Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are You Okay?

If the past couple of weeks have taught me anything, it's how unanswerable the question 'are you okay?' is. Fine, I get it. Everyone wants to hear you say that you are in fact okay, but what if you aren't. What if you don't know if you're okay at all, what then?

The other day, I was talking to my fister - which is what you get when your sister is also your friend - and yeah, I know how bad it sounds, but I just love merging two words into one - anyhow, we were discussing how being asked 'are you okay?' is most annoying. In some ways, it's almost as though the other person doesn't want the truth. They just want a quick response, then they can dust their hands off and be on their merry way.

Then my mind started making connections. Remember how I wrote that blog about how we need to ask better questions? No? Well, it was beautifully named Because Of The Poo and basically detailed how we are asking the wrong questions, that if we truly cared about the people in our lives we would tailor our questions to be more specific.

If you think about it, 'Are you okay?' is a slap in the face. Either you answer yes or no. Mostly you answer yes for fear people will get that awkward expression on their face that tells you they really, really, really don't want to know what's going on in your head, let alone your heart. I suppose an honest conversation can seem a bit daunting, after all they can run on in length. Still, no matter what the answer is, I have a hard time grasping what 'okay' is.

Sometimes I think it's the simple act of existing. Yeah, I'm okay, I'm here, I'm breathing, I'm eating and pooping. I am going through the routine. Is the basic act of existing what it means to be okay? And if so, why are we accepting that as a good thing? Why is it a relief? If I really start brooding over it, which is never a good idea, it seems as though being 'okay' is in fact not 'okay' at all! This is getting to be too much for my tiny brain to handle right now. I mean, it is almost eight o'clock. So, let's start wrapping this up.

In the past couple days, I've come to the realization that it isn't acceptable to be emotional. If you do it at work, you're boss might not think you're cut out for the job. If you do it around your friends, they might think you're unstable. Mention it to your mom and you might end up being analyzed. In truth, people shy away from those raw moments. And who can blame them? I hate showing that vulnerability,  but sometimes the tears come and they aren't wrong. They are what make us human. Sometimes you can't plan your meltdowns, they just bubble up and over the cauldron of your mind and leak out your eyes.

Here it is, the truth, simple and honest: things happen in life you can't control. Shocking, right? Well, when they do, you are allowed to feel however you feel. That's right. Your feelings are your own. And they may not make sense to anyone else - hell, they might not make sense to you, but that doesn't make them any less valid. It doesn't mean your feelings aren't justified.

I've decided to dump 'are you okay?' from my vernacular. In its place, I will ask things like, how are you handling this, what can I do for you, can I get you anything, and is there anything you want to talk about? These questions will at least make way for an honest response. Because I don't fear a truthful conversation, no matter the length, and I never want someone else to feel I am asking them a question for show. I am just not that kind of girl. Thank goodness.

Now, where'd I put that meltdown I've been meaning to have? I know it's around here somewhere.


solange noir said...

Great post and just for future reference - If I say "How are you doing, Tee?" I mean it. I really want to know. Whether it's good, bad or somewhere in between.

English Muffin said...

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by someone in my life if I was ok. I wasn't. I've been going through a lot of shit lately and they caught me at an emotional moment. I told them the truth, that I wasn't ok, and I told them why. We've barely spoken since. If people don't want to know they just shouldn't ask, because someone we're too honest.

Tyson said...

@Soli - I know that
@English Muffin - That's really too bad. It's unfortunate they couldn't be there for you. Sadly, I think a lot of people aren't sure how to react when other people are having a hard time. I have taken to saying, 'No, but I will be."