *could* criticize it (you know, gift horse and all). I haven’t bothered with Hesitation Marks (I simply will not buy anything that has a song like ‘Everything’ on it). If anything, I’m behind anything that allows the artist to focus on writing music and not have to deal with all the other crap that comes with professional musicianship. But, some people want to do those things themselves; great for all the polymaths out there. I can’t help but think that Trent’s attitude toward asking is an artifact of where he is in life. 20 years ago, if he’d have thought about it, perhaps it would have seemed like a great idea; now that he has (snooze) dependents, perhaps he wants more predictability/solidity/surety. Also, consider his social anxiety; if you suffer from crippling shyness anyway, or if you are just not very social, asking people to help you out is going to be harder, even if the idea appeals to you. Asking truly isn’t for everyone, for a variety of reasons, but none of those reasons invalidates the idea for those who are comfortable with asking.

  • Jen

    I wish I had asked my friends to help me, and to be there with me.

    A couple of years ago, I had vertigo. I live alone, which means that I was alone when the it hit. One moment I was fine, the next I couldn’t get up from the sofa. Vertigo is not dangerous as such, but I was literally not able to stand up or
    walk around. The room swirled around me and trying to get up was
    nauseating enough to make me sick.

    I didn’t know what was going on, started to get afraid, imagined having a sudden brain tumour or something equally dangerous, and decided to see a doctor. (Luckily, we have a good public health care system in my country, and medical aid is easily available.)

    I struggled to get up, half walked and half went on all fours to my closet to put on some warm clothes, called a taxi, survived down four flights of stairs thanks to an unknown neighbour who happened to be there and took my arm, survived the taxi ride to the hospital, and then nearly fainted in the hospital lobby because I was hyperventilating.

    I spent the night in the emergency room, alone among other patients, nurses, doctors, noise and shallow sleep.

    A few weeks later I recounted my experience to a group of friends who listened, sympathised, expressed their concern and support.

    Bewildered, one of them asked: “But why didn’t you ask any of us to go to the hospital with you?”

    Genuinely surprised, I replied: “It didn’t occur to me.” Because it had not occurred to me that I am allowed to show weakness, to ask for help, to be exposed and vulnerable and real.

    I wish I had asked my friends to help me, and to be there with me.
    I wish it had occurred to me that I could do that.

    I hope I will remember this the next time something happens.

  • mell

    There are many things people could ask for, wealth, power
    the ability to be hung like god/dess and go all night long but really when it
    comes down to it what I really want is time. I know this is not a wish list but
    hear me out. I would have asked her to love me so I could hold the rejection to
    me like a life raft after she was gone. I would have asked her why she looked
    so sad and not let her leave until she had told me instead of letting her walk
    out the door with a quirk of her lips. And if the laws of the universe would
    have allowed it I would have asked her, why? If I could, I would have told her
    all things are fixable given enough time and copious lashings of tape and glue
    if she had asked I would have helped hold her together, anyone who knew her
    would have done so.

  • Amanda Huff

    I wish that I had asked myself what I really wanted out of life; what was I passionate about; what did I hope to be remembered for; what made me happy. I’ve gone through most of my life doing things that I ‘should’ do. I took the safe and steady route. I went to college; got a stable job; got married; got a house; got a divorce; got a house; dated; got a new job; got married; lost my job; moved; got a stable job; got a divorce… All of this was before I started to ask myself what I wanted to do to lead a fulfilling life. Now at 46 I try not to beat myself up over lost time – some days are harder or easier than others. I’m thankful that I’m now aware enough to stop to ask myself those questions and more importantly to take steps in my right direction.

  • Starry Owl

    I wish I’d asked for love. I loved someone and I kept
    begging for things. I begged him to stay alive, I begged him to love me back
    and when it ended, I begged for some space. I kept saying how much I cared,
    hoping that one day he would pick up on what I was begging for. I wanted him to
    say that he loved me back and although he said it, he made it clear it was
    never in the way I wanted. I wish I had asked for love because at least then I
    would think I deserved it. I begged him for everything and that meant he had
    total control over my life, because I was always waiting for him to make a
    decision. Now, I’m still afraid to ask people and I’m not desperate enough to

  • Liz Zee

    I wish I could ask for more time. It’s a commodity that everyone craves, whether we know it or not. When you have it, it slips through your fingers too fast. When you need it, you cannot find it. On asking, my father once told me, “The worst thing anyone can tell you is no. Once you get past that fear of being told no, you can ask anyone anything.” As for begging, the age-old statement of “beggars can’t be choosers” to me, fits like a well worn pair of jeans. If you demand something, you may or may not end up liking what you get.

  • EclipticMaus

    Maybe caz I’ve only lived 18 years so far, or maybe because I (clicheicly) believe quite a lot of things happen for a reason, there’s nothing I *would* have asked. Well, maybe one thing but for it to fit in with my view on life I instead ask for something similar daily, and it happens to be a request that would rest on no human :/ I would have requested my mother not fall ill, an allergy-disordery thing making her allergic to a hell of a lot that means we’re basically living on pasta and she can hardly go further than 30m from the house without being in a car with the windows up or an epipen is required. So everyday I ask, whatever positive force is out there, if there’s nothing *they* can do to cure it, could they alleviate her suffering, I mean we’re coping quite well with the whole food thing but it has a hell of an emotional impact on her and everyone supporting her. Oh and also, asking a human, why the hell there isn’t an accessible allergy clinic around us?! I know quite a few people here that would benefit from actual specialised help :/ I really like this open forum idea and I hope this helps, but I’d like to know that this and your songs have really helped me with the above :) x

  • Holly Roger

    I wish I had asked for love. Instead I asked for other things, things that I thought were safer to ask for, and it didn’t occur to me until years later what I had done. If I had been clear about what it was I really wanted, maybe I would have gotten it.

