I am not okay.
It’s been 512 days. I could tell you the number of hours and minutes but I don’t want to be all melodramatic about it. The point is I’m not okay.
I know, I know — I have metamorphosed into “the poor thing” you want to avoid.
I’m not doing fine, okay, good, well, decent, blessed, all right or any of the other prosaic replies I manage to mumble whenever someone asks the incredibly loaded question of (change to mellow funeral parlor voiceover) “how are you doing?”
I am not okay.
Calm down, I’m not all fucked up in the head or anything. I’m more like a Praying Mantis spit shy of adjusted.
I am sucked from the living game, joining legions of invisible referees on the sidelines of human activity. From my perch of purgatory and malaise I have the undesired luxury of observing life as it creeps on by the window pane of my existence.
I see things and the back draft of not being okay is the gift of second sight.
I see how it is unequivocally needless and borderline insensitive to ask a person who is going through any type of personal trauma “how are you holding up, doing, handling things, getting along, or have ya been” then stand there head tilted, with a look of pity on your face forcing us to keep the conversation light by lying so as not to make you feel discomfited.
“Well what do you want us to say? What do we do? Do you just want us to pretend it didn’t happen when we see you? Ignore it altogether? Be all fake about it?”
I mean since you really are being “fake” about it anyway. No disrespect but let’s be “real” shall we?
I’ve come to believe most of the times (hey I’m grieving – don’t be all grammar checking me, that’s really rather unrefined of you) where was I? Oh yes, I believe most of the times the “how are you” question is based on some deep seeded psychological issues you people have. (What? You thought I was the only one not okay in this scenario? Ohhhh no – ya’ll freaks need help too.)
This is an overwhelmingly desensitized and self absorbed society. A nation of troglodytes bumping RockUrban hardcore soundtrack backdrops promoting the worshipping of mayhem while expertly playing either “ your-life-sucks-so-live-vicariously-though-my-world-of- make believe SIMS” or horribly violent video games — in HD.
For the love of whatever God you pray to we have literally made turning the pages of a book into an antiquated inconvenience! BOOKS!
Movie makers have dismissed the abject fear Alfred Hitchcock trusted us to project upon ourselves because they can’t afford to bank on a confidence in the imagination of today’s audience of “been there, saw thats.” To babysit our depravity horror movies are realistically gruesome, and graphically broadcast and amplified through the power of IMAX 3D Theatres. Visual stimulation is but a mere gateway drug to the harder stuff.
In addition to the insult of seeing, in striking detail, depictions of murder, sexual perversion and rage we have to chase the ultimate high by mainlining pitch perfect surround sound which vibrates the beating bass drum of dereliction directly into our skeletal systems.
Thanks to modern day classics such as “Final…Final no really this time Final Destination XXXVII” and “SAW dem Bones the Return of Killer Puppet on a Trike” what form of execution or carnage haven’t we seen?
Not a movie fan? Never fear! Take out your laptop, iPad, or smart phone and “google” your way “on the go” into any custom made perversion.
Headphones don’t even wrap around the head anymore – you just insert an ear “bud” to plug out the world with horribly loud brain damaging lyrics. Want to escape? Get a thumb workout by mindlessly scrolling newsfeeds of inanity.
Virtual reality is the new “norm.” Actual reality is now a genre.
You can’t serve two masters. This era has passively acclimated to its mind numbing desensitized plight. Nothing is shocking. Tragedy always happens to imaginary figures trapped inside impersonal boxes of assorted sizes. That’s where catastrophic events occur and they can be monitored for hours on end or quickly erased by the tap of a button. Click and something happy magically appears.
Want to feel better about yourself? “Click” “Comment” “Done.”
With unlimited exposure to all the glamorous disaster and calamity of a CGI world how much empathy do you think one can really muster at the occurrence of death due to a boring ass gunshot wound?
In between commercials CSI does it every week in Miami, New York, and Las Vegas.
It is impossible to be desensitized, self absorbed and compassionate.
So when faced with confronting the blurred lines between the false reality of the readily acceptable “new norm” and the disquieting reality of “the poor thing” actually affected following the aftermath of an unfathomable tragedy, it is near impossible for the average person to truly relate.
This generation is not really capable of genuine emotional camaraderie but thanks to the undercurrent of religious ambiguity some have a vast desire to prove they are still a “good” person who cares about your suffering even though they have no clue what it feels like to feel chronically not okay.
In a brief encounter, the shortcut is to subject people who cannot succinctly articulate their pain, to the incredibly loaded question of (change to mellow funeral parlor voiceover) “how are you doing?”
So here’s the answer you would never ever sit still long enough to hear. Here is the answer that would make your eyes glaze over as you contemplate how long it’s going to take for me to finish so you can politely extract yourself from the conversation. This is the answer in lieu of my lie for your comfort. Here is the truth so you may read it now and never ever ever again ask a person in pain “how are you doing.”
“I am not okay. Sometimes I want to be completely alone shrouded in my darkness; there are other times I want to be in a room full of people just to feel alive and functioning. Beneath both beats is a sadness I cannot shirk. I stay home because the world sucks ass. No you can’t come over I don’t want your energy in my house. I’m in public so I can breathe, I don’t necessarily want to speak with you or anyone within a 75 mile radius. I may just be sitting here to sip this glass of pepsi, wine, Grand Marnier, orange juice, water or to hear my own self think. I may be sitting here to get lost in random conversations. I don’t sleep at night and hate waking up in the middle of the day. I’m not much of a girlfriend group hangy out kind of chick. What happens has crossed my mind at least four times a day for the past 512 days. Finding a reason to get dressed everyday is a chore. My daily pep talks to myself are now annoying myself. No I’m not lonely enough to go home with you. No I’m not ready to completely move on. Yes I am ready to completely move on. Yes I know I just contradicted myself. Yes I cry less often. Yes I laugh. Yes I smile. Yes I have great days. Yes I remember you. No I didn’t feel you like that back then. No I don’t think of you. No I don’t remember you. No I don’t want your number, yes I know we can just be friends and I still don’t want your number. I am not okay—I am borderline adjusted to a different life which offers new possibilities which I see through tearstained hope and curious anticipation with each new day. ”
I’m probably still doing better than you.
I wish we taught reverence for silence because although I live in a world of words you would be amazed how much comfort I find in a knowing look or sitting quietly together.
I accept that I am the “poor thing” you probably try to avoid. Accept my rich awkwardness as unavoidable.
People open up and talk when they trust you or simply need to. We do it in our own time. The next time you see me, don’t side step me, or struggle for something comforting to say, just give me a nod of acknowledgment and take your cue from there.
I am not okay. But for now, that’s perfectly okay.
This episode was taped before a live studio audience. No animals were hurt in the making of this film.
Don’t touch that dial we’ll be right back.
(just thought I’d make you feel at home)
Iya Isoke © 8/12/11