How are you?

I’m pretty sure that I could win the lottery, discover the cure for human stupidity, star in a Broadway show and get married—all equally unlikely—and when asked this question, I would reply with, “I’m okay. How are you?”

It’s a reflexive action, kind of like the way I want to slip a right jab to the noggin of people who say “could care less” instead of “couldn’t care less.”

The truth is that yes, sometimes I am fine. Then again, sometimes I’m not. And when you ask me how I am, I have a hard time believing you really want to know. But since this is my blog and I am queen of the land, I will tell you.

I am secure enough to admit I am sometimes insecure.

This isn’t something I normally broadcast to the fives of tens of people who flock to this blog or that I run into on a daily basis, but whenever someone says, “You know who you are,” I always wonder if it’s me and I don’t realize it.

Insecurity is annoying.

But I don’t take compliments well and often have a hard time accepting that people might genuinely be interested in what I have to say or do and not just because they expect something in return. I realize this suspicion is often unwarranted, but past experience has shown me that I shouldn’t rule it out.

So I’m guarded, and many of the decisions I make are often second-guessed. In fact, I will see that second-guessing and raise you a third and fourth guessing, and then a couple days of obsessing over something seemingly minute.

Taking interest in others without expectation? No problem.

Accepting others can take an interest in me without expectation? Problem.

But I have a theory.

The more blogs I read or conversations I have with people, the more I see something in the people I am attracted to that keeps me coming back—a  rawness, perhaps?

My theory is that they’ve gone through “something,” whatever that is, and have a self-awareness that produces something genuine, something that pushes things past a superficial level—online or off.

I don’t share 99 percent of the things I think or write (you’re welcome) and I have to imagine that’s the case with others (so thank you.) But when we make ourselves vulnerable and share it? It produces some good shit, and most often, a genuine connection.

Because I can see that in them, I’m slowly allowing myself to believe that the people around me can see that in me, that they like me for me and not because they feel obligated or expect something in return.

Considering you interact with me under your own power—unless one of the henchmen I sent to your house to sit on you and force you to talk to me or read my posts is actually doing his job (good help is SO hard to find)—I’ll try and drop that insecurity.

After all, no matter what you say or do, someone will find a fault or a reason to be offended. And while I try and keep things light, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t express myself and hide behind that veil of doubt that creeps in from time to time.

So how am I?

I’m secure enough to say that I am sometimes insecure—especially when I post things like this—and I’m a constant work in progress.

I’m okay with that.

Thanks for asking.

This post is in response to this week’s Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Big Question

P.S.  I updated the “Book” tab on the blog to include a clip of me on a morning talk show in case you want to check that out. Or, you know, you want to buy the book.

48 responses to “How are you?

  1. I’d leave a comment but I’m too dark and brooding at the moment…

  2. yeah, what Amy with no kids said….

    I’ll leave a primer comment stating:

    If i wrote raw, you’d either love me forever or call an asylum to have me picked up…..i agree and relate to every word.

    yes, I’m going through something X millions

  3. Melanie The Spork Lover

    I, too, find myself being drawn to others who have “been through stuff.” I am really up front and honest about the things in my life, and I’m pretty sure the others who have as well, are the only people who don’t get really uncomfortable when I talk about things. Also, they’re the ones who seem to love and accept me for who I am, and not expect me to be something different. We are all insecure at times. I am usually very confident. But something I woke up with today sent me in to a tailspin where I’ve been on the verge of tears all morning, feeling like I am incompetent at my job and I can’t seem to do anything right. It’ll pass, but man, I wish it had passed already.

    I’m pretty sure people are really happy I don’t write 95% of what’s in my head either. It’s kind of a mess up there.

    • “They’re the ones who seem to love and accept me for who I am, and not expect me to be something different.” Very well said. I think a lot of misunderstanding and frustration stems from the fact that people often don’t meet certain expectations we have for them, whether we realize it or not. I also agree that I’m confident most of the time, and I’m actually quite confident in the things I say and do. The times I get insecure are when I feel like things are either misunderstood or completely ignored. I forget to not take silence or indifference personally, as everyone has their own thing.

  4. We love you, Amy, that’s why we keep coming back; it isn’t just so you’ll read our blogs, or buy our Kindle books!

  5. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    I love these more personal posts we’ve been getting lately. Especially with blogs where people can present themselves how they like it’s easy to idolize others who seemed so loved and at peace with their issues. Peace is probably not the right word there but I think you know what I’m trying to say. I’m sure people read your blog and have those same feelings about you that you are describing about others.

