“Hey, how are ya?”
“How’s it goin’?”
“Whatcha been up to?”
“How are you?”
These are all variations of the same question. They all mean the same thing. They’re all delivered in the same tone. They all expect the same style of answer.
Tone: bright, casual, cheery
In reality, this “how are you” is not a question, in spite of the punctuating “?” at the end.
It is not a question but a greeting.
It requires, expects, and prefers no other response but an equally bright, casual, cheery, superficial “fine.”
“Just as good as it can be!”
“Nothin’ much, how ’bout you?”
I’m so tired of receiving that “greeting.”
I’m so tired of giving that response.
I was probably a young adult when I first became consciously aware of this particular difference between the American culture I was born into and the German culture I was raised in:
In American culture: “How are you?” is a greeting that requires little content in a reply.
In German culture: “How are you?” is a genuine request for a run-down on everything going on in your life and how you feel about it. It’s a conversation-starter never offered in passing.
If you’re a member of either culture visiting the other, you’re going to have a very tough time interacting with people if you don’t understand this distinction.
I’ve understood it for a long time. I’ve adapted. I never ask a German how they are if I’m not available to listen to the answer. When I ask an American how they are, I make sure I emphasize that I really want to know. If I don’t want to know, I don’t ask.
Sometimes I do use “how are you” as a greeting — but only in American society, and only when the situation obviously calls for that style of interaction. It’s still not my preference, though.
And I’m tired of hearing that greeting.
I’m tired of giving the standard “I’m fine” response.
Because I’m not fine.
I’m not okay.
I’m tired of not sharing openly and honestly about my struggles.
I’m tired of not sharing frankly what’s going on in my life.
I’m tired of not saying bluntly how I feel about it.
I’m tired of feeling like it’s not safe for me to be honest.
I’m tired of feeling fear and anger and frustration and sorrow more than I feel joy.
I’m tired of getting out of bed in the morning when I don’t want to get out of bed.
I’m tired of having neither the mental space nor the emotional energy nor the hours in the day to engage in all the things that make me come alive.
I’m tired of watching tv every single night because it makes for effective anesthesia.
I’m tired of eating chocolate just because it makes me feel better.
I’m tired of how fat and lazy and old I feel.
I’m tired of feeling afraid to talk about my true beliefs on social media.
I’m tired of not being able to say, “I am grieving, damnit! I feel sad, I feel angry, I feel guilty, and I don’t need anybody to fix it or try to talk me out of it.” (It’s not your job.)
I’m tired of feeling like my words never come across the way I mean them.
I’m tired of my “everyday” as something I feel I have to slog through instead of live to the fullest.
I’m tired of not feeling as resilient as I used to.
I’m tired of always being the strong one.
I’m tired of always being the one who listens.
I’m tired of always being the one who understands.
I’m tired of always being the one who empathizes.
I’m tired of having my faith questioned by people who don’t see my life inside and out on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis.
I’m tired of being accused of complaining.
I’m tired of being accused of being negative. (Guess what? IT’S NOT ALL SUNSHINE LOLLIPOPS KITTENS RAINBOWS SPARKLIES.)
I’m tired of hearing all the voices in my life and in my head that say I need to have Joy instead of depression.
I’m tired of the “norm” that compares my life to others’ and says, “Look, they have it worse than you, so you should be thankful and grateful and happy for what you have.”
I’m tired of hearing people tell me I should enjoy XYZ when I’m unable to.
I’m tired of feeling like a failure as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a writer, as a human.
I’m tired of so rarely having a real, deep, meeting-of-the-spirits conversation with my husband.
I’m tired of feeling responsible for everyone and everything.
I’m tired of never getting enough sleep, even when I work hard to arrange my schedule for getting enough sleep.
I’m tired of worrying about, oh, pretty much every single person in my life.
I’m tired of the lying bastard named Depression, who is utterly beyond my control and is NOT a sign that I need more faith, thank you very sarding much.
I’m tired of feeding Depression by not acknowledging its very strong reality in my life.
I’m tired of my brain chemicals and neurons not functioning in an ideal manner.
I’m tired of the To-Do List.
I’m tired of worrying about money.
I’m tired of thinking, as I write this, that I’m going to get criticism in response and experience emotionally radioactive fallout as a result.
And I’m not okay.
It seems needful to add that in all of this, I do not feel suicidal. My “I am tired” is not a statement of “I want to end things.” It is a statement of this:
I am tired and not okay.
I’m getting mad over being so damn tired and not okay.
I want change.
I’m not asking for solutions, so please don’t give me advice because I don’t want it right now. (Again: It’s not your job. If you’d like to pray for me, that would be most welcome.)
I needed to continue my process by writing these things out and making them public. That is the purpose of this post.
I said what I needed to.
My hope is that it’ll help me feel less tired.
Time will tell.