Sooner or later you’ll get asked, “How are you?” to which you’ll reply brightly, “Fine!” Seriously, if it hasn’t happened yet, it will.
Someone yrmama used to know once asked “So, yrmama, how are you?” To which I replied in all earnestness, “Fine.” To which she said, “No you’re not.” “Um, yes I am.” “No (derisive chuckle) I can tell you’re not fine. Tell me what’s wrong.” “I’m fine. Really.” “Yuh huh.” “Nuh uh.” And so on.
This lady did a couple of things wrong so listen and learn. First, if you are a mind reader you have to keep it to yourself 98% of the time. Nobody likes a mindreader. Second, take a hint. By the second time yrmama said “fine” the mindreader should have mind-read the message, “I’m not going to talk about anything with you now. Stop it.” But she was itchin’ for a fight. The only thing worse than a mindreader who can’t keep it to herself is a belligerant one.
The real question is, how do you know you are fine? What’s the evidence? Some options:
Because you checked and an ambulance did not just pull up outside. Because you’ve got the dopamine/cortisol/serotonin balance grooving just right. Because you ate and your kids ate and you all have cute pants and shoes to wear. Because the mindreader said so. Because the person with whom you are codependent seems fine. Because you want it to be true. Because you feel an abiding, glowy calm washing over you. Because if you aren’t fine your house of cards will catch fire. Because you are mortally afraid of being not fine because all hell will break loose, and everyone you think loves you will wander away without noticing they’ve abandoned you.
The mammogram lady always asks, “so, yrmama, do you have the rest of the day off or are you going back to work?” To which I always, year after year, reply, “I have the rest of my life off.” And she says, “Oh!” and laughs nervously and then spends the rest of the boob-squishing session trying to make sense of such a thing. yrmama is fine, she’s busy employing creativity, obsession, empathy and intuition, to review the systems, take names and take up slack. She is sticking it to the man, man. She is attempting to put privilege to good use by doing the dorky, messy things she feels compelled to do. Because what else can anybody do?