My Answer to “How Are You”

You ever notice how people ask that question? They don’t ask it. It’s just a segway into conversation, like “hi” should be (is). Seriously think about the last time someone walked up to you and asked (said) those words. Was there a question mark? Did they wait for a response? Probably not, but every time I hear it, I hone in on it. I feel compelled to at least consider my answer, but quickly revert back to the response of “good/fine/ok” as I’m undoubtedly expected. But here’s the real answer to that question, phrased according to who actually presented it. In the end, you can see why it’s probably just not a question I should be asked.

From the Ex-Boyfriend. At 2:51am. (Someone’s drunk.)
How am I? Oh, well… I’m tired, stressed out, and perpetually on the verge of tears. The ugly kind. Where your nose is running and your tears are pouring out, mixing with all the rest of your face fluids and you suddenly understand the meaning of: “she’s a puddle.” Because the break up has been hard on me, and even though I try to convince myself that we’ll be able to move on as friends like you want to, I still think about you every day, I still cry when you hug me, and you still drunk text me to ask me how I am (but never any other time), which used to be almost endearing, and now it’s just inappropriate, and I spend the day trying to figure it all out and regressing into some dark hole about how amazing we were and how happy I was and how its all over and I’ll move away soon, putting all of it behind me, but maybe by some miracle you’ll wish I stayed and come after me and I’ll go anyways (because I may be hopelessly in love but I’m not stupid), and you’ll wait for me and we’ll spend a year or two wishing we could be closer, until, one day, we will be.

I mean… I’m fine.

From everyone else.
How am I? I’m exhausted and angry and irritable. I love my daughter and I’m glad that I get to have her with me again after a year of her being away with her father. But I’m so utterly tired of living in a studio apartment where neither of us have space from each other, or our things, which don’t fit anywhere. I’m tired of worrying about making dinner every night and how she probably won’t eat it (every night), or how I’ll have to spend the evening telling her to help me clean up, and then telling her to get ready for bed, and then telling her to go to sleep (and each one of these things will be met with some excuse, or whining, or worse, crying), and then I fall asleep, with her beside me, while she elbows me, and kicks me all night. Until tomorrow, when I get to do it all over again. I love her so much, but I feel bad asking for help… because people seem to think of me in some high regard as some sort of hero. Yes, it’s hard to work full time and it’s hard to take care of a little person and be 100% responsible and simultaneously terrified that at any moment, some person/thing/event will cause some change in her brain that she’ll have to spend the rest of her adult life in therapy to deal with. I’m scared because I know parenting is not a science, and sometimes I think it would be easier if it were.

No, I’m still fine.

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