    Kind of on topic: a favorite quote from a favorite book.
    “It is such hard work to keep your heart hidden! And worse, by the time
    you find it easy, it will be harder still to show it. It is a terrible
    magic in this world to ask for exactly the thing you want. Not least
    because to know exactly the thing you want and look it in the eye is a
    long, long labor.” – Catherynne M. Valente

  • Kortney Marie Cox

    I wish I had asked my mother to stay home more. She was a single parent raising four children, and being the oldest, babysitting duty fell on me as more a right of passage than an opportunity to earn some extra cash. She was gone on an almost nightly basis by the time high school rolled around for me. I told her time and time again that it was okay, that I understood, that work came first, that unwinding at the bar was justifiable. I really didn’t understand a bit of it; I just wanted her home so that I could enjoy being a kid while I still had the chance and so that we could at least feel like a family despite all the broken pieces from the divorce.

    (Years later, we have a much better relationship, and my youngest sister has more of my mother’s presence than I thought possible. Worth noting this because, well, the above kind of makes my mom look bad, and she’s nothing short of badass. I just wish I hadn’t been so scared of asking for what I needed of her at the time.)

  • Kita Mindurown

    I wish I’d asked my mum to turn the car around. She was trying to make a point and I was being stubborn and refusing to be the one to ask. It caused 10 years of heartache on both sides and a relationship that never really got over it.

  • Rachel

    I’ve been in recovery for my addiction to heroin for almost 8 years. I am thankful that I finally got the strength to ask for help.

    Early on in my recovery, I wish I would have asked for forgiveness. I didn’t ask for it as I assumed it was automatically owed to me because I asked for help. I’m learning now that the two are not synonymous.

  • InThatLight

    I will second stories.

    I am at the age where people are dying around me. It is hard to get them to tell you stories on their deathbed. As I watched my father die and uncle die in the same month last year, two different families gathered around each other on either ends of a small western town to find solace in family. The themes were the same, and the same as when the elders passed earlier in my life but I was too young to understand what was lost. Stories. If in the end our life is nothing more than a collection of the way we remember our experiences then, more than money, more than property, more than anything we can give to the future is a life well lived and the stories that are that life.

    Cue: Jason Webly’s In This Light.

    Unfortunately, when a family finds that death is imminent, the mind is clouded if it is even working at all. When I took my father to sit at his fathers bedside, my grandfather was too far along to tell the stories. Only a few years earlier, my father, my grandfather and I sat in a boat fishing, chatting about this or that, current events, politics, or the weather. I wish I had asked for stories about when my father was young and when my grandfather was young.

    A dozen or more years later, when, I sat with my father over the two years it took to close up and head out, we would get to the time where it was time to tell the stories, but at that point I think some had already been lost, and we were too busy trying to get out of the fate that was already cast in stone, to start telling the stories at this point would be to admit death had won. So we talked about the weather, current events, and politics.

    And so it goes, we now have facebook, and twitter that have conditioned us into thinking we are communicating as long as the story is 140 characters or less, or we can write a public manifesto in a longer note or blog that nobody but crackpots or trolls will read. So we post in our 140 characters about this or that, current events, politics, or the weather.

    And I tip my hat to artists, who have the balls to tell their stories, like Amanda and Jason. Sometimes, when we fail to ask for our stories, our heritage, our legacy, we find comfort in a song, or a book, or blog post of the artist who shared their story.

  • Beans

    I know everyone is kind of saying the same, but help. I went through a really rough, dark time in my life, where all I needed was help and I was too afraid to ask for it. I was too afraid of what people might think of me if I admitted I was struggling. If I admitted that life had just gotten that tiny bit too hard for me to bear all alone. I battled through that period for such a long time all on my own, lost in a life that was no longer my own, a life that belonged to the growing pit of darkness inside me. Eventually, it all got too much. I did end up breaking down in front of my mum and really freaking her out. Then, I got help. I just wished I’d asked sooner and not wasted so much time living in fear.

  • Kelly

    Wow, this is a difficult one. I started to simply say ‘help’, but that covers so very much. Perhaps a small explanation would help, even in a small way, everyone else who seems to be in the same place I was/am.

    Young and dumb, I got pregnant and got married. (That is what you DO, don’t you know.) 18, a mom, an Army wife with a husband off half way round the world and 5 hours from family. I wanted to scream from the hills for my parents to help me, to see where I was and not to force me to marry this guy. I didn’t. I went on to have four awesome kids, mostly on my own as he was no sort of husband or father. Over the 12 years we were married, I reached out (tentatively, too scared of him to be bold) and tried to ask for help. No one listened. No one. I felt so alone. I was stuck, at one point, 9 hours from my parents with the husband spending every dime and having to beg for money from my parents to get food on the table. I was emotionally/mentally torn down by him to the point where I had NO self esteem. I tried leaving once. I packed the kids up and went back home, did a semester of college (I had tried college on base before, he forced me to quit.) and was convinced to take him back. My family just couldn’t understand why I would want to embarrass them MORE by *gasp* getting a divorce. More emotional and mental abuse, severe depression (which I was unable to get help for… hell, I couldn’t go to a follow-up after having my fourth child because he refused to ‘be a babysitter’ or ‘pay for a babysitter’ as it was MY job), no self esteem…finally, divorced. I was scared out of my mind.

    Oh did I mention I am a severe introvert? These days I can’t go out to the grocery store without headphones to distract me from the fact I am surrounded by strangers. I can’t have people at my back. Touching strangers, even to shake hands, nearly sends me into a panic attack.

    Dating? Ha! You need some shred of self-esteem for that, right?

    These days I have two amazing best friends who are my rocks when he harasses me, when his new wife harasses me (and my mom …and anyone she can find on facebook), when my Mom doesn’t quite understand that YES, a damn good book and a glass of beer ARE my idea of a perfect night (or beer and Netflix). That, NO, oh HELLS no, I do not want to go see some chick flick with a H.E.A. Explosions, zombies, blood/guts/gore are more my speed. YES, I am 35 and I knit and crochet… enjoy every frakking second of it too. (My best friends are both knitters too, lol!) They have helped me to love myself (most of the time, we all have moments, yes?) flaws and all. They cheered me on when I went back and got a Bachelors in Science. They remind me that they do NOT mind being here for me when I am ready to pull my hair out raising teenagers because they know that I will be there for them when they hit that point. I will be.

