Peggy Sharp is not completely fine.

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.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. I am pretty good. I am looking at reprinting my book, and finding great reviews and meh reviews. The latter mostly by good old boys. but I am hoping to capture a young women’s market, now 30 years after it’s first printing. Sorry about your husband. I hope he shapes up eventually. Bless you and your little one. Some days I am not fine too, and I always hate small talk too!

    1. #mommystrong says:

      I’m glad things are going well for you right now! It sounds super exciting about the progress with your book! I am considering writing a memoir…I have always loved the genre and think it’s my best writing style. 🙂 Jesse is awesome and has been the BEST support ever during this whole thing…but you know I gotta get annoyed by those other little things!

  2. Kimberly Herber says:

    I am NOT fine Peggy!!! before I broke my back.. I felt invincible… that I could take on the world,.. down times, but I could do it.. now… NOPE my anxiety is through the roof, I have to find myself a “new normal”,…. and the thing I love most about my nursing is the bedside nursing,.. and guess what??? I CAN”T DO IT ANYMORE EVER!!! NO BENDING, NO TWISTING, NO LIFTING MORE THAN 15 POUNDS!!!! I can’t do more than 3 to 4 hours up before I can’t stand the pain, meds or not… gravity, it can be evil. and worse yet, without working, with my sons, their families, my grandchildren,.. all in over the USA, I CAN”T GO SEE THEM YET!!! and any over 15 pounds,… I can’t even lift them… new normal…. and I AM MAD!!!!!!!!

    1. #mommystrong says:

      Oh Kim. That sounds like such a mountain. I’m sorry this happened to you. Thank you for having The courage to share your current experiences. I can only imagine how awful to not be able to hold the grand babies. I know your spirit and fight though and that they love you for YOU.

  3. Megan says:

    How am I? Mixed, really. I think I’m facing a mid-life crisis. My parents are getting old and I’m helping to care for them just a little bit. Dad had two surgeries this summer and is struggling with the fact that neither really fixed his back and his eye. He’s on pain meds, and that stops him up, and so my Mom is intimately involved in the management of both his pain meds and his stool softeners and occasionally an enema. And so I’m totally freaked out about *their* morality, which leads me to think about MY OWN, and simultaneously grossed out that I would EVER EVER EVER have to give my husband an enema. But isn’t that what I signed on for? Wouldn’t I rather care for and be cared for by my loved one rather than a paid medicare nurse??? IDK. Why do we have to get old??? And that leads me to worry about my health, and then I worry even more about my husband’s, because quite frankly he’s in worse shape than I am and I’m going to suck as a nurse. And my teen girls are being teen girls. I became a parent knowing there would be hard chapters, but as you know, the younger one is facing an eating disorder. And the older one still calls me one of her best friends but I rarely see her and I miss her. And the friends I made in this little town moved away. So I snapchat them, but it’s not the same. On the other hand, little things delight me still. I have a new standing desk and I am currently listening to Sam Smith and sort of dancing while I type. I’m playing trivia tonight with friends and that will be fun. I’m helping to register voters at the farmer’s market this Saturday followed by lunch with two people who are very dear to me, who are just passing through town, and that buoys my spirits. So yeah. Mixed. And I thank you for recognizing that we’re not all just fine. You are awesome.

    1. #mommystrong says:

      I love the truth you share. Don’t they call it the “sandwich generation” because here we are taking care of the older and younger at the same time while expected to keep it all together?! Who made up these crazy rules? How is your younger daughter doing?

  4. Megan says:

    She seems to be doing better. We’re only two weeks into counseling and medication for depression, but so far, I’m feeling much less panicked about her well being.

    1. #mommystrong says:

      That’s awesome. It is a long journey so taking each step is important!!

  5. Des says:

    I’m better today than I was on Saturday when I realized I was starting to feel a shell of myself, alone, robotic, disinterested, bored. I hate the heat and humidity outside. I feel immense guilt for leaving our family and friends. Leaving our house in a terrible state and relying on my parents to do the laborious work of preparing for the next owners or tenants.
    But then Sunday, we surrounded ourselves with Believers for an hour, toured our new hometown, and finally joined the gathering of coworkers and family members for an afternoon of delighting in making aquaintences. I am hopeful to develop beyond just aquaintence level with a couple ladies, mommies. I am less in limbo than I was a few days ago.

    1. #mommystrong says:

      I’m so glad to hear this! Moving across country is very scary, and I can’t imagine doing it with 3 kids! It’s hard to get out there when you’re feeling low, so I’m very proud of you for heading out on Sunday after feeling meh on Saturday! I will look forward to hearing more about the TN adventure and please let me know how I can pray for you.

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