Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm not ok, and you're ok with that?

Originally posted on my MySpace blog 6/3/07.


half crop glasses
Originally uploaded by gkp
I am one of those people that's always fine, thanks for asking. Or at least I try to be. My very closest friends can get away with calling bullshit when they hear something in my voice that indicates I really am not fine, and god bless 'em, because by that point, I have 'I'm fined' myself all into a tizzy and they hear more than they ever wanted about how un-fine I really am.

Now, I understand the social conventions that underlie the "hey, how are ya?" and 'oh, just fine, and you?" that make up our passing acquaintances. And I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes it's hard enough for me to express myself fully to my very good friends, so I am more than happy to keep everything nice and easy with passing pals.

But then, every so often, something happens that makes me wonder. A few weeks ago, a person I counted as a good friend let me know she was getting divorced, and that the circumstances had been trying. I was aghast. I hadn't seen the signs, I hadn't asked the questions, I hadn't known anything had been wrong, and all this had been going on for several months. I had been occupied with the wedding, and because she is a good friend, she hadn't wanted to worry me with the details in my happy time or during the holidays. I felt horrible. What kind of friend was I not to be attuned to her grief, and what kind of friend was I that she thought she couldn't worry me during my happy time? Sheesh. I suck.

Then my best friend reminded me I did the same thing during the time she was getting married, which was on the cusp of my subsequent separation and later divorce. Oh.

I guess we don't want to trouble our nearest and dearest when things are not going well, but those are exactly the times that we should. There's even scientific evidence:

http://health.msn.com/centers/depression/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100161793>1=10102

Look, friends are as good as Prozac! Or at least a good adjunct therapy!

There's a lot of things we don't talk about in this culture, and not being fine is way up there on the list. But what happens when we don't talk about it? We internalize, we gunnysack, and then we end up throwing shoes at walls (or maybe that's just me. Don't throw any high heels at drywall if you don't like heavy duty spackling, that's all I'm saying.)

I actually haven't thrown any shoes in a very long time, thanks to understanding friends listening to my whiny drivel (at least that's the way it feels sometimes) and a partner who is willing to talk it out, even if it is painful (which, God, it is! Sometimes I would rather throw shoes at walls!) I wouldn't have believed this was possible a few short years ago, but lo! I have learned the errors of my ways. If you have a couple of very good friends, they will listen to you complain about anything from not getting laid to the fact that you just can't find good half and half these days, and it takes a lot of the pressure off. And did you know that if you tell your spouse he/she is pissing you off before you get to the shoe throwing stage, then the conversation generally goes a lot smoother? I didn't know this. And also, you should be there to listen to your friends bitch about whatever they want (not generally a problem, since my friends have much more interesting lives) and also- you are probably pissing your spouse off, too, and you have to be ready to hear that (ooh, not so much fun, but that's the price of being a grown up. Plus, when you argue, you get to make up. Hmmm...)

All this rambling is to say- it's ok not to be ok all the time. That's life, and some of it's magic and some of it's tragic and right now I'll stop before I quote more Jimmy Buffett. But when we stop and acknowledge that, as hard as it is, it makes the rest of the journey a little easier, and we'll have a good life all the way. And sometimes we just can't help the Buffett.

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