When did the simple question of ‘how are you’ become so difficult and complex to answer? My initial reaction is a quick ‘I’m fine’ as I briefly smile and nod my head as I think to myself – I’m not in pain, nor going through anything traumatic, so I must be fine. But then I start to wonder, am I saying this because it’s the honest answer or because it’s the easiest? And why has this become my automatic response? When someone asks me if I’m okay, why do I feel obliged to say yes? Truth is, I’m not okay and I’m not fine.
If you want to know how I have been feeling, then ask me what my last thought at night is, what keeps me awake at night. Ask me about my dreams and if I have nightmares. Ask me what I do during the day and how I pass the time. Ask me what I’m worrying over and what scares me to death. Ask me what my favourite song is, or what I’ve been listening to a lot. Ask me what my plans are and if there’s anything I’m looking forward to. Ask me about my hopes and aspirations, what my next move in life is; if I have a next move. Ask me what I would wish for if I could have anything in the world. Bottom line is, you don’t have to ask ‘how are you’ because the answer is hidden in all of those questions you didn’t ask.
Sometimes people lie or don’t tell you the whole truth about how they feel, but their actions say it loud and clear; and sometimes people automatically say ‘I’m fine’ even if they’re not. I still long for those days when someone asks me, ‘how are you’ and my reply will be ‘happy’.