In the past few months, I've gotten a lot of 'how are you's'?
And then their eyes lower, and they look at me seriously - No, really, how are you?
I'm fine, I respond, automatically.
And then I give a smile and a little giggle, to really give the confidence that I am fine, and I notice the person relax a little bit, almost as to say, Oh good. So we don't have to go there.
Because do you really want to know?
You may want to know out of your own curiosity. Wow, what is that like, when someone really is not fine? Maybe to make yourself feel better about how fine you are, in comparison to my not fine-ness.
But you don't want to really deal with it. Really face it down and feel it and revel in the brutal truth of it all. That's too much. There are things that people just don't want to hear. So we all walk around acting like all is fine. All is perfect. With the job and the marriage and the house and the two kids and the dog and the vacations at the shore. No, we don't want to let people into the non-fine-ness of our lives. The trauma and hurt and messy kitchens and meltdowns. That would just be shameful!
There are things we don't talk about. Things we wouldn't dare admit.
Why can't we just be real?
Here's some real.
Your wedding probably wasn't the best day of your life.
You don't have a perfect marriage.
Your baby's birth was not the happiest time in your life (well, maybe the first four hours - but then it wasn't). You were probably in pain and confused and overwhelmed and cried a lot. And had bad hemorrhoids.
You don't love your job all the time. Sometimes you wonder if it's worth it.
You don't love staying home with your kids all the time. Sometimes you wonder if it's worth it.
Your house is in shambles sometimes and you race around to clean it up before people come over because you don't want people to think your house is indicative of your life - in disarray.
Sometimes you yell at your children and you hear your mother's voice come out of you and it scares you shitless.
You found breastfeeding really hard and wondered why you just couldn't enjoy it. Or maybe you quit and you think back on that and feel guilty, no matter how old your kids are and no matter how much you profess that it didn't matter.
You don't like exercising THAT MUCH! Sometimes you want to veg on the couch.
You don't like eating grilled chicken and raw vegetables THAT MUCH! Sometimes you just want a burger.
You don't want to take on that extra assignment at work because it will provide you opportunities to develop your skill set and work with new people. Deep down, you think that's all bullshit and you just want to be home with your family.
Underneath your make up and your designer jeans, you feel insecure about yourself and your body and how your youth is slipping away.
You worry about your kids and their development and if they will fall victim to the same traumas and insecurities that plagued you as a child.
You don't always feel grateful even when you know you should.
You doubt yourself sometimes.
You feel sorry for yourself sometimes.
You second guess your decisions sometimes.
You feel lonely sometimes.
You feel scared sometimes.
You cry sometimes.
You probably aren't fine either.
But that's what you tell me, so I'll go with it. And I'll respond likewise.
But here is my admission that no, I'm not fine.
But I'm fine enough.
Thanks for asking.