It occurs to me, after years and years of asking people how they are that this is perhaps the worst question in the universe. Not just your average, How ya doin? in the grocery store. I'm talking about the very Southern, "So, how ya holding up?" you ask while wincing slightly.
I always thought I was being sweet. Caring. Letting people know that I was there for them in their time of need. What I understand now is that I was presenting them with a question that has no correct answer.
When people ask me that question right now, I don't have to wonder why they want to know. They want to know how I'm handling the separation. And it's good to know that people care. Trust me, I need people who care. I need a support system, I won't lie.
But how am I supposed to answer that question?
The answer, the good and true answer is that I am fine. I have a lot of day to day stuff. I'm keeping busy. I have my moments, but I'm okay.
Except I can't say that. If I say I'm okay, it either looks like I'm lying or like I'm a heartless ice queen who doesn't care that her husband moved out. I don't want to look like that. Even if it's true. I'm not sure if it is or not, but I'll figure it out eventually.
If I say anything else, I feel like I'm lying and that I'm going to get more sympathy than I can handle.
The truth is that it's complicated. Sometimes I'm fine. (Most of the time.) Sometimes I'm better than fine. (Like when I realize that I'll never again have to fish dirty socks out of the couch.) Sometimes I'm pretty rough. (Like when I had to watch The Walking Dead all by myself.) Sometimes I'm a little scared. (Like when I hear a noise in the middle of the night and I can't remember where the baseball bat is or why we ever thought that was a weapon.) Sometimes it seems like I've got this thing covered and sometimes it seems like everything is falling apart.
The truth is that it's the little things that matter the most now. Knowing I won't go to see a movie because I don't have anyone to go with anymore. Or spreading out and taking over all the dresser drawers. Little ups and little downs.
How do you possibly fit all that into a response to "How are you doing?"