I was speaking to a friend last week and she was saying how difficult it is to ask for things. This friend and I share many similarities. We are both singers, both songwriters and we both perform Tribute Shows to one of the most awesome women on the planet … Tina Turner! And, we have one more similarity ... I too find it difficult to ask for things.
Before I had this conversation, I had already decided that 2020 would be the year of asking. Asking for what I want and asking for what I need. But it seems I am already feeling resolved to do this, so I’m not waiting until 2020.
On Sunday, I was in London getting ready to perform Tina Turner Tribute Show for this wonderful group who put on events for very active seniors. I mean, wow, they party hard. I get there, and as always the staff are fabulous. They take me in to meet the soundman and then they take me to my dressing room. My fellow performers can attest to the fact that many of the venues we perform in are not geared up for entertainment, much less Tribute Shows. So it’s not unusual for the event organiser to try to stick you in a closet or handicapped loos, or any ole random place and call it a dressing room. I was put in one room that had rat traps all along the walls … I was like ‘Mickey’ don’t you show up tonight. I’ll be doing this gig from this table top!’ So, when I realised that said dressing room was the gents loos, at first I went in and had a look around and then I said 'no.' I looked at my host and asked for what I wanted.
I wanted to be in a comfortable space, that was odour free so that I could prepare to do my 35-minute spot. I was polite, yet direct and said ‘this space is not suitable for me to get ready for my performance.’ And without any hesitation, I was ushered into another room, just next door that had a couple comfy chairs, had sandwiches for the talent, what?? And a lovely drag queen who turned out to be the host of the event. Said queen was happy to share his space with me and we had a lovely chat as we prepared for the show. Turns out he also had better legs then me and Tina put together, but that’s another story!
I was so proud of myself for just asking for what I wanted. So often we suffer in silence or in passive aggressiveness instead of simply speaking up. I am not opposed to reading a self-help book, or ten, and two spring to mind as I write this: The first is ‘The Art of Asking’ by Amanda Palmer and the second is ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown. Amanda asks the question, 'are we just too embarrassed to ask?' Brene looks at how our fear of being vulnerable can keep us from getting what we want and need because we’re too proud to just ask.
There are a lot of things I want to do next year and I’m going to need some help to do them. I have always been very independent and self-sufficient so asking for help has always been hard for me. But, I’m prepared to do it, because I won’t get to those ‘yeses’ until I do.