Eleditor’s note: *warning: f-bombs dropped below!
“I need you,” I suddenly said to him—at three a.m. in the midst of my least favorite feeling in the world—a most uncomfortable combination of a bladder infection and a panic attack.
I don’t ever want anyone to see me like that, all curled up in pain, defenses down, pretty masks torn off, shaky and tender as a newborn baby, raw as a peeled carrot.
I felt mutually disgusted and enthralled by uttering those words aloud—
I need you.
Words I hate. Words I have never really said to anyone, ever. Words I believe will scare people away in two seconds flat. Words I’m scared to say, so badly want to express, but never felt allowed to utter.
I need you.
So simple. So achingly true. So f*cking vulnerable.
For a long time now, I’ve prided myself solely on being the strong girl who never needs anyone. Needing someone meant I was failing, doing something deadly wrong, getting wildly off track, or abandoning myself. ‘Cause look here, at my shiny red cape, I’m Miss. Independent, ever-handling even the toughest shit, on my own.
I don’t need anyone—yeah, right.
I’m ready to admit it—I do need someone, sometimes.
And in that painful late-night moment, I needed someone so badly. In that moment, which was one of the most knee-shakingly vulnerable and also the bravest moments of my life—saying those three simple words meant miles more than mere words could ever illustrate.
“I need you.”
That tiny, weighted sentence escaped my lips like a tender misting of lace. And then—fear. Oh, yes, thundering booms of fear. The incredible fear of being a bother, being a burden, of being rejected—all the fears that kept me from sharing myself this vulnerably, in the first place.
Wasn’t I being really annoying for needing something at three f*cking a.m.? Shouldn’t I just run away, or better yet—hide?
But then, he looked at me, and even though it was velvety pitch-dark—I could feel embers of warmth glowing from his eyes. I could feel the sincere radiance of his smile.
“Come here,” he said, softly.
“I’m here for you,” he said, embracing me matter-of-factly. And he held me, without saying much, because in tender, soulful moments like this, words aren’t really needed, only presence is.
And his presence told me all I needed to know—I was not a burden. I was not a bother. It was okay to need him.
The thunderous roars of my fear grew softer as he held me in the reverberating depths of my deepest discomfort, as my whole body burned and shook, as I cried, even though I so badly didn’t want to cry in front of him. My tears tumbled down and landed on his chest while his strong hands steadied my quivering shoulders, while his solid heartbeat soothed my frantic pulse.
And my sweet man—he didn’t save me or fix me, he was simply there, with me.
It was truly breathtaking.
To have someone witness my unfolding in that tough, tender moment was unexpected medicine. It gently kissed the places inside me I forgot were aching. It was magical, and all that magic, created by three stunningly simple, honest words:
I need you.
And yet, it takes such balls to say that.
In his warm arms, down came my walls—crashing gently, brick by brick, layer by layer, disintegrating, not completely—but enough to see truth. Enough to see that my precious walls are elegant, embroidered with fancy gold flowers—but they’re f*cking walls—not real, painstakingly created to keep others at bay, to keep life at bay. But I’m sick of keeping everything at bay.
And that’s when I realized something I so badly didn’t want to realize—I don’t have to be superwoman all the time. Or ever. I can let people in. I can ask for help.
Being incredibly self-sufficient is beautiful, but I see now that it’s also a double-edged sword—I see that I’ve become too foolishly stubborn to ask for help, when help is needed.
I don’t have to do it all on my own.
He was there for me. And I let him be there.
And yes, it can feel soul-shakin’ terrifying to allow to others see us, when we’re not all pinned up to glossy perfection. It can seem horrifying to ask for help in moments where we feel so fragile that our quivering hearts could just crack, break, and ooze out into the sidewalks like rivers of reverberating ruby heartbeats. It can be scary as sh*t to show someone our weeping edges, darkest fears, weaknesses, well-hidden wounds and buried bruises.
But those are the exact moments when it is most powerful to be seen.
Those are the exact moments when being seen, being held, being witnessed—heals us.
And even though society stupidly tells us the opposite—it is not weak to ask for help, or even, require it. It is not weak to say you need someone to lean on when your world is spinning so fast that you feel like you’re going to lose your mind and fall down flat on your face.
It’s brave to reach out for a warm human hand when we’re shaking like a cold baby kitten, and doing so can steady us, immensely. To hear a sweet, familiar voice can feel like a soothing honey balm when tears are spilling down our cheeks at the frenzied pace of a million salty miles an hour.
We aren’t meant to go it all alone.
Being independent—hell yes, it’s awesome. But our independence doesn’t need to be threatened by connection.
We’re human beings—wired for connection, and we are always in this together. All of us. Especially the ones who think they don’t need anyone—yes, I’m talking to you, sweet soul, who believes you have to do it all yourself—you don’t. You can’t.
Sit down. Stop trying to hold everything together, all by yourself. You’re not meant to do that.
Hear the trees sway in the slightest breeze, whispering the sweet birdsongs of all the hearts you could reach out to.
We are here, in the shit-storms, in the stardust magic, in the complete and utter gut-wrenching despair—together.
It is not weak to need each other. To lean on each other.
It’s necessary. It’s healing.
Take that beautiful risk.
Extend your shaky human hand.
Reach out, with dripping, vulnerable bravery.
It is okay to need someone.
It is beautiful to ask for help.
Empowerment made extra gem-like special because it’s exactly not what we would expect it to be.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Photo: nromagna / Flickr