As red spots appeared all over my skin I replied with, “No, I’m not! This happens every night.”
“Look, it’s going to get better!”
I stood there, unable to convince my audience that it’s not a matter of attitude but a medical reality. As the red spots rapidly raised my skin into amass of hives, I felt defeated on two accounts: first, the hives are taking over. Second, being misunderstood and muted.
“You’re fine!” is a response I’ve heard far too many times in my life. To my uneasiness, I always reply with, “I’m fine! It’s okay!” all the while knowing that it is not what I genuinely feel or think. I get it, “You’re fine!” is supposed to snap you out of negative thinking and, in a weird way, encourage you. Heck, I’m just as guilty of using “You’re fine!” as a dose of medicine to the worried. What else can you say?
It’s only recent that I realized how ignorant, “You’re fine!” can feel. Through personal reflection I’ve discovered that when I hear, “You’re fine!” what I really hear is, “Ignore your gut-response, stuff your emotions in a tickle-trunk and don’t speak of it anymore.” I’m cautiously navigating through the years of socially-appropriate agreement, “Yes, I’m fine!” by asking myself, “Am I truly fine?”
I’m doing this by learning to trust the gut-response. It’s the “Wait! Something isn’t right here!” kind of sensation. I have the right to feel angry, upset, sad, disappointed, and so on. The gut-response initializes action in one of three ways: ignore, react or plan. Ignore is the ‘I’m fine!’ pill you swallow. React is impulsive and seeks immediate gratification, usually in the form of vengeance or wallowing. Plan is I will feel and I will decide.
The next time I hear, “You’re fine!” I won’t be quick to glaze over my feelings or the feelings of others. I will get better at listening and simply ‘being-present.’ I will ask, “What is needed?” and “What is the best way to move forward?”
There’s no pretending “I’m fine!” when I’m covered head-to-toe with amass of ever-spreading hives. No matter how much positive self-talk or hearing the words, “You’re fine! It will get better!” A good cry and silent comfort from loved ones is the best medicine. I know someday I will be fine but pretending it’s fine right now is a lie and a revolt to what I’m genuinely feeling. I will feel and I will decide.