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.
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 😉