    So… what do I wish I had asked for?

    Help? Love? Understanding?

    None of them seem to be right.

    More friends? Gods, that makes me shudder, the few I have are amazing.

    You know, maybe I should have asked for a bit more bravery.

    Faith in myself.

    Or maybe asking us to say what we would wish for IS the answer, not our answers in of themselves. By asking us what we wish we had asked for, you are making us think deeply about the mere idea. Tolkien told us, “Not all who wander are lost”. So maybe we are all just walking our paths and needed you to pop into our lives and make us think about which direction we are heading in and if it is the correct one. Maybe, just maybe, by having us write out our thoughts, our stories, you are helping and healing each of us a bit.

  • Dave

    tbh I backed your kickstarter cos I loved your music ,hit a certain note with me :)

  • the_apocalisa

    I wish I asked for help in school. I always thought I was dumb because I had difficulties keeping organized and struggled with homework and with following directions. Because I did well on tests everyone thought I was just lazy and for awhile I believed them. Even though I once prided myself on my intelligence, I owned that underachiever/slacker title until my mid twenties barely graduating High School and failing out of college twice. It wasn’t until at age 26 I had a wonderful professor who noticed my problems with eye contact and focus had me tested for learning disabilities. Turns out I had a high IQ, but an auditory processing issue, adhd & synesthesia which basically means my brain processes everything differently than most. By then I had gotten so used to failing, my self esteem was just about zero. It really hurts to think about how different my life would have been different if I knew how to ask for help. I guess it’s a little unfair to expect 7 year old me to be able to advocate for herself, but deep down I knew there was a problem and fear of being put in resource room and being labeled “special ed” frightened me. Now things are much better, I’m on medication that helps keep my thoughts organized and allows me to communicate with the world around me better. I have since been able to hold a full time job as a writer and written my first book before the age of 28. The emotional journey and struggle is what made me the person I am, I just want to remove the fear, shame and frustration that little girl had to suffer because she wasn’t the squeakiest wheel.

  • Sarah Davis

    I wish I had asked my mom to stop doing
    heroin when I was a child.

    My mom was a junkie before she was
    pregnant with me and during – at least for the 6 months she didn’t
    know she was pregnant. Because of this, my grandmother has been my
    legal guardian since I was born. When she wasn’t in jail or prison,
    she was living with my grandmother and I, so I grew up around my
    mom’s drug use. She would forge my grandma’s checks and steal cash
    from her (and me sometimes) to buy her drugs. I would go with her to
    her drug dealers’ houses or the bars where she would buy her dope. I
    would watch her cook her speedballs (heroin and cocaine) in a spoon
    in the bathroom and then shoot up in various places on her body. I
    was “tickled” inappropriately by some of her male drug dealer
    friends one time, at least I only remember it happening once. I saw
    her being pulled out of our closet at gun point after she failed a
    urine test from her parole officer, which I also supplied my own
    urine for many times at my mother’s request. One year during
    Christmas, I was with her in her friend’s truck and she got pulled
    over and searched. Needles were found and she was arrested, while I
    stood there crying. Her friend had to drive me home to my
    grandmother’s house. I was probably 6 or 7.

    Even after all of this, not once did I
    ask my mom to stop doing drugs. I often cried myself to sleep at
    night wishing she were at home and not in some prison far away, but I
    never got up the nerve to ask her to STOP. I think it was because I
    didn’t want to feel the utter disappointment and heartbreak when she
    would start using again. Because she always did. She would be clean
    for a while after getting out of prison, but it never lasted. I’m
    lucky that my mom survived her drug use and has been clean for some
    years now, but she has Hepatitis C and gnarly scars from all those
    years of injecting herself. I don’t consider my childhood a bad one,
    and I haven’t fallen down the same path my mom did, nor do I want to.
    Ever. But if I could go back and do it all over, I would ask my mom
    to stop using drugs. Beg her even. “Do it for me. Do it for my
    grandmother. Do it for YOU.”

  • Dave

    you wanted me to ask for something ,why ? can you give me what i ask ? nope .lifes not like that :(

  • Justin

    Help. Help financially. Help in choosing schools. Help working on projects I felt I should do on my own because it was “my decision” and why should I bother other people who “probably” don’t care whether I fail or not? Generally speaking, my pride always gets in the way of asking for help, advice, council, whatever–. I always regret not asking for help when my ego got in the way. Which I really think is connected to the previous question: when you beg you’ve already given up all pride you may have maintained. I feel as though I’m afraid to ask because it will somehow degrade me or lessen me as a person. But the truth to me is that if I never asked for help ill eventually tech a point where I must beg for it. And at that moment ill have lost any pride if hoped to have kept in the first place.

  • Jill Davies Wear

    I wish I had asked for my dad to stop graphing my weight as a kid. I didn’t know that asking him to cut it out was an option. He was a good man and a wonderful dad but his parenting pitfall was his belief that a visual tracking of my (and my sisters’) weight would keep us slim. Because “Davies women tend to fat” (hear that in a Manchester accent). Thus, I now have a very nice therapist who is helping me unravel my very deep and meaningful relationship with shame.

  • Marisa Myhre

    I wish I’d asked for help a lot. I’m a kick ass girl and I’m always trying to prove I can do it. The best way to get me to do something is to say I can’t. But the fact is if I wasn’t so stubborn and I asked for help more often there are a lot of times I would have ended up much better off.

  • Melissa Yoes

    It just occurred to me that Wikipedia asks, I have given. How much money have I spent on other Encyclopedia or Dictionary resources in the past 25+ years? 0. Interesting.

  • Maddriel

    I think I would have asked myself for permission to be exactly who I was, to follow my bliss, maybe not without fear, but with courage. I’ve given that permission now and I have never been happier or more successful doing what I love and being myself. Wish I had started earlier though!

