Seeing what is in front of you is harder than you think

April 16, 2013

A few weeks ago i was g-chatting with a couple of my favorite people. We talked briefly about how we react when people ask us how we are. At work recently it has been decided to take that phrase out of our lexicon because it isn’t personal and it just acts as a filler statement.


i agree with this. And i’m completely guilty on both sides of the matter. Throwing out a, “Hi, how are you?” and then just accepting, “Fine, how are you?” as the response. i’ve given more “fine” answers than probably anything else.


But i started thinking about it. About what things might be like if we answered honestly when people asked us those questions. And if we didn’t ask them as a time filler when we passed someone in the hallway but as an actual question of interest while sitting down with someone ready to have a conversation. What if we had more conversations in general? Real ones. None of us want to be put into a box or labeled because of one thing about us. That makes sense. It makes sense that when you meet someone you don’t go up to them and say, “Hello, i’m so and so and i’m a vegetarian.” Or a whatever. But what if we did? What if we stripped off all masks and walls and whatever elses that we hide behind and show up for life scars bared? Each of those things that you could put into tiny boxes make up who we are. Wouldn’t it be sort of nice to dump them all out and hand the people in our lives a giant bowl of mixed experiences and characteristics and what not and have them understand that if they pick one thing out of that bowl that they won’t be looking at you, but if they step back and look at the ridiculous tangled mess of stuff and how it fits together that they might actually see you.


So many of us go through life feeling alone for so many reasons. We find solace in song lyrics, movies, art, and the pages of books. We are amazed on some level that someone has spoken or expressed what we are thinking or feeling. i do it all the time. But the truth of the matter is we aren’t alone. We get so caught up in our own heads that we can’t see what is around us. We go blindly through life and occasionally we ram into someone that we connect with in some way and it’s awesome or awkward or horrible. But how many people have we passed along the way?


i’m not good at showing people what is behind the walls i’ve built up. i’m really not good at talking. i am so scared that the words i say won’t be the right ones. That i won’t make sense. Or that what i say will be used against me. That it will push people away. That if i have those real conversations they will end with me being more alone than before. i have have reason to fear those things. They’ve all happened. My words and my experiences have been used against me by people i thought cared about me. However, i also know that those fears have caused me to miss a lot of opportunities. i don’t want to miss out on making connections with people because i’m scared. It’s a challenge. It’s an every day, every minute challenge. Constantly surveying for a space that feels safe enough to be real in. i hope that if i can create a space around me that is safe for other people that it will reflect in the same way for me.



  1. I love this piece. Made me think a lot about why I write, why I wear masks…You’re not alone.

    • Thank you so much. i was nervous about posting this so this means a lot.

  2. they say fine means freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional. so when i say im fine to someone who knows this saying aswell they reask me the question to get the truth im hiding. ur blog is a good idea moose 🙂

    • i’ve never heard that saying before but it’s kind of awesome and i’m going to try to remember it. Thanks Freckles!

  3. twanita – This is a wonderful piece. I know you said you composed it during coughing-induced insomnia, but it is really well written and very clear. It flows smoothly, and I think the content of what you said will resonate with SO many people. … I hate sounding like I’m writing a book review, but these are truly my thoughts as I read it. Maybe that’s because it’s easier for me to think about what you wrote in a detached, academic way rather than really feel what you wrote in a really personal reflective sort of way. Maybe this is just my way of saying, “I’m fine.” And I need to re-examine how I respond to the emotion in your writing. Ok, rambling now. I love you. We can talk more later.

    • You’re so academic, i love you.

  4. Yes, we all follow the social conventions – at least we’re supposed to. In the past year, no matter how I’m feeling, I always answer “Fanstastic!” Because nobody cares if you’re feeling bad. And I’ve taken a self-fulfilling prophesy attitude to that question. If I say I’m Fantastic, then maybe I will be. Or at the very least, maybe I can make someone else feel better – and that’s enough to make it a fantastic day:). Love your blog-a-day!

    • Thanks! i have a love hate relationship with the self fulfilling prophecy. On one hand sometimes you really can “fake it till you make it” on the other i don’t want to always live in a world where that has to be the case. If feelings and emotions were something that we were taught early on across the board that we should share and learn about the world would be so different. It would be amazing to be able to be so real all the time without fear of consequence.

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