Dark Heart & Mind [Files from between August-December 2015]: Releasing the hatred and depression of the last year, raw and beautiful. Don’t you dare tell me to edit or delete. Stifle me any more than I’ve stifled myself, and I’ll pronounce curses on you with my Ewe side.
I have developed yet another mechanism for preserving my sanity: not answering questions.
Lately, there has been a set of questions that truly vex my spirit. At the top of the list is, of course, “How are you?” Others include “How is school?” and “What kraa are you writing?”
So, the British people found a way out. I think it’s truly terrible. The response to “how do you do?” is “how do you do?”. Why? Why is this an established custom? I do not see the point of a culture trying to hide its callousness under the guise of concern for another’s wellbeing while still making it starkly obvious that they do not care. It’s nonsense! [Note: Even as I’ve tried to read around the reason for the response to this question, I have been unable to find one. If you do, please share it with me.]
One thing I hate is responding “Fine” to the question “How are you?” precisely when I’m not fine. One thing I cannot seem to kill in myself is the desire to be brutally honest. I’m blunt – which is, upon reflection, an ironic thing for a person known for embroidering words to be. But, most of the time, I don’t care. On the occasions when I do tell untruths, even as minor as answering “fine” when I’m not, I feel an unease so magnificent that it penetrates my thoughts at the most inopportune times. Or constantly. A strategy I try to employ is, when I’m not speaking truthfully, or when I don’t feel strong enough to start explaining things to people who won’t get it anyway, I say nothing at all. This is only part of the reason I decided to stop answering questions.
Sometimes, my response to the Demon Question is “I’m alive” or “I’ll be fine,” which are, at that time, more truthful than the expected response. The real issue with the question, and other questions like it, is that there is an expected response in the first place! No, kill it! Don’t ask a question so open and get upset because you wouldn’t have answered it that way and you don’t approve of another person’s feelings and how they express them. People try to give me 1001 reasons why I should just say “fine”, but none of them are valid, because none of them are me; therefore, I need not be like them. It’s not that complicated, guys.
The true reason I’ve given up on answering questions is the knowledge that too many people don’t care about the answers.
“That’s why when someone ask how we doin’,
we tell ‘em fine
knowing we hurt inside
But tell me who’s really lyin’?
They ain’t really wanna know how you doin’
that costs time.”
-Andy Mineo (Superhuman)
I save myself a whole lot of emotional distress, what with the truth spell that’s been cast on me and whatnot, just by not answering questions. It’s a dreadfully easy way to figure out who really wants answers and who doesn’t. The scary thing is, since I started employing this strategy, I have seen that there are people whose questions are so automated that they don’t even notice their questions haven’t been answered. They just walk away without giving it a thought. I am telling you: this strategy is genius!