  • Abagail Link

    I wish I’d asked more questions…so many times. Too often, I’m a person who assumes I know what I’m getting into. And when that offer comes up… “Do you have any questions for us?” I never know what I need to ask until it’s too late. As a child, I didn’t understand my mom’s bipolar depression because I never asked enough questions about what it was. I had to learn from a childhood full of failure to “fix it.” I ended up at a really shitty, really expensive college that lied about having my major because I didn’t ask enough questions. It was on the website, so I figured it was true. The tour was great, because they only showed us the tourist attractions. Not the buildings that were falling apart and the grimey pianos. It was a nightmare getting out of there. Learning from experience can be good, but I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of precious time trying to do things I just didn’t understand, things I could have prevented. I could have been at the school of my dreams. I could have stopped tearing myself apart trying to fix my mom. But, with all of that in the past, the only thing I can do now is pretend to regret nothing. Until Amanda Palmer asks me.

  • Lydia Wilson

    I wish I had asked my sister in law her side of the story before believing everything my brother said. He beat two more girlfriends since her and has caused irreparable damage two his 3 boys.

    The most recent girlfriend he hit in front of his two boys, polarising them in their appoachs. The 6 year old wanted to call the police because the girlfriend needed help, the 7 year old stopped him because he didn’t want his father to get into trouble and then not be able to see them.

  • Bethany

    I wish I’d asked myself what I REALLY wanted instead of shrugging my shoulders. I wouldn’t have ended up living with an abusive father. But then maybe I wouldn’t have understood why his first marriage failed anyway, seeing how he treats his current wife and myself opened my eyes to the truth and I could finally disregard the lies that he’d told me to make me hate my mum.

  • MeganJoan

    I wish I’d asked for support. I’d wish I’d asked to be seen.

    I suffer from anxiety, I am an introvert and I am a HSP (, but outwardly I appear very differently. Most people are shocked when I tell them I’m not an extrovert. Some (many?) mistake my anxiety and my tendency to be over-aroused as me just being a bitch.

    I try not to have regrets, but if I did let myself have them I’d probably talk about how I knew I could do things, but I was afraid. I knew I could sing okay, but I was afraid to put myself out there. I I knew I could act, but I didn’t have the confidence to show it in an audition (even for school plays my confidence failed me and I underperformed). I frustrated myself and I wish I’d asked for help, support and guidance. I wish I’d asked to be seen, because life has taught me that people like me you don’t really get seen unless you really ask to be (except by the men on the street yelling about how pretty I am, but I mean really). I wish I’d asked for the support to audition for an arts college and do something I really loved and enjoyed, instead of being afraid.

    I have suffered from anxiety and depression and nobody seemed to notice, or care (it’s hard to tell which, sometimes). When you’re so good at pretending everything is fine people around you just don’t see that you’re not okay. Telling them you’re not fine and asking for support can feel almost overwhelming and impossible. I sought help from professionals but I wish I’d asked for support from my friends and family sooner, if ever at all.

    Everything I just wrote is only half true. Yes, I wish I had asked for support, but I mustn’t mean it enough that I’ll actually ask for support now. I still wish I had the courage to ask for support when I need it, because I still don’t do those things. Asking is hard.

  • Kersey

    What do I wish that I’d asked for?


    I have spent so much of my life asking for permission. Asking for approval. Asking for someone to just look at me and say, “Hey, I see what you did there, good on ya!”

    I should have just asked for freedom.

  • BuffeyMaria

    I wished I asked for myself OF myself to be good to me. , permission for me , from me to be selfish. something I am terrible at….but learning

  • Michelle

    I wish I’d asked for help. I wish I’d known to ask for help; that that was a thing that could be done that wasn’t shameful. I wish I’d known that it was normal to ask for help, and that asking didn’t make me weak or a failure or prove that there was something wrong with me. I wish I’d known that help couldn’t fall into my lap without asking, and that it would be there if I’d only asked.

    People are so much better than we expect them to be once we finally get around to asking.

  • Michelle

    Others, less obvious to me: friendships I wanted to pursue but didn’t know how to phrase “let’s be friends!” in a way that wasn’t false or childish. Opportunities I knew I could handle but wasn’t sure anyone thought I deserved. Attention I didn’t feel was warranted. Forgiveness from the few people I was a catty bitch to when I was younger. There’s a common theme here; fear gets in the way of even asking.

  • Diana

    I wish I had asked him to stop. Which, in hindsight, is me wishing I had asked myself for more respect.

  • Rebecca Horne

    This isn’t really something I wish I’d asked for, but rather something that I wish I knew the answer to but don’t know how to ask without causing unnecessary pain. I’d like to know why my mother treats me with more basic respect now than she used to. Does she actually value the type of person I am now? Does she still see me as frivolous and generally wrong but think I’m an adult and can choose to be that if I want? Or does she just bite her tongue because I’ve moved and she’s afraid of losing me?

  • Janice Jaela Arnett Spencer

    I wish that I had asked myself permission to love me sooner. For a long time, I survived in the unhappy places we go when we lie to ourselves about self love and self respect. I let people use me up and spit me out because I thought that was all I deserved. I could lie and say I didn’t know any better, but the thing is, I didn’t love myself, and it showed in my choices of who I gave my heart and body to. I wish I’d asked myself to love me sooner, to be a better role model for my girls, for myself, and for every other girl out there thinking she’s not worthy of love or respect or equality.

  • Miss W

    The ability to be me
    I work in public education and love it. I love my job, my community, the teachers and students. I’m the Deputy Principal at my school. The very nature of my role has required me to become an effervescent, charismatic and ‘people person’. I walk through the playground and parents, adults and students I don’t know smile and say hello. A parent phoned the school to speak to a teacher but upon realising it was me, started to cry and communicated her concerns about her children saying she felt comfortable expressing herself to me…Miss W.
    I’m a lesbian. That part of my life has taken a back seat to my job. In fact anything that defines me as R not Miss W just started to slide out of view. I went out dancing last night to a lesbian venue. Danced my arse off by the way. When I stopped dancing and just stood and looked around, I realised I had no connection, attraction or feeling that was reciprocated in the room. In fact, I felt I didn’t exist at all. Women would walk by me and bump into me on the way to friends and no acknowledgement that this had occurred would be exchanged. I felt pleased at one point that I felt bumped into because it was reassuring to know that I was really there. Don’t get me wrong, I had a fantastic night. It’s just that R has disappeared.

