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"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Sometimes when you ask me how I am doing, I answer honestly.

And I get the feeling that the honesty isn't what I was meant to give.

And that maybe it's boring, "Oh, no, not more of this again.  Doesn't she know I didn't really mean it?  Doesn't she understand that I'm just waiting for her to shut up so I can talk about what's really important, me and what's on my mind?"

Sometimes I am in the middle of answering, or struggling to answer, and I see your eyes wander away or glaze over, or I hear you sigh, or I hear you talking to someone else (if we're on the phone) or you grunt or respond in a way that is supposed to make me feel like you're listening but really tells me you have no idea what I just said because your attentions wandered, or you interrupt as if I was never speaking and tell me your story and I am left feeling like maybe I was never part of this conversation to begin with.

And I know that you are just being polite and I'm really taxing you but I can't help it, every now and then my mouth begins to go on about what's real and my mind is telling it to stop because no one wants to hear it, it's not important, it's awkward and difficult and really, I know better, but my mouth just keeps on and I want to tell you I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know you didn't ask for this but I can't.  Stop.  Talking.

Most of the time I try to keep it short.  How am I?  Fine.  Tired.  Busy.  Chaotic.  Fine.  Yeah, fine.  Fine's the default, the safe answer, the one word that lets you off the hook and the one word I know, I know, I KNOW you want to hear and I want to give you what you want even when it's not honest because my honesty wasn't really what you were asking for when you exercised social convention and asked me how I am.

Sometimes I can't do that, be dishonest but I can't be honest so I try to distract you by making a joke or asking how you are without ever really answering, or pointing out that money is an illusion or that the sun is brighter today, or that I saw the funniest meme or what's that behind you?

And sometimes I think it would just be better if I didn't speak to you, or to anyone, because I can't, just can't, just...just...cannot...give you what you want from me and I know with dread certainty that if you ask me how I am I will begin, and once begun I won't be able to end and you will be bored and want to walk away and it will be awkward.

So maybe sometimes you could shoulder the burden, the responsibility, and not ask me how I am so I can maybe take a break, have a rest, not feel like I have to work my way towards an answer.  I know it's asking a lot, really,but it'd be awfully nice not to feel like I don't matter,my answer doesn't matter, and the only way I can think to make that happen is to not be asked the question.

Or maybe...and this is reaching, it's out there, I know...maybe if you do ask, you could listen, really listen, while I answer you honestly about how I am doing.


Angela Gorman said...

Dear K, I know we haven't been face to face in a while, but know this: there are some folks from whom I expect honesty when I ask "How are you?". You are one of those. I shall listen, and empathize, as best I am able, and give hugs as needed.

Kyddryn said...

Thanks, hon, and hugs to you and yours - I miss y'all.