Thursday, August 25, 2016

The coping chronicles part VII

Learning to answer: How are you?

"How are you?" She asked.
"I am ok." I typed back with a jaunty air.
I AM ok, I am not pretending.
I know life is not all ok, but I am.
If I am feeling safe, not hungry and know that I will be fine the next hour - I am ok.
"Why do you not say that you are fine?" She asked me one day.
"Because I do not feel fine."
"Oh. So..."
"No, I am ok, don't worry."
I might not be fine, I might not be happy, but I am ok.
I am alive, I want to remain alive, and I will do what I can to keep going.
Yes, I am ok.
It is not one of those days.
Or if it is, it is not that time yet.

To answer so that no one worries about me.
Because if they worry, I feel guilty.
Ok, to answer in a way so that I do not feel guilty.
To answer so that I can put everything in a tiny word - "Ok".
Does anyone know what we mean when we say "Ok"?
Well, does anyone know what people want to hear when they ask "how are you?"

"Ai, tum thik hain?" (Hey, are you ok?) Another one asked one day.
"How have things been?"
"Oh I am ok, things have been the same mostly, nothing changed."
"What do you mean by..."
"I mean, I am managing." Breathlessly I add "And how are you?"

Defend, deflect, divert.
Take the focus away so that I do not need to explain much.
Because it will take too long to explain.
Because it sounds boring - a rehash of the same old life, repetitions of a pattern.
Hope, plan, watch, despair with a flicker of hope, so plan, watch....

Can I tell you how I am?
Can I tell you that I wish things were different?
But you will then ask what I am doing about it
Or you will run to fix things for me
And then I will be offended, for you trying to protect me.
Can I tell you what I want?
Can I tell you that life is a mess but I am still hanging in,
That I am probably a loser for still being here
That I feel weird
That I want everything to change but know it never will.

That I am really not ok.
I am really just another living being trying to live on.
Some days are good, some bad.
And I am not sure if I like the good or the bad.

How are you my friend? my mother? my father? my daughter?
I wish you never need to think hard before you answer.


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