The simple question that is asked at the start of many a conversation, what does it mean to people and what is the answer you give? And more importantly why do you give the answer that you give. Is it to appeal to the general construct of the way we greet each other and just following the expectations, or do you answer truthfully that you are either good, just okay or that you are feeling plain terrible? Most often it seems that there is the standard please do not ask about this ‘Okay’ answer even when you can clearly see that is not the case, or that you are asked and you see that the person is using it more as a ‘I am not really interested, but have to ask anyway as it is the polite thing to do’. Is that the time to be truthful, or is it better to just go through the motions?
People do not know what to do when you answer truthfully, mainly because it is not the thing they expect or want to discuss. The ‘How are you?’ is a politeness question, to establish some sort of familiarity. Not to be the start of a lengthy and heavy subject of what ails you. This is the reason I try to avoid that question if I am not really that interested in knowing how you actually feel, but when I do ask, I do want to know. If you give me an ‘I’m fine’ or a regular ‘okay’ answer I know to avoid the subject later on in the conversation.
That said, there are several implications on the question of how you are, that can be how you have been up to the point of asking, how you are now, or how you think things are around you taking it into a broader spectrum. This is the reason I try to be more specific in my question. How are you feeling ‘now’? This question is very precise and gives people the option to be open and truly honest, sometimes that gets brushed away too with the occasional ‘okay’ but that says more about them than it does about me I guess.
There have also been times when I asked how they were and they said the generally accepted answer of ‘Fine, just fine, thanks.’ To which I replied ‘No, I know you are not.’ and they broke down, crumbled utterly and I had my answer, I could try to help and make things a little more bearable for her. Just that one push through that thick barrier was all that she really needed at that point and never knew she did need it up to that point. Sometimes I wish people would do that to me as well, but that I hope will come eventually.
Now then to the matter of how I am feeling right now…
I feel pretty terrible about me, I have not worked nearly enough as of late, been holed up in my house and have neglected going out for the most part. I gained a fair few pounds, making me feel even worse about myself, further damaging my self image. I have not been able to break through my inability to connect with people and I have had more migraines than I wanted to have this year. Stress is most likely the main culprit, but staring at computer screens for hours on end is also not a good thing. I have trouble going outside, I have trouble letting people in, I hate having to hide from people as I long for meaningful contact, but that seems in very short supply. Not that I blame anyone, I am not very sociable anyway… I am mourning the lack of her in my life and remind myself it is my own fault. I was unable to inform her of my boundaries and how she went beyond them so very often and easily, especially when things were going anything but ideal. My walls did push her out, when I desperately wanted her to be able to see through them.
So I am doing very badly, but not many people will ever hear me say this, simply because they either do not understand or simply do not wish to know this. They do not want to be confronted with the fact that the dark voices urge me to jump, that I am not worth the salt of the earth, that I am a burden or that I simply just need to leave and never come back. No one will miss me, ever… Those voices will probably never leave my mind, they will stop many good things yet to come and have destroyed so many good things before, or maybe I let them, which in itself actually makes it worse.
That said, I would love to hear how you are doing, how you feel, truthfully. Be it at this point in time or have been up to now.
This post was inspired by this post: 31-honest-answers-to-how-are-you