Asking. It seems like such a simple thing. We do it every day. We ask, “How are you?” and “Do you mind if I sit down?” and “Can you please hold this?” and “Do you remember that song?” We ask and ask and ask and most of the time don’t think much about it, until it comes to asking for big things. Money. “Can you loan me $1,000?” A place to live. “Is it okay if I camp out at your apartment for a couple months?” Transportation. “May I borrow your car?” Fundraising. “Please contribute to our cause?” Help. Any kind of serious help. Anything going beyond the doughnut. Anything that involves a serious risk on the other side of the party, or serious trust in us. And why would someone want to trust someone in this life where we have learned not to trust strangers? Where since we were little, since that moment when we gave away all our toys to that neighbor kid and when our parents scolded us and told us, “You don’t just give your things away like that when someone asks!” Or when we asked someone for that candy and were told, “No, that’s mine. Go away. Go buy your own candy.” It was not until that moment that we have started being ashamed of asking. We were told it was wrong. We were brought up to rely on ourselves. We were supposed to become self-sufficient adults. Only many of us self-sufficient adults later break down, understanding that we can’t possibly survive on our own. We need help. We can’t live without help. And we don’t know how to ask.
The Art of Asking is a beautiful story that is exactly that, a piece of art about asking. Amanda drew a painting with words, or maybe made music with words, or simply took out her thoughts and dropped them on paper as they were, illustrating her own path to learning how to ask, what it means, why there is so much fear, in her, in people around her, in all of us. And it’s bare, this story. Holding this book you’re holding Amanda, bare, because she trusts you, the reader, to see her. And you, the reader, will see this story if you trust her. It’s human. It’s touching. It’s raw. It’s messy. It’s all what life is. It’s vulnerable. It will make you pause and think and examine your own life, your own messiness and fears and everything human that is in you. You might connect with it, you might not. But I hope that on fundamental level, on the level of your heart, you will. And perhaps you will ask people in your life for things you were always afraid to ask for. Just like I’m asking you right now to read this book.