Lately, when asked “How are you?” I always utter a templated answer to this cliché question in a plain, hasty tone: “I’m okay.” But when I say I’m okay, that means I drown myself with 14 cans of beer, eight shots of Vodka, and a half-empty bottle of a 70-year old scotch whiskey in a single sitting, and still remember the things I’m trying to forget.
Being okay is a series of Monday mornings where I have to start my day heavy and tired, and Friday evenings where I drag my heavy and tired body to the empty side of the bed ’til I rust like an old machinery; my sheets woo me ’til I become one of its perfect companions and my playlist is the only one that saves me from the possible betrayal of agony.
I fall asleep with my eyes wide open and sees only the color of a funeral, the face of the distress, the fading sympathy of a mother.
When I say, “I’m fine,” that means I stay at work for 14 hours straight and when I have a minute or two, just minute or two of pause, I overthink. Overthinking is a college professor who tells me to study math or fail, so I spend most of my time finding solutions to equations that I cannot decipher and formulas that I cannot connect to answers, and answers that I carve on my skin to remind me of the tangent and the parallel lines, the x and the y. I do that because I’m done being friends with failure.
When I say, “Nothing much,” that means I carry a heavy baggage full of longing and mourning and forgotten prayers. The price of feeling something is a storm surge outside my house, scourging the remains of my favorite childhood memory and flooding it with rejections, unsolicited affections, and artificial sincerity. That’s my reason for building a wall taller than the concerns of people trying to reach out.
When I say “I’m all good,” that means the dusts inside my room saw me crying in the middle of binge watching The Big Bang Theory. I get sad in times where I’m not supposed to be sad. One moment, I’m as sensitive as an open wound and the next, I can’t feel anything at all. I have no problem with people who don’t believe me for saying that I’m good, because that’s probably the problem. They always believe.
They always think that I’m strong enough to wrestle my demons out of my head and brave enough to bring the normal back to the world. My life is a plagiarized poem, a piece of diary snatched right in front of my eyes. There’s no normal after that.
The honest answer to the question above is the kind of answer I don’t show nor tell to anybody— I’m tired. One day, I want to make peace with my depression, so I can finally say “I’m okay” and mean it.
For the meantime, I’ll keep going.