One day someone is going to ask me how I’m doing and I’m going to say, “Great!” and mean it. I say it all the time. Fine, okay, good, great—they’re all a lie. That’s what you do when someone asks in conversation. You say, “Fine,” and you move on. It’s polite. They’re only asking to be polite.
I have a few friends and my family, of course, that get the real answer. Overwhelmed, depressed, furious, pick a negative emotion. There always seems to be something going on. Do you want the truth or the easy answer? I usually ask before I spew my story that usually ends in tears.
I am, admittedly, a worrier. I ruminate over problems which probably turns them into bigger issues in my head than they are in real life. But just because they are bigger in my head, doesn’t mean they don’t exist at all.
I wish that I could catch up with my college roommate just once and not have a story about a new struggle we’re facing with Yoshi. If it isn’t something with him, it’s some other concern that is big enough to distract my attention away from his struggle. That takes a lot—like a death in the family.
When I’m paying attention to Yoshi like I should be, we are always climbing a hill. You don’t have to ask me how I’m doing. You can ask me what I’ve been doing. It sounds like I’m complaining, even when I’m not. Life with Yoshi is an uphill battle that I never stop fighting.
I hate it.
Not my life. I hate the fact that I can’t talk about my life without bringing down the conversation. Why can’t I just say, “Great!” and mean it? I like my friends. I like to talk to my friends. I just feel like Debbie Downer all the time.
What have you been up to, Becka? Oh, well, I’ve been at conferences at the school every day this week. And my friends are nice people so they ask. And I feel compelled to tell them. No. Things are not going well. No. We have not worked out a solution.
Unfortunately, my friends are really nice people. They don’t forget. They ask again. How is that mess up at the school going? It’s still a mess, actually. I’m waiting to hear back right now, actually.
The irony of complaining about having to complain is not lost on me. Last week I shared a post about little victories. I promise I share those with my friends. I try to stay positive.
It’s when I’m too busy to meet for lunch—any day this week—or I’m going to be late because we’re in crisis city over here, that I can’t hide my struggles. Then I get used to talking about them, or everyone knows so they’re asking, and it’s all over.
Becka complains. All the time. Is that what people think? That’s what I think. I really do want things to be smooth sailing for a while. I want to say, “Everything is easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy over here. How are things with you?”
How do we get to that place? I understand that living a (relatively) easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy life with Yoshi would be like living in a house of cards: One wrong move and the whole thing would come down. But I can’t even get the thing built. They’re not pulling the cards out from under me, they’re not giving them to me in the first place.
I have my sights set on a routine. I think that’s the secret. But it’s. Just. Not. Happening. Instead I get bumps in the road. Struggles. Hard answers to that terrible question, “How are you doing?”
There are options, of course. I could lead a double life. I could lie when people ask and tell them that everything is great. Not “people” people (I already lie to them) my people. I could let go of Debbie Downer and… What? Just not tell my friends anything about what I’ve been doing, or come up with something else altogether?
The kids are fine, school is fine, I’ve been… working extra hours. It doesn’t seem right. People don’t want to be friends with a liar. But they don’t want to hang around with a Debbie Downer all the time either.
I don’t have the answer. I can’t make the complaints in my life go away, even if I stop talking about them. What do you want to hear? The truth or the easy answer? What do you do when your life is dragging down every conversation you have?
For the next couple of weeks, I am going to make a concerted effort to not “complain.” How are things at the school, Becka? We’re working on it. Subject change! I’m going to focus on the positive, focus on my friends’ lives. I’ll let you know how it works out.
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