Something you might not know about me is that I hate asking for favors. I imagine that if I could see and read the minds of all of my IRL friends right now, they would be wrinkling their foreheads and thinking, “Wait, Ernessa just asked my ass for a favor the other day. All she does is ask me for favors.”
And that’s the weird thing: I hate to ask for favors. Asking for favors makes me incredibly anxious, and it often takes me anywhere from days to weeks to do so. Yet, I have always been someone who has depended on the kindness of family, friends and strangers to get by. You know how they always talk about black women being too independent and further more, the mules of America? When I hear stuff like that, I just shake my head in confusion.
The truth is that I have never, ever been able to take care of myself. Believe me, I’ve tried, but for whatever reason, I’m just one of those people that needs a lot of nurturing, otherwise I don’t eat, sleep, or function-at-optimum-speed.
This used to embarrass me, especially when my girlfriends would in various ways point it out while I was sleeping on their couch, receiving my third lesson in how to cook pasta (because I didn’t remember the first two from other girlfriends), or getting help with my rent for the umpteenth time. Most of them would just quietly help me stay alive, but every so once in a while someone would question my complete lack of self-suffiency outside of writing. I used to make excuses or pretend that this was just a one-off situation, but now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve grown to accept that I’m just not I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T. Like at all.
So you would think I would be used to it by now, but something inside of me curdles every time I have to ask someone other than my husband for a favor. And it usually takes me an average of a week or two to ask people for favors, which is why last-minute favors are often due less to forgetfulness (as usually claimed) but because it took me too long to figure out how to ask for the things I need.
I figure this is the Universe’s way of balancing things out. Yes, I am on the receiving end of a lot of favors, but I hate being so, and I’m made deeply aware of this dichotomy, every time I go to ask anyone for anything. I also hope that it keeps my personality in balance. It’s hard to have a big ego when you know deep down inside that you wouldn’t be able to keep yourself alive if left to your own devices for more than a week.
Anyway, this is all to say, that it took me no less than three weeks to get up the courage to ask the wonderful author, Carleen Brice, for the favor of a blurb, and not only did she give me a beyond awesome one [big reveal coming in a few weeks], but she also left the nicest note on by Facebook Wall:
“Heard they’re calling your book Sixteen Candles meets E. Lynn Harris, but my take is: Davie Jones = Claireece “Precious” Jones + Bridget Jones. Which turns out to be a brain-bogglingly good mash-up!”
Anxiety is a weird thing. Most of the time I’m cursing the fates for both giving me an overabundance of it and a career path that only exacerbates it. But I’ve been floating on Ms. Brice’s blurb for a week now, and I’m reminded that sometimes the things we dislike most about ourselves serve to illuminate the payoff of overcoming them.