    • Online or in real life, I often think people present a favorable image of themselves–for obvious reasons–but often hide what they perceive to be the less desirable qualities. It can be easy to think they “have it all,” and maybe they do, but maybe they also just choose not to show a more vulnerable side. There’s no right or wrong, but I relate more to those that kind of put it out there from time to time 😉

  6. Abby, I’m very similar – I could win the lottery and still answer “I’m alright,” largely because of the reasons you listed. I also always wonder if I’m the “you know who you are.” That worry comes from social anxiety, for me, I think.

    Anyway, I find you quite interesting and was going to ask to borrow money from you, but now I don’t want you to think I’m interested because I want money so I’ll ask you later.

  7. Security within is a great thing and acknowledging that you’re a constant work in progress is something we should all do on a regular basis.

  8. I think a lot of people have insecurities that they hide from the general public. Only a few are brave enough to share them.

  9. “good and how are you?” (Say that if I have pneumonia, a death of a loved one, or just woke up in a bad mood.)
    loved this post

  10. Hmmm… i think i answer “okay” or “good, you?” because i know people aren’t really expressing interest in my life — its just a polite hi. I think I can open up more on the blog because people ARE expressing interest – they have to go visit the blog themselves, I’m not eye raping them with it.

  11. People who say they are 100 secure, always cheerful and forever shitting rainbows? Are liars. Annoying liars. I respect someone a million times over for just being straightforward, so thank you.

  12. “My theory is that they’ve gone through “something,” whatever that is, and have a self-awareness that produces something genuine, something that pushes things past a superficial level” – yes yes yes.

    The facade gets lifted, and you realize it’s not so important to put on a face anymore. It’s more important to know your own personal truth.

  13. i think about this a lot, how much or how little we share in that simple question. my mom and i have code…when we say “i’m fine” we are most assuredly not fine at that moment, but we can’t get into it right then.

    honesty and rawness are the 2 most important things that will keep me reading a blog. add to that humor and i will try really hard to be your friend.

    i came back to blogging with the intent of creating friendships. that “been through something” is something i have, so i appreciate it in others.

    how am i? obvs ramble-y tonight!

    • I will try really hard to be your friend as well, as you mix the two perfectly. And have you read my blog? Rambly is basically the best descriptor. You were mild 😉

  14. So true and so well said. The blogs/people that tend to drive me away are the ones that seem to be smiling so hard they look like their little faces will burst from the effort. Raw is good. Real is good. And insecure is real. It means you are honest with yourself. Me? I am always a little stunned when folks read me. Really shocked when they like it! And I like you. Insecurity and all.;)

    • Ditto to everything you said. It’s a balance. No one can be raw/real all the time, just as no one can be Suzy Sunshine. Thank god on both accounts.

  15. Ha! That is SO not where I saw this post going!

    Originally – I was all “oh, so feel you. Especially back with all that with my sister? And my mom would just act like the girl behind the counter at the sandwich shop actually meant it? And so she’d say ‘not great, actually’ and the girl would be all ‘wtf?'”

    But then I was like “oh, hey turnin’ that around and bein’ all deep and shiz. Nice one Abbs.”

    PS I also read this: “…unless one of the henchmen I sent to your house to sit on your face” instead of “…unless one of the henchmen I sent to your house to sit on you” for some reasons. I may need to go to bed now.

  16. Oh wow, I totally get what your saying! On a different note, my phone autocorrected that first sentence to read, “I totally know why you’re dying!” You may want to get checked out cuz some people think I’m psychotic PSYCHIC* very funny autocorrect.

    ANYWAY, where was I? Oh yes. I’m also attracted to people who have what I call an “edge.” People who aren’t all nice and sweet and awesome. I like people who can surprise me, who aren’t afraid to get real. Also, people who aren’t easily shocked because GURL! let’s just say I have liv ed a little.

  17. I have the annoying habit of actually telling people why I’m not fine when they ask me that question and I’m not fine. And then people just look at me like, “Why are you ad-libbing? Stick to the script!”

    And I’m totally the same way about people who say that they could care less. So irritating!

  18. Gosh, girl, you are so funny and talented. I concur about meeting other “deep” people. When one goes through things, one learns. The more painful the lesson, the deeper the person. I think we recognize other “knowing” people, you can see it in their eyes and read it in their posts. ;o)
    I read several posts to mom and we laughed our butts off. You rock.

