Three words that may seem so insignificant but carry so much meaning. I used to be one of those people who spoke with honesty once asked. I understand the concept of social introductions but why ask if you do not want to hear the answer?
It was my own little rebellion against human indifference – I answered with truth and watched as the surprised faces of people who carelessly threw around with serious questions crumbled into an “Oh no. She’s actually telling me how she is”. I found that too many didn’t really care.
Until two months ago, that was a significant part of my philosophy – ask, answer, listen.
My rather “black-and-white”-point of view in this regard needed a splash of colour and the ability to readjust in accordance to the social scenes taking place in front of me. After “Anti MOG” became one of the “life orders” blinking there neatly on my chest, I constantly met people saying “how are you?”. Some with an undertone of actually wanting to know about all of me. Some with eagerness beaming through them finally getting to know all of the slippery details of that order there, not really caring about the rest of me.
I find that there are three different groups of people:
- The “How Are You?” – I actually want to know-people.
- The “How Are You?” – please give me the gossip I can share around my dinner-table-people
- The “How Are You?” – I just want to great you-people.
In Copenhagen airport, you can get a key-hanger that signifies that you have an “invisible illness”. It is quite neat with sunflowers on it signifying that one might need some patience, guidance or help.
Sometimes I wish we could carry something making it visible what kind of a “How are you”-group we belong to.
I don’t mind sharing about my condition and how things truly are. I actually do want to share to the people who wants to hear. As much as I do want to know and hear about your life-situation as well. My issue is when my situation becomes the center of entertainment to some dinner-party in which I do not have control of what is being shared and how.
I understand that we lean on each other for guidance and support in difficult situations. But, I find it difficult being a part of a conversation in which someone sharing the story of to build and surround oneself with mysterious interest and become the center of attention.
It is a razor-sharp edge to pass keeping to the social standards of society on one side while still breaking with the sense of indifference and gossip on the other.
I am going to keep asking anyway: How are you really? Do you want to tell me? It is okay if you don’t. But know, that I actually am curious.