I like to think of my problems as the idea of a cart needing to be pushed over a hill: it’s heavy, awkward and full to the top with probably a lot of unnecessary shit. It’s not really a problem on flat ground – at times, it even feels like it rolls without needing much pushing at all. I can force myself to move it along, because I have to the same way everybody else does. However, at times, the road isn’t always flat. At times, there are hills.
The hills are always tall; of course they are. Sometimes, it can almost feel as though my cart needs to go up and over a sheer-drop climb worth. Practically a mountain that makes the idea of pushing the cart feel like absolutely anything else would be preferable. Summoning fire to burn the cart would be easier than dragging it up Mount Everest! But when we have to keep going, fire isn’t an option. Thankfully, we’re never pushing our carts alone.
Everybody has a cart, whether they have problems or not. Some are more empty and some are more full, but every person you’ve ever met carries their own lifetime in a cart; friends, family, even the professional traders who help you to empty them. The hard part isn’t finding someone who has a cart light enough to help – there are plenty of people, heavy or light, willing to pull their cart alongside you. Instead, it’s finding someone who knows exactly how you want and need to be helped.
Because I’m still confused about where I stand with the problems in my cart, it’s been hard telling anyone that my cart is too heavy. With my diagnosis still blurred (and unconfirmed by a professional), I’ve managed to tell only two people about my troubles. As grateful as I am to have her, I had to reason with my best friend to forget I said anything mere hours after mentioning the things in my cart. It felt wrong to speak to her about assuming I had a problem when she’s actually going through them, and I couldn’t bare the pressure of having to open up to someone face to face. Instead, I rely solely on my boyfriend: a long distance figure I can depend on purely because I still have 2 more years until I’m sure the same thing will happen.
It’s not that my friends don’t want to help me. I can’t tell them not to – at this point, I’m desperate to have someone help me move the cart over the problem so I can carry on going. But whether they can help me or not is something that both concerns and puts me off turning towards them; My best friend might distrust me if it turns out my problems were just a bad diet and lack of sleep; My boyfriend might leave me because he doesn’t face the same issues. While he’s desperate to help, I can only describe him as a set of square wheels.
In a desperate attempt to help me recover from my problems at their worst, my boyfriend tries to make my cart a new set of wheels. It’ll become easier to push if he can just make a better set of wheels, he believes. But desperation doesn’t mean experience, and more often than not, the wheels are square. They don’t fit right on my cart; They don’t roll right when I push it. Sometimes they’re too big or too small, or make it so awkward to push the cart I fall over. In every instance, no matter how many times I tell him the wheels need to be different, they’re always square wheels. At times, it causes arguments: he pushes and pushes to change out the wheels but it just isn’t helping. It’s not his fault, no matter how many times I lash out at him, “Why can’t you make the right wheels? Don’t you want to help me?”
It’s always hurtful trying to force someone to stop helping. It’s even worse knowing that their help, no matter how good, can’t fix it. That’s why we all call our carts a problem, after all. The square wheels aren’t useful on the cart, not really. They’ll never help me push it anywhere, or get over any hill. But maybe that’s not the point of the wheels. With time, effort and a lot of explaining, maybe he’ll slowly learn how to make better wheels: rounded wheels, wheels with treads, whatever. But that doesn’t make square wheels useless.
Getting help can seem difficult when all you’re given is square wheels. But, when or if you do get given square wheels, put them in your cart. Stash them in the corner or just behind the problems inside it – don’t put them on just to wear them out. Because on those days where you’ve had to stop pushing, when you’re looking into your cart for an excuse to keep going, you’ll see them. Square wheels that aren’t a sign of your progress moving forward, but a sign that someone else wants you to make progress.
And maybe in it’s own way, they do keep the cart rolling.