  • Brittnie Meltz

    ‘Why?’ I think is a question that should be asked more often. People have the possibility to learn so much or at least come to some sort of understanding. I think, people hold themselves back at times because knowledge can be a scary thing or asking makes one seem stupid or obnoxious. It’s a question that warrants some courage, but think- by not knowing or understanding you miss out, or misinterpret, or the reasoning behind ‘why’ ends up eating away at your innards. We ask it so easily when we’re young, it’s kind of sad how awkward it is to ask as an adult.

  • kellylynn212

    I wish that I had asked her if she was *really* okay.

    Every fucking day I wish that.

  • Cybeline

    For people to stop and listen, and to have taken me seriously. A lot of people mention not asking for help out of fear. I’d had the courage to ask for help to get out of an abusive home when I was a child and teenager, at least a couple of times. The consequences were not just complicated, but disastrous…but I still tried. My extended family couldn’t believe it and reported back to my mother (which went…well, about as you’d expect), my attempt to write my father overseas was intercepted (which went about the same), and my youth pastor suggested after I left home at age 16 that if my mother was threatening to commit suicide if I didn’t return right away, well then I’d better go back because I wouldn’t want her blood on my hands. No suggestion of calling the authorities, psych intervention for my mentally ill parent, nothing. Because when faced with something really, truly ugly, people would rather look the other way and pretend they didn’t really see what happened. But maybe it wouldn’t turn out that way if people would ask them to stop, and look, and listen to what’s going on around them, and not be dismissive when asked for help.

  • Lenny

    I wish I had asked about people. About their history, about themselves. There were so many times where I thought someone was so very interesting, I wanted to know so much more about them, but I didn’t have the confidence to ask – I didn’t have the confidence to think it might not be taken as an intrusion, but rather as “hey, this person is really interested in me as a person”. Friends, family, people you randomly meet… there were so many missed opportunities. So many people you thought you knew, but really didn’t.

  • Ty

    I wish I’d asked for help from my parents, teachers, and the police when I was sexually assaulted, aged 15, by one of my best friends at a party. The whole thing played out in the court of teenage opinion, and seeing all of my friends’ reactions to me and this person was one more hurtful and painful than the initial act of betrayal. It was the hardest thing I ever did, to force the words of what he did to me passed my lips, and yet to them it meant nothing. I might as well have not spoken. It was too inconvenient for everyone to change the complicated structures of their interwoven friendships. In short, most people stayed friends with him. So, instead, I withdrew from friendships of 4 or 5 years. Those were my best friends at school – the ones I should have been going to weddings of, escaping for mini-breaks, and raising our children to be friends. I withdrew from them, from my home-town, from my parents (who never knew why) to self-harm, eating disorders, and near-suicide, I’m lucky I found my husband a few years later, who rebuilt me (partly by calling that boy and confronting him with the reality of what he had done to me), but when I see those old friends (now just Facebook acquaintances) on their latest reunion weekend, I can’t help but feel on the outside again, like they’ve forgotten I ever existed as part of their inner circle. And to go back to the original question I feel that if I had asked for help from my parents that would have started a chain of events that made it real to everyone else, not just real to me, and perhaps I would have kept my friends. Perhaps I would have had none, but at least I wouldn’t have felt like all of it was my responsibility.

  • Vera Mumpitz

    When something terrible happens…in my case a death in the’s fantastic to have people who show and tell you they will be there for you.
    But i wasn’t prepared for the time when the numbness and shock had passed, that i(d still feel so bad years later.
    And then you ask yourself does this still count? Can i say still something, arent they silently sick of me mourning for several years?
    Bc i had the impression that i wasn’t talking about anything Else but my grief, bc i was afraid of losing more people, i isolated myself from them. Total mindfuck.
    I am slowly finding back to them, but i wish I’d ask them for their Support much earlier ( which they’d have totally given), it’d have spared me years of depression and isolation.

  • Rae

    I wish that for the past year I had asked what other people needed and/or wanted more, rather than worrying about not getting hurt. Previously in my life that was the standard, but then I became really protective of myself and in so doing lost a lot in my relationships. I think that focusing on others rather than yourself creates this amazing dynamic between humans, and I miss it.

  • Sabi

    I wish I’d asked my father how he managed to never lose his
    courage to face life and his sense of humor even though he has been critically
    ill for years. Cause since he was diagnosed with dementia he’s not the same person anymore and kinda fading away.

  • JennyB

    I wish I had asked for help the one time I needed it the most.
    In hindsight I know I was severely depressed and that it’s common to hide yourself away like a wounded dog instead of seeking help. But I really, really wish that I had.

  • Brigid Mary

    I grew up in a very Irish Catholic family. Though, my family accepts homosexuals (my older sister happens to be a lesbian) and doesn’t necessarily fallow everything the church believes, I still grew up with particular values. One thing that seemed to resonate in my childhood is not to be so open with your issues, image is such an important thing. My mother used to tell us in the car on the way to my grandparents things we weren’t allowed to talk to granny about. This had, and I don’t think it was intentional, instilled this determination in myself to do all by myself, never ask for help and show how strong you can be. As my life went on, and through some sad, mad, depressing, and downright embarrassing life experiences, I learned that asking for help when you need it can be the bravest thing a person can do. I have also learned that no matter how good or bad life may be, things happen for a reason. This is why I found that I have been having difficulty with this question, what would I ask for?

    Between March of 2009 and January 2012, I had two grandparents, one great uncle (who was like a grandpa to me), and a cousin die. Being that I come from a rich and full heritage that values family, I am extremely close to most of my family ( and my family is huge). Most, I can say, are some of my best friends. With these deaths, I had a lot of trouble dealing with them. I had watched three men whom I have loved and admired my entire life deteriorate before my eyes and all while I was going through Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts (studying Costume Design I may add… Very time consuming and hard as hell). My cousin, Timmy, he was different. His death was the most unexpected tragic turn of events that I didn’t think could happen.

