Lies we tell everyday: “I’m f.i.n.e”


Some days back, a friend chatted me up and the first few lines went thus:

Friend: Baby girl!

Me: Hey love. You good?

Friend: Yes b! ‘m swell. You?

Me: Keeping up. Pretending to be fine. I’ll be fine.

Friend: My thoughts exactly before I just decided to send “I’m swell”

Me: Loool! For real?

Friend: Unfortunately, yes.

Me: Mine or yours first?

At that point when she admitted to be feeling the same way as I was, despite having given me a different impression, I thought to myself how many problems had gone un-shared and un-tended because we’ve grown to understand that sometimes life demands that we feel and act fine and perfect.

But is it our fault?

We have been asked “how are you” severally in the past, and been vulnerable, genuine and brave enough to reply with something other than “i’m fine”, but the feedbacks haven’t necessarily been what we expected– so we have learnt our lessons, and outgrown our bravery; and we have joined the bandwagon in chanting the same old chorus “i’m fine”, but are we? Will we ever be?

I think there are very few people that ask that question with the genuine intention of knowing what is really going on with us. And I can’t blame them. There’s very little time, and so many things to be done. And imagine that everyone we put that question to in a day would give us genuine responses, would we be able to handle it? No, I am not sure.

So again, maybe it is not their fault either.

Yet, there are days when each one of us realise that it’s okay to not be okay… and wish that someone out there would ask us how we are, and that we’d be brave enough to answer and that they’d be empathetic enough to listen to us bare our minds and deepest worries and hearts burden to them… and too, there’ll be days when someone else would wish that ‘listening someone’ was us.

So maybe it starts from you and me?

I wish that the next time we would ask the question “how are you”, we would mean it and listen in all empathy, without assumptions or hurried expectations of the usual “i’m fine.”, understanding that sometimes that question is the only window someone is needing to release– and that in just that swift moment of release, we might have saved a life, or ‘least made it less miserable. And I wish that the next time someone asks that question to us, we’d remember that a problem shared is a problem half-solved, and sometimes talking is the first step to healing… and thus take a moment to think deeply before churning out the famous words. And finally, I wish– that if we don’t care to know, we don’t even bother to ask.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to be fine when you’re fine. But again, it’s okay to not be okay. Bottom line is this– If you say it, mean it; and mean it when you say it. So the next time you want to ask “how are you?”, ask yourself first “do I mean it?”, and the next time you want to say “I am fine.”, be sure that you mean it.

Now, how are you?


Β© The Short Black Girl, 2015.


13 thoughts on “Lies we tell everyday: “I’m f.i.n.e”

  1. Omg baby girl this is so beautiful, This is definitely gonna help those constantly repressing feelings and feeling alone out there. Thanks for being my window of release. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How am I? Uhm…..
    The fine thing is reflex. Plus, Sometimes I just can’t articulate how I feel enough to talk bout it. And the times I do, the right questions are not being asked. And when the right question is asked, I fear judgement. Phew. So. I’m F.I.N.E.
    How are you?
    BTW. Nice writes darl.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hehhe. I can honestly, totally relate to this. Sometimes, you’re just not in the mood to talk about it, or you don’t have the right words, or you’re just scared of the feedback you’ll get…

      Yet, I insist– sometimes, we have to release. Because a problem concealed kills faster than a problem shared. Now, who to share with is a matter of judgement and instinct and maybe a discourse for another day. πŸ˜€

      Thanks darl! ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This really made me laugh but its just what it is…the need to be courteous; to show courtesy! Its been like that since forever…etiquettes! The ‘proper’ way of communicating! It don’t mean folks really want you to take ’em on a ‘tour’ of your life as it stands, at least; not all of ’em! 😈 *tsking*

