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  • Irene McCalphin

How Are You?

Updated: Nov 8, 2019



We were outside of a theater when it happened.

"How are you?" popped out of my mouth. It's a common courtesy. Something we say without thinking & to be honest often without feeling.

When they asked "Can I be honest with you?" I gave my consent for an authentic exchange.

They weren't okay.

The information they trusted me with allowed us to discuss how I could hold them in a way that was safe for us both.


Actually someone just knowing how they really were was 90% of what they needed.

This interaction changed me. I started answering honestly when people asked me "How are you?"

So much so that I don't get asked that much anymore.

I win?😅


Seriously... Sometimes when people ask that question I laugh and say how loaded it is. Sometimes I say that I want to say I'm fine but the truth is that I am a fat Black queer witch coming to the end/beginning of a spiritual journey and (insert name of recent Black person executed by the police state here) was murdered so many weeks/days/hours ago. So do you want an honest answer or can we continue with what we came here to do?*

As a caretaker and assistant to a person's healing process I thought this level of honesty would be a problem, that my clients would find me messy or lacking.

It's had the opposite reaction.

My clients have seen it as a strength. My clients have identified with it. My clients have trusted me to move big energy with them because I am in it WITH them.

If anything it's opened discussion on self care techniques. It's made me Spiritually and Physically put my "oxygen mask on first". It's helped me work from a more honest place within myself. It's helped them open up to me so we can engage in vunerable, shifting catharsis that is beneficial to us both.



When I ask "How are you?" I mean it. I lean in when I ask it. I make eye contact. I want to know.

It's an invitation for others to share their humanity with me. I think this is the original intention of the phrase. To see each other. I think that's gotten lost in the social niceties.

I don't go in much for social niceties anymore. But that's a discussion for another time.


*Always give them an out 😉



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