    My cousin was 21. He had always been some what of an outcast in our family growing up, we bonded over that. He had some trouble, we found out after he had passed, with dealing with our grandfathers death. Tim was young, sad, in college, and happened to have a roommate who dealt heroine. He was dumb and experimented with drugs. Though, he wasn’t your typical addict. He never hit bottom because my aunt never let him. She loved him fiercely and only ever wanted to give him a good happy life. He was also always, somewhat, in the shadow of his older brother, a successful musician (currently working on a record) and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Tim even applied and auditioned for Berklee, though he was not accepted. Tim was also very social, had lots of friends and would go to length, even say some strange things, just to make you smile. Before he died, he finally found his thing, his niche. He wanted to make instruments. He was able to finish one guitar before he died. We also have another one that is half finished and an unfinished mandolin. They are beautiful. When he died, his teacher made a video of him and the process he went through to make the instruments. I have to say that my favorite part is when they show him playing it for the first time. His face lit up with pride and excitement. He played it so we’ll and so beautifully, and none of us even knew he could play like that. You never really know how much you’ll miss something or someone until they are gone, and I have to say, I feel the sting of that pain almost every day. I am lucky that my last memories with him are joyous. The last time I saw Timmy alive was at my parents house on the Christmas of 2011. He was wearing one of our grandfathers sweater vests from the 70s, Super ugly, but Tim could pull them off and I always told him so.

    When he died, no one knew about Timmy’s addiction, though We knew something weird was going on. My aunt kept it from the family, I guess for fear of being judged. Nine months before he died, he kicked the habit, sobered up. The story I have heard has been altered still, but he had gotten into a fight with someone, mom, brother, girlfriend… Someone found evidence of a relapse and they confronted him about it. He fought and left, for days. It was the weekend. He showed up Monday, messed up on heroine. My aunt put him to bed and kept an eye on him. By morning, he developed a 100 and something (the exact details escape me) fever and my aunt called 911. He was on the lawn when he went into cardiac arrest and died. They let my aunt and uncle go with him to the hospital. I was told my aunt sat with him and sang to him for some time. We later found out the it wasn’t an overdose, but just a bad batch of heroine that killed him. He also wasn’t the only victim from this batch and they eventually caught the bastard who was dealing it. I still have trouble processing that he is dead. He is my little cousin and I will always see him as that.

    So, I guess if I wish I had to asked for anything, it would be for Timmy to be alive again, but that isn’t realistic and through all of my loss I understand that shit happens and when it’s your time, it’s your time. Realistically, what I would ask for is better drug awareness among teens, young adults, adults. I was so uneducated about heroine because I knew all drugs were bad, and that’s all I needed to know. I think that is how a large amount of people feel about drugs, but if you were to ask someone why, would they really know the effects, side effects cons in detail of why drugs are bad. Could they really be able to make an educated choice? And the whole population needs this education, just look at all of the recent deaths in Hollywood due to drug abuse.

  • Joel Weichbrodt

    Asking someone to assume I wouldn’t be debating or arguing something without first having informed myself always seemed such a disclaimer-y notion, yet I wish I would have asked that of so many. I give that assumption out of respect, but only recently started asking for it. That would have saved a great deal of therapy and possibly heartache.

  • AndreaMajeski

    What do I wish I would have asked for?

    I’ve never really been the type to ask people for things. I’m pretty good at getting what I want by myself. That being said, there are things that I want that I don’t have. I don’t have friends who are into 90% of the things that I’m into. I don’t have a job I even remotely like.


    I wish I would have asked myself for more courage to take more risks in college and commit to a major that may have gotten me into a field that I actually enjoy. And I wish I could ask myself to be more confident and seek out and approach the people that I think I could share my passions with, instead of feeling intimidated by them.

    Of all the things I wished (and currently wish) I’d asked, it would be of myself.

    And also maybe to spend more time w my grandmother and ask her questions. She just turned 83 and probably doesn’t have much time left. She helped raise me for most of my childhood. I’ve never lost anyone in my life that I have been close to. Idk what that will feel like when it happens but I don’t want to regret not spending enough time or showing enough love.

    I find it easier to ask my friends for things than family. Is that unusual? I still can’t figure out why that is. Anyone else feel like that? I don’t have any beef or drama w my family but I don’t really feel close to anyone except my dad (who I have an awesome relationship with), and sometimes my mom (she was unreliable and absent for a lot of my childhood but we are closer now that I’m older).

    I hope these thoughts help you with your book. Interestingly enough, what I’ve shared with you just now is more than I’ve shared about what I feel with anyone ever.

    All my love,


  • haroldnmaude

    I can not ask for help. I also don’t accept it well. A lot of times its from being independent and honestly,not needing it. It’s a nice offer and its polite for people to offer, but, a lot of the time it seems unnecessary. It’s 12 grocery bags and it’s heavy, but, I’ve got it. No thank you. This seems rude to a lot of people. I have had huge issues with men who have told me this emasculates them. I’ve heard that a lot and if they didn’t say it the passive aggressive emasculated vibes were on full blast. I grew up a latch key kid. I did everything by myself and as an adult I pride myself on my independence. Sometimes I think the reason I don’t ask for help is because the times that I did, the times that I truly needed it, it wasn’t there. The help I needed so badly was denied. A lot of time literally. My answer is- I wish I had never stopped asking for help. I wish I had asked of myself to not give up on asking for help.

  • Brigid Mary

    I grew up in a very Irish Catholic family. Though, my family accepts homosexuals (my older sister happens to be a lesbian) and doesn’t necessarily fallow everything the church believes, I still grew up with particular values. One thing that seemed to resonate in my childhood is not to be so open with your issues, image is such an important thing. My mother used to tell us in the car on the way to my grandparents things we weren’t allowed to talk to granny about. This had, and I don’t think it was intentional, instilled this determination in myself to do all by myself, never ask for help and show how strong you can be. As my life went on, and through some sad, mad, depressing, and downright embarrassing life experiences, I learned that asking for help when you need it can be the bravest thing a person can do. I have also learned that no matter how good or bad life may be, things happen for a reason. This is why I found that I have been having difficulty with this question, what would I ask for?

