“I’m okay” (but not really)

When someone asks you, “Is everything okay?”  or when people (at least in America) ask “How are you?”  The answer is probably 99% of the time “Good!” This is such an automatic reaction that I notice people continue talking without even waiting for the response, and they bustle to talk over each other to continue to other things or something to that likeness.

I’m a terrible liar, so it physically makes me uncomfortable whenever I have to answer things like this.  I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but it still makes it a lie.  Here’s a scary thought.  What if it never gets better?  Your answer will permanently stay a lie?

You hide behind your smile, but even that feels untruthful.  And people comfort you and fall to the default of “It will get better” with all those testimonies.  But for those where it didn’t get better, guess what?  They aren’t going to rain on anyone’s parade by publicly coming out and say “It doesn’t.”  Chances are, their lives have fallen so dismally they wouldn’t bother to.  They’re busy dealing with the heavy load that has been placed on their shoulders.  It could be anything… alcoholism, suicidal thoughts, drugs, disease, pain in general that won’t go away.  Maybe they were gone already.

And me?  I can train myself to follow the wisp of thoughts that it might get better, but I’ve lived 23 years like this, and my best hope is more that it will continue to stay like this, and not worsen.  That’s the truth.  But the truth is so dark, the issues are so widespread from the immediate to the long term, that I feel some days like I’m waiting in a holding cell for her expiration date.

Some people walk by this holding cell, either completely ignorant, oblivious, or just don’t give a fuck.  The few who stop might gawk, or ask with some sympathy how I’m doing.  You know what?  I don’t want your sympathy.  That’s like feeling sorry for someone, feeling pity.  I want empathy, I demand understanding for everyone in this world. But the reality again, is that real peace and happiness will never exist.  We want equality in the economy?  That’s called communism, which we know doesn’t work.  In democracy, someone will ALWAYS have to get the short end of the stick.  And there are too many damn selfish people in the world, statistically, many simply just want to get through life okay, can you blame them?  (sometimes, you can for being an asshole).

This is supposed be a blog about positivity but you know what?  Positivity and happiness is only measured in relevance to suffering and depression, so they’re one and the same topic.  Obtaining it, lack of it.  Here’s the real truth. Honesty, this here, the only space in existence where it exists, untainted.

And so, what would I reply to this person who asks me if I’m okay?  That’s a loaded question.  But maybe they don’t really want to know the whole truth.  As me, the one with the issues, am I supposed to be the one who bears the light bravely and inspiringly, beaming at everyone in my sickbed (figuratively speaking for now) so that I have any redeeming qualities and serve some sort of purpose for others?

I don’t want to sound emo, so I’ll just stick with “I’m okay, thanks :)”

 

Life can be (but is not always) Farting Sunshine and Rainbows, But It’s Okay

I don’t know if anyone else follows a certain page featuring kids with special needs, but for the past year I’ve followed Christopher Ulmer’s mission relatively closely.  I support his goal to interview these people and to share their stories and perspectives with the rest of the world as normal human beings who just want to be accepted and treated the same way.  But maybe I’m feeling pessimistic today?  I’ve definitely been feeling annoyed at a lot of things lately.

I would always watch each video uploaded the day it came out and try to learn what I could from what I saw. But one thing nags me right now.  It just seems unrealistic that every single one of these human beings give happy-go-lucky answers, smiling about how they think about girls, friends, and their mom, and how they want to spread love and joy and appreciate everyone and all those good feels.  I’m not hating on it, I think it’s great, but it starts to feel repetitive and, well… can we call out the elephant in the room and discuss more about feelings and the tough parts?

Because it’s okay to feel anger, frustration, and pain at what hand you’ve been dealt in life.  It doesn’t do to focus on it and become drowned in it, but at least, speaking for myself here, there are moments, days, weeks, even months when you just have had it and you’re fed up.  At those times, is it not human, all the more real of emotions, to just let yourself feel, go through it, and then try to try again?   I want someone to say all this in one of his interviews, because it’s real.  It’s the truth.  That is what it means to be an inspiration:  getting back up despite everything, not a few seconds of positive babble that downplays their experiences and has cheerful, content, beaming kids in every clip.  I just feel like when all the kids appear to be of the same mold and outlook, it’s not a full or completed portrayal of the full range of human experiences.  For the people who go through chronic conditions as well as the people surrounding them who help, it’s different.

To “normal”, healthy people, I would like to explain what it is exactly that chronic conditions are like.  Sure, everyone goes through rough patches in life, maybe break ups, loss of job, those kinds of situations.  But having a chronic illness is like having a guarantee of those things either existing 24/7, reminding you with every small thing you do like breathing, moving a couple feet downstairs, or needing to ask someone for a favor.  People with chronic conditions have to wear a mental suit of armor at all times.  So when I see privileged people get all worn down by something like grades or worrying about not getting a job despite a 4.0 GPA and a million extracurriculars, I can’t help but feel a little pissed off and discouraged.

It’s a bit like someone getting upset that they got distilled water instead of spring water, when so many people elsewhere have access to no water at all:  there is almost little to no chance of them obtaining it.  So, just to even know there is a possibility, a hope, to gain something if you work hard at it and have a bit of luck, is a huge thing by itself.  What the absolutely worst circumstance is knowing that you will never get that opportunity, because it’s simply not in the cards for you.

And tonight, I’ll whine a bit and get it all out, but come tomorrow?  Tomorrow, I will have no choice but to wake up and work at it again, replenishing my mental and physical attitude as best as I can.  Even though you’re standing in the middle of the gym or the supermarket and feel really off and just unwell, you’re still standing there, smiling at strangers, holding up a conversation, putting on a mask to blend in with society so that you fit in as best you can.  And as you steer yourself towards the car with the handicap spot, you take down the sign because you don’t feel like you deserve or want that label for yourself.  Moments later, you see a tall, white dude walk out, stare at your car in its forefront spot, peer at you, and decide to continue walking.  And then, ladies and gentlemen, you know once again, that you have been judged in the span of five seconds.  But what options do you have, except to brush it off and continue on your day?

For so long, I felt like I had no right to complain, but I do.  It’s not okay to take it out on other people, but I do have a right to feel sad or upset.  It’s okay to feel this way.  It’s okay to be realistic and just call things out on what they are sometimes.  After all, we DON’T live in a world that shits sunshine and rainbow farts.  There is a lot of cruelty and injustice happening all the time, all you have to do is turn on the news to get that.  We can’t blindly ignore it as if it were not part of our world, but we also cannot let ourselves become consumed by it.  What a delicate balance and just plain fucking hard thing to do.