    Plus, the fact that I tender you with an invite to join in meal don’t mean I REALLY fancy you sharing of my bounty, no?! That’s just me being polite and secretly hoping and praying too that’d you’d do the ‘right’ thing and turn me down as expected with a sweet ‘ Aw thanks, I just had lunch and am kinda stuffed right now’! Bon Apetite! But, in the event that you do decide to join in……then am totally screwed over! Yikes! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    On a more serious note though, my response to the ‘How are you’ question will depend largely on who’s asking to know and the nature of the relationship we share! To some I could say ‘Am keeping it kinda together’, giving ’em hints to probe and in which I’d be most willing to let on; otherwise, am more than fine will do just fine! πŸ˜πŸ˜„

    Agatha Christie says not to tell all we know even to the person we know best and Chanayka warns that we shouldn’t be too honest as straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first! πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

    Bottomline…if you have established a connection and bond with someone and it feels right to share, go on ahead; otherwise, just continue on being fine and fine you shalt be! Thanks for sharing Sparkly! β€πŸ˜„

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Madam Yemie! Again you wow me. Lool! This is a Classic.

      Yes! Absolutely! Courtesy. Etiquettes. ‘life demanding that we act fine and perfect!’ I got so caught up in my own narrow view of things that I failed to explore all possible sides to this issue. And i’ll agree with you on every word you said.

      The “how are you/i am fine” process started out basically as a box-ticking approach, a mere exercise to fulfil all righteousness. I mean, even interviewers ask that, and I bet we wouldn’t be brave enough as to say something heroic like “nervous, beat-down, afraid… yada yada.” Same with the “come join me” statement, which I think ‘ve come to realise is only peculiar to Africans, if not only Nigerians— and truth! Woe betide you to not tell me what ‘m expecting when I invite you. Lool!

      But again, just as you’ve said– more than anything, ‘know’ who you’re telling. That solves it! Although, sometimes we fall prey of friendly foes whom we may never really know how to differentiate from the truthful ones, and certain strangers have become important parts of our lives because of one problem shared sometime ago, we must just let our instincts take the lead. If it feels right to tell, maybe it is. And if the worst comes to be, tell it to God.

      Honesty is a double-edged virtue. It makes you feel good with yourself, and endears you to people; but again, it screws you over. “Olorun o fe iro, aye o fe ooto”, what then shall we do? Yorubas especially have come to learn and understand this, thus teaching ways of diplomacy and tactfulness to deal with life in all its valor.

      And through it all, I say we shalt be fine, and thus we are f.i.n.e!

      Thank you sis! Muchos Gracias! ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hmmm…

    Deep. Nice write here Me.
    This ia our story. A whole lot of us. We put the front, many times because society even expects you to be like that.
    Yemie is spot on in her response and speaks a lot of my thoughts.

    …but sharing isn’t always the way out. Many times, we have to do far more.

    What more can one say?
    May we find those who would see our hearts beyond our lips. May we find courage to pour iur grief and find relief.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen Su’. Finding the right kind of people, and having the right kind of courage– these two things are very key!

      Thank you for reading and dropping a thought.

      I appreciate you. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh, everyone gave a reply that indicates deep prior reflection on the post. I learned a lot in just a few minutes! Thanks for the great post, Me, and thanks to all commenters for the additions.

    And for my own thoughts on this issue; Yes, we should all try to be honest in the asking and in the answering. If we are, it’ll really help us avoid what I call “THE MACHINERY CONVERSATION”


    ‘Hi! How fa na?’

    “I’m cool! And you?”

    We all know how it goes from there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Subman! First things first, ‘m always excited when I see a new readers comment, in such a well thought out fashion. Thank you again.

      The Machinery Conversation? In fact, that is just apt! ‘ve been there severally. It is like every part to such conversations always know how and where it will end even before the conversation begins; and I wonder, why indulge in it at all? #sigh

      Hopefully, we would become more conscious individually; and maybe then, things would be better. Until then, we will be fine.

      Thank you very much for dropping a thought. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  6. You’re welcome. Thank God I’m not the only one aware of this.

    P.S, You also liked my post on not gonna be the stereotype……continued! But dis you read the debut story? And how’bout other posts? I’m asking all this cos kiddishrebel also liked that post, and now I’m wondering whether that’s the first post my link takes everyone to.

    Liked by 2 people

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