    Between March of 2009 and January 2012, I had two grandparents, one great uncle (who was like a grandpa to me), and a cousin die. Being that I come from a rich and full heritage that values family, I am extremely close to most of my family ( and my family is huge). Most, I can say, are some of my best friends. With these deaths, I had a lot of trouble dealing with them. I had watched three men whom I have loved and admired my entire life deteriorate before my eyes and all while I was going through Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts (studying Costume Design I may add… Very time consuming and hard as hell). My cousin, Timmy, he was different. His death was the most unexpected tragic turn of events that I didn’t think could happen.

    My cousin was 21. He had always been some what of an outcast in our family growing up, we bonded over that. He had some trouble, we found out after he had passed, with dealing with our grandfathers death. Tim was young, sad, in college, and happened to have a roommate who dealt heroine. He was dumb and experimented with drugs. Though, he wasn’t your typical addict. He never hit bottom because my aunt never let him. She loved him fiercely and only ever wanted to give him a good happy life. He was also always, somewhat, in the shadow of his older brother, a successful musician (currently working on a record) and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Tim even applied and auditioned for Berklee, though he was not accepted. Tim was also very social, had lots of friends and would go to length, even say some strange things, just to make you smile. Before he died, he finally found his thing, his niche. He wanted to make instruments. He was able to finish one guitar before he died. We also have another one that is half finished and an unfinished mandolin. They are beautiful. When he died, his teacher made a video of him and the process he went through to make the instruments. I have to say that my favorite part is when they show him playing it for the first time. His face lit up with pride and excitement. He played it so we’ll and so beautifully, and none of us even knew he could play like that. You never really know how much you’ll miss something or someone until they are gone, and I have to say, I feel the sting of that pain almost every day. I am lucky that my last memories with him are joyous. The last time I saw Timmy alive was at my parents house on the Christmas of 2011. He was wearing one of our grandfathers sweater vests from the 70s, Super ugly, but Tim could pull them off and I always told him so.

    When he died, no one knew about Timmy’s addiction, though We knew something weird was going on. My aunt kept it from the family, I guess for fear of being judged. Nine months before he died, he kicked the habit, sobered up. The story I have heard has been altered still, but he had gotten into a fight with someone, mom, brother, girlfriend… Someone found evidence of a relapse and they confronted him about it. He fought and left, for days. It was the weekend. He showed up Monday, messed up on heroine. My aunt put him to bed and kept an eye on him. By morning, he developed a 100 and something (the exact details escape me) fever and my aunt called 911. He was on the lawn when he went into cardiac arrest and died. They let my aunt and uncle go with him to the hospital. I was told my aunt sat with him and sang to him for some time. We later found out the it wasn’t an overdose, but just a bad batch of heroine that killed him. He also wasn’t the only victim from this batch and they eventually caught the bastard who was dealing it. I still have trouble processing that he is dead. He is my little cousin and I will always see him as that.

    So, I guess if I wish I had to asked for anything, it would be for Timmy to be alive again, but that isn’t realistic and through all of my loss I understand that shit happens and when it’s your time, it’s your time. Realistically, what I would ask for is better drug awareness among teens, young adults, adults. I was so uneducated about heroine because I knew all drugs were bad, and that’s all I needed to know. I think that is how a large amount of people feel about drugs, but if you were to ask someone why, would they really know the effects, side effects cons in detail of why drugs are bad. Could they really be able to make an educated choice? And the whole population needs this education, just look at all of the recent deaths in Hollywood due to drug abuse.

  • Brigid Mary

    I grew up in a very Irish Catholic family. Though, my family accepts homosexuals (my older sister happens to be a lesbian) and doesn’t necessarily fallow everything the church believes, I still grew up with particular values. One thing that seemed to resonate in my childhood is not to be so open with your issues, image is such an important thing. My mother used to tell us in the car on the way to my grandparents things we weren’t allowed to talk to granny about. This had, and I don’t think it was intentional, instilled this determination in myself to do all by myself, never ask for help and show how strong you can be. As my life went on, and through some sad, mad, depressing, and downright embarrassing life experiences, I learned that asking for help when you need it can be the bravest thing a person can do. I have also learned that no matter how good or bad life may be, things happen for a reason. This is why I found that I have been having difficulty with this question, what would I ask for?

    Between March of 2009 and January 2012, I had two grandparents, one great uncle (who was like a grandpa to me), and a cousin die. Being that I come from a rich and full heritage that values family, I am extremely close to most of my family ( and my family is huge). Most, I can say, are some of my best friends. With these deaths, I had a lot of trouble dealing with them. I had watched three men whom I have loved and admired my entire life deteriorate before my eyes and all while I was going through Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts (studying Costume Design I may add… Very time consuming and hard as hell). My cousin, Timmy, he was different. His death was the most unexpected tragic turn of events that I didn’t think could happen.

    My cousin was 21. He had always been some what of an outcast in our family growing up, we bonded over that. He had some trouble, we found out after he had passed, with dealing with our grandfathers death. Tim was young, sad, in college, and happened to have a roommate who dealt heroine. He was dumb and experimented with drugs. Though, he wasn’t your typical addict. He never hit bottom because my aunt never let him. She loved him fiercely and only ever wanted to give him a good happy life. He was also always, somewhat, in the shadow of his older brother, a successful musician (currently working on a record) and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Tim even applied and auditioned for Berklee, though he was not accepted. Tim was also very social, had lots of friends and would go to length, even say some strange things, just to make you smile. Before he died, he finally found his thing, his niche. He wanted to make instruments. He was able to finish one guitar before he died. We also have another one that is half finished and an unfinished mandolin. They are beautiful. When he died, his teacher made a video of him and the process he went through to make the instruments. I have to say that my favorite part is when they show him playing it for the first time. His face lit up with pride and excitement. He played it so we’ll and so beautifully, and none of us even knew he could play like that. You never really know how much you’ll miss something or someone until they are gone, and I have to say, I feel the sting of that pain almost every day. I am lucky that my last memories with him are joyous. The last time I saw Timmy alive was at my parents house on the Christmas of 2011. He was wearing one of our grandfathers sweater vests from the 70s, Super ugly, but Tim could pull them off and I always told him so.

