I’m fine, really

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I, like most women, was brought up to be a nice and pleasant girl, which was hard for such a moody child. Thing is, this is still my first reaction when someone approaches me, even if I’m upset or hurting, my first response is almost always cheerful, fine, upbeat, especially if I”m in public. The authentic reaction, the true response, always comes secondary. And there are still people in my life who reinforce this, who prefer the social veneer to authenticity.

I have two issues with this, the first is that the social veneer is never truly joyful, it is only repressed. The other issue is that I end up lying to people who care about me, who come to see if I’m OK, knowing I’m not, and my ability to connect with those I care about is diminished. This knee-jerk-I’m-fine, reaction is one I am working on letting go of so that I can be more real, more present. It’s a work in progress though and not a finished product.I am learning that I need to wait for the second reaction, the one where I see you and you see me, the one where we are gentle with one another, where being vulnerable, scared and frightened is OK. Because there’s space for all of these feelings and it’s OK not to be fine. I am learning to be more accepting of my humanity and to accept the care and the love of others, but I admit it’s a struggle. I am never quite what I ‘should be.’ I feel my inadequacies daily and often I want to protect others from them, save them from seeing me, the real me. 

Today I want to be brave.  I want to trust that if I am real, if I let people see me, that it will be OK, that I will still have a place at the table, that I will still belong. I’m not very good at trusting though and I go back and forth, whispering my truths and hiding. Revealing how much I need others, need people like you dear reader, and then being aloof so you won’t feel oppressed by my need. Today I only pray for your patience, your continuing presence in my life, that you won’t give up on me, because this is a work in progress and I’m not finished yet. And I don’t want you worry if you see me struggling with this because I am fine, really. 

 

4 thoughts on “I’m fine, really

  1. Heidi says:

    What would you tell the kids you work with, every day? Should they act like they’re “fine” or should they be honest about how they are feeling as they go through their own difficult transitions? The answer is, probably, that you’d tell them to be honest with some trusted folks and keep a social veneer for others. Sad fact is, not everyone is on our side – sometimes not even our friends or our families. Especially our families. So many people have a vested interest in keeping us the same way we’ve always been for them. As profoundly alienating as that can be, it’s also true. Lately, I found myself in the position of being able to sustain a balanced, genuine, happiness for the first time in my entire life. And I’ve never felt more conscious of how few people I can share this with and how few truly good friends I have. Because ‘happy’ isn’t “fine”, either. It is also a place of radical uncertainty. “Fine” gives everyone else permission not to dig deeper into what is required of THEM. Either way – fine or not fine – prayer is the only answer, because (I think) God is the only one that can be relied on to be there, 1000 percent. Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone and asking more of life than just paper pushing and a paycheck. My mother devoted her whole life to academia at the expense of everything else in her life and at the end of the day, my sister and I threw it all in giant recycling bins at the U and none of her colleagues or friends came to help. She saved everything she ever made and bought herself a $7,000 a month dementia unit. It didn’t matter at all. It’s harder to figure out how it’s all going to work, but it’s going to work. Scrape off the veneer and keep sanding until you get down to the real wood. Lots of folks will be dusted off onto the floor along the way – not bad people, just not the people you can be real with. You’ll be amazed by what you can live without, not just in money terms but in terms of stuff, people, time wasting experiences, and so on. This is it – this is all we get. And you’re living it more deeply than most of us ever will. I’m proud of and impressed by you. Email me any time.

  2. someone who refuses to be diminished, who refuses to settle, who has hope etched on her soul! yup yup! you amazing woman you!

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