Count one to fine

“I’m fine”

The phrase with the possible underlying meaning of

1, I’m shy, please don’t talk to me

2, We’re not close, why are you suddenly asking me that personal question?

3, Stop flirting with me

4, I’m thinking about the food I’m about to eat so yes, I am mighty fine

5, I’m on autopilot

6, I don’t want to talk to you, so I’ll give you an answer that wont prolong this conversation

7, I feel numb, I didn’t mean it literally but saying it might freak the person out, so scratch that term

8, Can you see me?

9, Can you tell if I’m lying or not? Because

10, I hope you know I’m lying and I hope you make me spill it out because I’m totally not fine.

How many I’m fines have we used when we’re asked if we’re okay after tripping or slipping over something, or bumping our toe on the edge of a table

How many I’m fines have we used after sneezing five times straight that got our noses turning red that obviously means we’re sick

How many I’m fines have we used even when we’re sick of hearing the question “Are you okay?” over and over again, and can’t they see that you’re not? Or they’re just waiting for a different reply, or for you to say why you aren’t, but no, you’re not gonna say it, of course, because it’s never easy to talk about how you feel.

Because explaining “I’m not okay” puts a plump in your throat that chokes you up and makes it hard to breathe, but at least it shifts you away from the question

And that word “not”, despite having just 3 letters, one syllable, that word that leaves you hanging, can mean

1, I’m sick

2, I’m hungry and about to throw a tantrum

3, I feel sad, do I need to enumerate the reasons why?

4, I honestly don’t know which is pulling me down from the list of things that bothers me

5, I’m mad but I’m trying to control it

6, I might explode

7, I’m about to have a breakdown but I’m still trying to keep my composure so it’s best for you to not interrogate me because it only makes me think about it more

8, just hold me

9, I’m sick

10, No, I’m sick. Of my life. Of myself.

But you can’t say that. You just can’t.

Because everyone wants you to save your drama to yourself. Because everyone wants you to keep your shit together, as if you don’t want the same, but you do. Of all the people, you do want to be fine. Who the hell in the right mind doesn’t want to be fine? But how can you be fucking fine when you have so many reasons not to be?

But you say you’re fine. And the people around you can only take so much of you for so long,

so they settle for your “I’m fine”,

as much as you try to settle for it, too.

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