    When he died, no one knew about Timmy’s addiction, though We knew something weird was going on. My aunt kept it from the family, I guess for fear of being judged. Nine months before he died, he kicked the habit, sobered up. The story I have heard has been altered still, but he had gotten into a fight with someone, mom, brother, girlfriend… Someone found evidence of a relapse and they confronted him about it. He fought and left, for days. It was the weekend. He showed up Monday, messed up on heroine. My aunt put him to bed and kept an eye on him. By morning, he developed a 100 and something (the exact details escape me) fever and my aunt called 911. He was on the lawn when he went into cardiac arrest and died. They let my aunt and uncle go with him to the hospital. I was told my aunt sat with him and sang to him for some time. We later found out the it wasn’t an overdose, but just a bad batch of heroine that killed him. He also wasn’t the only victim from this batch and they eventually caught the bastard who was dealing it. I still have trouble processing that he is dead. He is my little cousin and I will always see him as that.

    So, I guess if I wish I had to asked for anything, it would be for Timmy to be alive again, but that isn’t realistic and through all of my loss I understand that shit happens and when it’s your time, it’s your time. Realistically, what I would ask for is better drug awareness among teens, young adults, adults. I was so uneducated about heroine because I knew all drugs were bad, and that’s all I needed to know. I think that is how a large amount of people feel about drugs, but if you were to ask someone why, would they really know the effects, side effects cons in detail of why drugs are bad. Could they really be able to make an educated choice? And the whole population needs this education, just look at all of the recent deaths in Hollywood due to drug abuse.

  • Samantha S.

    Wow. It looks like quite a few people have said what I’m about to. I wish that I had asked for help. There are so many points in my life where I decided that I had to do things on my own. That I didn’t need other people or that it was weak to ask them. Or that I was supposed to handle things by myself. Often, this ends up with me have a much harder time of things than needed. I could have gotten that thing done or gotten out of that bad situation quicker, easier, if I had asked for help. And the crazy part is that the helping hand was there the whole time, waiting. If I had just even asked, they would have been there in a heartbeat, because I really needed it and they care. It makes the attitude that much more self destructive.

  • David Faux

    I’ve always found it ironic, my fear of asking for help. Because I love helping people and I know that there are so many that feel that same way. I’m certain that I am not alone in this (countless entries in this blog and other examples abound everywhere), but whenever something overwhelming happens in my own life it is so hard to find the words to ask for that same help back. For me, a big part of it is fear, fear that those whom I ask for help will qualify my fears of rejection by rejecting my pleas and thus eliminating all hope of help. Because if I don’t ask for help, I can not be rejected and if I am not rejected than there is always hope that someone will just notice that I need the help and offer. It has taken me a really long time to grasp the fact that no one else lives inside of my head. That no one else, no matter how close they are to me and I to them, knows exactly what is going on if I don’t tell them. I still have trouble asking for help, but it has gotten easier as I have gotten older to at least let those closest to me know what is going on. I may not always ask for the help I might need, but I no longer expect everyone close to me to know my struggles by being able to hear the anguished, silent cries in my mind. As loud as those might be to me they are still silent to everyone else.

  • KiAmelnaru

    For more bike rides with my dad. We used to go on these 25-50 mile family bike rides, all four of us. He was depressed and we hadn’t gone out in a long time. Then he died of heart attack. I loved those rides and they were some of the best times we all had. I wonder occasionally if I’d asked him to take us out again if perhaps we’d have all been better off. If it would have helped him… it would have been more good memories for me later… it would have helped me.

  • tragickelly

    I wish I’d asked my driving instructor to take his hand off my leg, to stop inching it upward. I wish I’d asked him why he was making me drive to a dangerous part of town, a place where he knew I wouldn’t want to be ejected from the car if I made a fuss, a place where I didn’t know anyone and wouldn’t know how to get home. I wish I’d asked him if the cheap watch he gave me afterwards was a shitty consolation prize for having betrayed my trust in myself to always self-preserve. I wish I’d asked how many watches he’d given out to how many other scared girls whose thighs he’d squeezed to tell them to slow down, to turn right. I wish I’d asked someone to take me to the police and I wish I’d asked the company for my money back. I shouldn’t have had to pay for that.

  • Dee

    I wish I had asked for my Mother’s love and acceptance,

    instead I have spent 51 years trying to gain her approval and

    respect, I see the disdain in her eyes when she looks at me

    and feel the waves of her disappointment wash over me

    everytime we meet.

    I hear the love and pride in her voice when she speaks of my

    successful siblings. I was raised in a home where success

    and material wealth was what you were measured by and

    unfortunately for me I am an abject failure at both. A lonely

    and isolating environment to grow up in. My choices in life

    have been based on wanting to leave this world a better

    place for my children, not leaving them money to spend….I

    have worked in Community Arts, Disability and Education,

    low paying but very rewarding jobs. I rescue animals and

    foster children I give money to homelss people before they

    ask, all things my Mother hoped I would grow out of! I have

    4 children of my own all young adults…..and every chance I

    get I let them know I love them and I will support and

    respect whatever choices they make. 1 is an Early Childhood

    Teacher, 2 works in a supermarket to finance her

    backpacking around the world,3 is a Musician and Tattooist

    and 4 is a Student and budding Photographer and Writer and

    still undecided about what she want to do….and that’s OK

    too. All my Children’s career paths are seen as ridiculous

    choices by my family.I stopped attending family gatherings

    when my eldest daughter was 13 because I never wanted

    them to be made feel like they were odd or losers. My

    Mother is now 83, sick and undergoing chemotherapy, why

    I still feel I need her validation(I don’t know?) and my fear

    is she will die before I have the courage to ask her to love

    and accept me just as I am, a round peg in the square hole of

    our family. I also wish I had asked her to hug me just once!

  • Scott Moore

    History of Asian Art, summer of 1990, wished I had asked out a woman I sat next to. I asked to borrow her notes and enjoyed all of our interactions. I am sad I never got to know her story. After that moment I never had that regret again. It was transformative but still wisdom gained at a price.

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