  19. I have a hard time faking it. This past week I had a few people say to a mutual friend, “What’s wrong with Jen?” I was busy and a bit distant and that translated for them into me having a breakdown or something. Ugh. I always appreciate the concern but sometimes not being engaged doesn’t mean you aren’t fine. It just means you’re busy.
    I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with this but we’re all allowed to be insecure, sad, disappointed without it meaning that we feel as though the world is going to end. Sometimes it does feel that way and that’s okay too. Putting yourself out there and being honest is a good thing. It makes you genuine. Keep doing it.

    • “We’re all allowed to be insecure, sad, disappointed without it meaning that we feel as though the world is going to end.” Exactly. Just because I’m not “on” doesn’t mean I’m depressed or freaking out. Sometimes I just want/need to be “meh” without explanation. Yes, there are times I’m depressed and freaking out, but other times I’m just in my head or genuinely busy. I have to be careful not to assume the same thing of others and take their silence personally.

  20. I absoloutely adore this post, Abby.

    You nailed it.

    I have found over the years, that I am most definitely attracted to people who have gone through ‘something’. I don’t know what ‘it’ is, or the ‘something’; as often, people don’t disclose it immediately, but I find that they have a certain spark and emotional depth that catapults me over the superifical, one dimensional shit.

    I’m glad I found this blog and your friendship.

  21. When peeps ask me how I am my response is to say Wheee, I’m amazing. Truth be told, I don’t think how I am until somebody actually asks.

  22. winning the lottery is tough

  23. I’m one of those people who say stupid stuff like “I’m not fine, but I don’t want to share it all right now, and how are you?” when asked that question. But I’m also one of those people who truly means the question when I ask “how are you” and want to hear the real answer, not the “I’m fine” fib we all tell.
    I keep coming back to your blog because you’re real. Real people are those who aren’t afraid to share the ‘something’ that they’ve had in life, and yet can still bounce back or attempt to bounce back without making you manic-depressive about it when they share. But who of us isn’t insecure in some way?

  24. I read this yesterday but have been thinking about it since. I think what you mean is the authentic voice – the writerly voice where we cut the shit and shit gets real, so to speak. Like being honest and admitting insecurities isn’t the same as those who make the rambling “diary” narrative their voice. It’s finding a synthesis between the objective distant voice and that diary voice, and that’s a beautiful thing. I think you’re doing it here!

  25. Unless the person asking is a good friend or a family member, I tend to do the same, except I say “I’m good, thanks, how are you?” That way they don’t feel like it’s a loaded OK and they need ask “just OK??”
    But I love that you appreciate peoples honesty and revelation of their true self the way that I do. I tend to only let very few people actually get close to me so what’s the point if someone is going to be all guarded and paint some beautiful unbelievable portrait of who they think they are “supposed” to be. Yes, we’re all insecure, but the best of us are the ones who own it.
    PS the henchman keeps eating all of my potato chips, do you think you could have a word with him about that?

  26. I was just thinking about this today (before I read your post). The thing is, I actually pretty much say it like it is to people. Friends I’ll bump into at the market or something will ask “How are you?” and I’ll say, “Bleh! Awful. Dad’s got tumors in his brain, my rib cage is starting to show, I’ve got bills to pay and I just got a parking ticket…”. Yea, I know its annoying and I don’t mean to complain, my point is, I’m honest. I might not go into too much detail but I will keep it short but honest and say somehting like “not great, could be better, but hanging in there”.

    I find the more honest I am with my friends, the more I like them. Because I’m transparent and I feel like I’m not hiding anything. So if they continue to be my friends, I know they REALLY like me (a la Sally Field). Did that make any sense?

  27. I’m OK. You’re OK. For me it’s just too exhausting thinking about answering that question honestly some days, and really, if I told the asker they would run away like their hair was on fire. Being OK is my armor. I can’t share because I’d have to crack me open like a walnut and that would hurt. Bad. My blog is followed by family and friends, so I can’t open up there either. Perhaps I need a new anonymous blog so I can open those doors and air out the room.

  28. I do the same thing. Because, really, I cannot believe everyone who asks me this wants to hear exactly what clusterf@ck is going on in my head right now.

    But for now, I’ll answer you: I’m dealing with anxiety this week. It’s frustrating, killing my sleep, and making me feel loco. Or is it “loca” because I’m a girl?

