There was, for a while, a time when I hated the question "how are you?" or "you doing okay?" or anything similar. The response in my head being, "No you simple bitch. I regret waking up today. I need serious help that you can't provide. Don't ask me dumb ass questions you're not ready to hear the answers to!" LOL! *Smiley Face Emoji* I was a very angry person.
It brought my attention to how mindless people are with the question though. I still try hard to break this automatic reaction when greeting people. Sometimes I ask with the intent on hearing a story. Sometimes I'm not intentional but still wouldn't mind hearing more. Other times I regret asking because I truly don't care. LOL! *Sweating Smiley Face Emoji*
Still, I was tired of suffering from showing good manners and having to honor the good intentions of others. People think they're being pleasant but of course neither your coworker, Lyft driver, nor your chicken fillet cashier want to really hear about your internal torment. "I'm good, and you?" But my shit is bubbling just beneath the surface.
What if I’m not ok? What if I told you everything that was going on? From my perspective, it seems like there’s an imperative to help or support. When you don’t help or you just suck at it (have you tried yoga in the woods during the solstice while high on b-12 vitamins?) then damn. I just went through the emotional unpacking for no reason.
If I want or need to vent about something, I’m typically intentional about it. I’m primarily about solving problems, fixing flaws. I don't like to get my venting and problem solving mixed up. Just like my greens and biscuits. So, when you ask how I’m doing, it is not my desire to tell my tragic tale and have you just listen. I need help and you aren’t prepared for my answer.
If somehow you can perceive my offness, despite my general reticence or because I’m so tired that my somber affect is leaking through, you may be tempted to ask me if I’m alright. Sometimes I'm actually just in really deep thought and my face looks upset or bothered. Other times I usually lie. But maybe I'm unable to think of something so I name some lesser, more common thing like being tired and not haven gotten much sleep. That was my go-to because everyone identifies with that and it simulates an actual bonding moment with care, vulnerability, sympathy, compassion... those words.
The reason that I don’t usually say what’s really going on is because the energy of finding all the words for expressing what's on my mind is taxing. The frustration is compounded when you for whatever legitimate reason can’t/don’t/won’t hold space for that and be able to help me with my issues. I have to do all that work for nothing. Again, I’m not the type of person who just needs someone to listen or share with. Group therapy never sounded appealing to me. I didn’t too much care that other people had it. I get it, I'm not alone in this (but actually I am. we all are). I wanted solutions. Practical advice. I wanted someone to fix me.
The risk of putting in effort into showing the burden on my back and then the hurt of you not understanding or aiding me is just not worth it. Remember, it’s not just you, it’s everyone I’d come in contact with that day or week or whatever. That’s a lot of disappointment for someone already struggling.
Also, I kind of hate when someone notices that I’m in a chipper mood and they point it out to me. It's like guaranteed to ruin it because for a rare occurrence I happen to not be existential or maybe in spite of being it, I let go and really let myself be in the moment. I’m stress free and chilling and then you, with your burning desire to vocalize all your observations like a 6 year old, remind me that I'm actually supposed to be gloomy and that my happy time is about to expire.
Thanks for that.