Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interpreting the "I'm fine's"

I will always say I’m fine when asked. I can be bawling my eyes out, half unconscious in hospital or unable to breathe, but if you ask me how I am I will answer with the traditional “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
My supervisor at work has taken to having conversations with me that go something like this. Her – How are you? Me- I’m fine, thanks. Her – Yes, but how are you really?
I find I am not alone in this. Several guys have asked me why girls do that (though I’m pretty sure guys do it too.) So much so, that I included this conversation in my novel:

“You OK?” He sounds uncomfortable. His voice comes out with a laugh in it.
I stare in the other direction. “I’m fine.”
He scoffs. “Why do girls do that?” He pauses. I’m pretty sure he wants me to ask ‘what’ but I don’t bite. When I don’t say anything he sits down next to me.
“I’m fine, I’m fine, really I’m fine.” He mimics a high-pitched voice then laughs at his own joke.

It always seemed strange to me that people couldn’t figure out why I’m saying ‘I’m fine’ when I’m not. Then I thought about the myriad of reasons behind my ‘I’m fine’ and realised their problem.
I can’t answer the question why do girls do that, but I can explain some of the things I’m thinking when I do it.

1) I actually am fine. It confuses me greatly that you keep asking. Do you think I’m lying?
2) I’m mostly fine, but I’m hungry/tired/nervous/cold/bored/headachy. This may look like I’m not fine but it’s not really an issue
3) I mistook your genuine inquiry as to how I am for the customary greeting so I’m replying with the customary “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
4) I’m really not fine but I don’t want to talk about it. This is not your fault. You don’t need to do anything
5) I’m not fine, I do want to talk about it, but I don’t think you really want to know/don’t think you can deal with what’s going on for me so I’m just going to say I’m fine
6) I’m in a lot of pain. Talking about the fact that I’m in a lot of pain will make the pain worse so I’m just going to say I’m fine.
7) See number 5 – replace “in a lot of pain” with “nauseated” and replace “the pain worse” with “me throw up… possibly on you.”
8) I’m NOT fine. I have PMS. I am angry at everything and everyone right now, especially you because you keep asking me if I’m fine. I do not believe at this moment in time that my anger if irrational and if you keep asking me I may hit you (this one is recognisable by the murderous rage in my eyes.) Again, this is not your fault but I may not realise this right now. Fell free to avoid me until I’m less hormonal.
9) I’m angry. Not because I have PMS but because you have done something. Because I have issues with conflict I don’t want to say anything so I’m saying I’m fine.
10) I’m tired, sick and in a lot of pain but I feel I’ve told you that too many times over the last day/week/year/lifetime. I’ve decided to just say I’m fine so I don’t feel like I’m burdening you. Or, I think that I will feel better if I pretend I’m fine even though I’m not (go positive thinking!)
11) I’m very sleep deprived/low on blood sugar. I’m starting to think maybe you are a sea monster in disguise who will eat me if I don’t say I’m fine (OK, that one has never happened, but I do get a bit out of it when I haven’t slept/eaten so I may very well think I’m fine even though I’m clearly not.)
12) The reason I’m not fine is so incredibly stupid/embarrassing I can’t possibly tell you without you loosing all respect for me e.g. I’m crying because that pigeon over there looks sad.
13) I am fine, I’m just walking very slowly/can’t eat anything ‘cause I allergic to everything here/have hay fever or this is the first time you’ve seen me walking with a stick. These things may look to you like I’m not fine, but this is a daily thing for me. Thanks for your concern but you really don’t need to worry.

There are many more reasons but this post has gone on a bit long. Hopefully this will help with some of the “I’m fine” confusion, but probably not. They all look pretty much the same and most of the time I may not know myself which one I am.

Little Miss Autoimmune

No comments:

Post a Comment