    Then again…you’re right. There are more of us out there that actually DO give a crap. And maybe those people deserve an honest answer?

  29. I am with you. I’ve gotten better with taking compliments (even if they make me uncomfortable, I don’t want the other person to feel uncomfortable) but I still struggle with “accepting that people might genuinely be interested in what I have to say”.

    First, I don’t find myself to be nearly as interesting as I find others. I think that words can easily be misconstrued, and if I open up I don’t want someone to interpret my words in a way that contradicts with my “truth” (which is just silly because I have no control over that). I also agonize a lot about offending others because it’s so easy to do. All of these are cognitive distortions and I recognize that

    But the thing is…I want to be more open! I’m trying to do that lately, but it’s hard when you are cautious and private. I admire people like you who, although I recognize that you don’t share everything, are able to express yourself clearly and candidly when writing about their lives.

  30. When someone asks, “How are you?” I always respond, “Fine, thanks.” It’s easier than handing out my blog address.

    By the way, you are awesome.

  31. We are all works in progress (don’t let my rugged good looks and dynamic personality fool you) 😉
    Oh, by the way, had my daughter read the post: “Cool.” Nuff said.

  32. Insecure is the new black.

  33. I’ve ALWAYS clicked better with people who have, or have had some “issues.” If a person doesn’t have any, or hasn’t had any in the past, I don’t see how we can relate. I went and saw the TV interview. You did really well.

  34. I gravitate to people who I think have “stories” and have been challenged by life. I can’t relate to Suzy Sunshine types at all. I’m not a brooding person nor do I want to sit around talking about all the bad things in my life, but it’s easier for me to open up with people I think will understand.

  35. Yes, yes, and yet still more yes. Some of my posts can be like examining an open wound, and I get a little anxious about those. But those are the ones I tell myself I need to publish. And when I really get a hankering to write something, I rarely censor on the publishing end. I too don’t share everything, but it’s my goal to be as open as possible, because I think that’s more interesting to write and to read.

    To borrow your words, I strongly prefer to “push things past a superficial level,” but I do try to have a mix of lighter posts too. I just don’t see the point in writing if I’m going to ignore my struggles.

    • “I just don’t see the point in writing if I’m going to ignore my struggles.” Well, that line hit home to me, as lately I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing. I struggle with sharing my, well, struggles and putting it out there or keeping it light and as an escape. It’s a fine line, and I suppose it depends on the day. I just have to be careful to think things out before I hit “publish.” 😉

      • Writing things out helps me. And I started the blog to reach out, connect, and get more comfortable sharing things. If some readers think I’m nuts? Well, one of the things I need to work on is thinking “c’est la vie,” instead of worrying what people think. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing only what you’re comfortable sharing, and everyone has to draw their own line. And I do think you write a nice mix of humor posts and more introspective posts. I enjoy reading both, but I think your humor posts are even funnier to me because of the deeper glimpses you provide sometimes.

  36. I totally agree with you that I find I click more with people who’ve “been through stuff.” But at the same time, I get kind of annoyed by people who constantly bring up that they’ve been through stuff, when their stuff isn’t really that big of a deal. Or at least, you can tell it didn’t affect them that deeply, it’s just the biggest thing that ever happened to them. Not to shit on those people, because having gone through my own serious stuff, I much rather be a member of the naive and happy.

    On another note, I am a nosy person who is always trying to deflect conversations away from myself (I love writing about myself, HATE talking about myself) so I am the type of person who will always ask a bunch of questions to other people.

    And that part where you mention people like you for you. That is something I still struggle with. I discovered a long time ago that being myself around people is more satisfying… but I’m still confused as to why they keep asking me to hang out??

    • Holy crap, “yes” to everything here. While you most certainly have more room to talk about shit than I do, I don’t talk about all the shit I’ve been through over the past that has led me to my very minor shit today because that doesn’t change anything. Who cares, other than me? People all have their own things to deal with, and if you keep bringing up a hangnail that’s been stressing you out since 2010, I really don’t need to hear about it. At some point you accept what you have and try to move on, not use it as an excuse.

      And despite my stupid blog ramblings, I also hate talking about myself. I even am uncomfortable writing about myself though, as I always feel like it gets misunderstood or misinterpreted. That doesn’t stop me from doing it, of course, but still…;) Great comment, as always.

      Hope you’re hanging in there!

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