Thursday, May 17, 2012


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?

Probably not.

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.


  1. I think this is a great post. But I really want you to know that I meant it when I asked at the gelato event, and I'll meant it when I ask on Tuesday when we met for a drink. Some people are here, and do care. They really do.

  2. Jodi, THANK YOU for that! Really looking forward to Tuesday!

  3. Isn't that what blogs are for--spilling your guts out? Unfortunately, that only works really well if you have an anonymous blog...which I've often considered switching to--imagine the total freedom to say whatever the heck you want/need to say!

  4. Alice - I totally hear you! I so many times have wished this blog was anonymous. And I've actually considered starting another, anonymous blog for just this purpose. Or maybe I already have... Ha! :)

  5. Lots of love. Australia is a great place to visit you know :) xx

  6. Deciding that all of these thing are OK--NOT shameful or imperfect or less than ideal--makes it so you can answer "fine" without the "enough." Like you said: if everyone experiences these things in their lives, why hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard of something perfect and unattainable?

    Go easy on yourself--because you're awesome. :)

  7. Love this post. Sometimes don't you wish that you could just shock people with the truth, though?

    Then again, it isn't just about what the other person wants to hear or could deal with. Regardless of whether people would be supportive, *I* don't want them thinking "Wow, thank goodness it isn't me. My life is so much better." and I don't want their pity. Sometimes I don't know if I'm acting fine for their benefit or for mine.

    Anyways, I get where you are coming from.

  8. I feel this. My relative anonymity hasn't given me the freedom to be "not fine" very often on my site... probably because my husband reads the blog and sometimes, my marriage is NOT FINE at all.

  9. FINE = F'ed up, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional.

  10. Thank you so much for your honesty. I love it!!

  11. Love this. I'm fine too.

  12. You're more fine than you think because you're honest with yourself. That's huge, especially during difficult times. Am rooting for you from afar...

  13. Maybe the underlying problem somehow (not for you, but just in general) is that women can't find a way to define our own self worth, and feel good about ourselves, without always comparing ourselves to other women.

  14. Wonderful post!! And yes, i want to hear when you're fine and when you're not fine.

  15. This is what I really mean when I say 'I'm fine' too. Thank you for sharing, so much here is how my life is/was. Scary really, but great to read it instead of thinking it.

  16. I just stumbled across your blog while searching for jobs online. I stepped away from my legal career to raise my 3 kids and have no regrets about doing so.

    I understand about "fine." The world doesn't really want to know about death, illness or divorce. In fact, I think the "how are you?" question is really just a pleasantry that society it trained to use. The good news about "fine" is that it leaves you grateful for what matters. When stripped down to the essence of who you are, none of the mess matters. Loved ones matter. That's it. Mommy or not, people are not replaceable. Stuff is.

    Over the years, I've learned, albeit at an excruciatingly slow pace, not to worry about how others will react to my bad news. Okay - I've NEVER cared what the neighbors thought but was married to someone who did. He lives in shame of so much and instilled those characteristics in me. I am still learning that real friends care how I'm doing and want to help. Of course you need to protect your privacy but, as someone who battles anxiety (and is also an overachieving, Type A attorney turned SAHM), I can share that the burden of keeping the "fine" face plaster does nothing to help the angst.
    I've been through much of what you've described in your blog. I'd be happy to share my stories with you or others on a similar journey.


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