Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Okay. I'm Okay.

What a horrible thing it was when "It's okay," became a part of the human lexicon. It doesn't actually mean anything. We think it means that whatever is going on is copescetic, but if you really pay attention you'll notice that you use this phrase when everything is not quite right and you don't know how to respond properly. "It's okay" or "I'm okay" is like a signal to me that I am out of sync, out of time, feeling rushed to express an opinion.

How are you? I'm okay. Okay. Not great. Not bad. Not anything describable and so I refuse to share even a spec of truth about myself.

Most of the time these days I am so not okay that I find myself saying "I'm okay," almost all the time. It is a deflective comment to make the question go away, and I can see it is unsatisfactory, and some people don't get the hint and insist on pressing further. "No really, I'm okay."

It's not anything I can speak to if I say, "I'm okay." I know that I'm being slippery. I know in a sense I'm lying.

I mean I am doing well on many levels. Last year I was living out of my suitcase in the spare room at my Dad's house with both of my kids, and driving through the worst winter I can remember to get them 30 miles away to school. I was working freelance and thinking that surely it would get better, but it got much much worst until it got better. So, now I can say I am better than I was a year ago. I have a home, and I'm making almost enough money regularly to pay for my very most basic needs. I have a dog. I have my kids half of the time.

Last year I had a weird boyfriend, who was so sweet, but then would just not show up until he finally called me and said, "Darling, I don't want my problems to become your problems." and then completely disappeared. Completely. This year I have a boyfriend who lives 1/4 of a world away, who I can count on absolutely to show up when he says he will show up, but who can only show up every month or six weeks and the rest of the time is only reachable by phone or email, and not even that reliably. I have hopes for this one, but I refuse to sink into the fantasy that our lives will finally come together...until they finally come together.

This year I am a work-aholic. I am so afraid not to work hard that I cannot even take three hours, when I'm not sleeping, from email, from my responsibilities. I don't dance much. I am not experiencing much beyond the overwhelming sense that I am responsible for turning my life around, taking care of my kids, taking care of the long-term prospects for my parents, taking care of creating a real, stable and secure existence once and for all. I cannot see anything else. I have tunnel vision about these topics. I don't see tango dancing as an option anymore.

Yet, I have to say I know that without tango dancing I'm a less wonderful person. I enjoy my life less. I have less hope for some relief from the pressing questions about my okayness. If I were tango dancing, I could say firmly, "I'm still dancing."

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