A friend recently recommended a new book to me, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Have any of you read it? It was one of the several books I bought at Powell’s that day in Portland. I haven’t actually read it yet, and maybe I should wait to write a post about it, but whatever.
What I do know of it reminds me of something I read in Glennon Doyle’s Carry On, Warrior (currently reading).
Glennon laments how often we answer the question, “How are you?” with “I’m fine.”
She decided to go up to a fellow mommy acquaintance at a playground while their kids were playing one day. When fellow mommy asked the very polite, “How are you?”, Glennon responded with a litany of dirty laundry…in hopes that her honesty might spark a real connection. It did.
People who know me fairly well (or have read this blog for any amount of time now) realize that I HATE small talk. I suck at it. It stresses me out. It pisses me off. It feels fake. Why are we yammering about what we think makes us “cool” when we could actually be helping each other have better lives?
Now that I’m “living out loud” (another term borrowed from Ms. Doyle in Carry On, Warrior) and everyone knows my business anyway, next time I see you and you ask, “How are you?” could I just say:
I am not fine. I have this eating disorder voice yapping in my brain all day about what a fat, boring, terrible person I am. I actually considered leaving the house with my 2 year old in it just to get away. Relax, I wasn’t going to go too far or for too long. My husband makes me crazy because he puts his dirty damn laundry NEXT to the f-ing hamper instead of in it, puts $5/gallon organic milk in the cabinet instead of the fridge, and doesn’t seem to ever notice the laundry needs doing or trash needs taking out. He’s improved, but it’s taken a decade of my persistent training (read: nagging, yelling, swearing). Seattle weather makes me literally want to die or divorce my husband every Spring because I NEED.TO.LEAVE. I joke about it (because we are all fine), but for real. It has actually led to major mental health problems.
And, how are you? Really? I want to know.