For a long time, over the past year or so, I’ve been trying not to use the f-word.
Not that one. I say that all the time. Most likely I always will.
I’m talking about the other f-word – fine.
It was my default response to all the common questions – how are you, how are you going, how’s things, how’s life? All ‘fine’.
I stopped one day after I’d said it and wondered why I kept using it. Was I ‘fine’? Or was I something else? And if I’m something else, why the hell don’t I say that? What would happen if I actually said a response that meant something?
Because fine is insipid. It’s vanilla. It’s meaningless.
Fine is what we say instead of being honest, instead of feeling deeply how we truly are. Whether we’re feeling fantastic, awesome, brilliant or awful, depressed, anxious – we just say fine and no further conversation is required.
Everyone does it. Fine. Fine. Fine. Everyone is bloody fine.
Fine robs us of passion, depth, feeling, ferocity.
Fine says ‘don’t mind me, it’s not important, I’m not important’.
Fine has no colour, no texture, no heat.
Fine is … empty.
I started, when asked how I was, pausing to check in and ask myself the question before ‘fining’ my joy away.
I started trying on some different words. I was great (better but still bland). Fantastic (bit more sparky). Excellent. Awesome.
Still all safe, but it’s slow progress, changing years of fine-ism.
I’ve not yet willingly opened up the the ‘not fines’ though. Those admissions I still save for my nearest and dearest. But I’ve still avoided ‘fine’ and gone with – down, anxious, flat. Timid steps into honesty but a damn lot better than the luke-warm, non-living ‘fine’. On the bad days, I go with OK, not fine. So that’s a little more honest even though not fully open.
Fine allows us to hide from what we truly want. Fine allows us to disregard our heart’s desires, our ambition, our craving for a whole life that fits us.
Fine keeps us stuck in the rut, in the same holding pattern as everyone else.
Fine keeps us hidden.
So how are you really? What are you feeling?
Are you great? Crappy? Inspired? Overwhelmed?
Fierce, strong, renewed, dynamic, awesome, peaceful, blissful?
Depressed, anxious, bored, numb, feverish, dull, disillusioned?
Marvellous, cheerful, loved, spectacular, grateful, tickled-pink?
Don’t settle for fine. It’s a crumb and you deserve a whole cake. Life has so much more depth to it than just ‘fine’. So sink in to whatever it is you are.
Share with me in the comments how you are, truly.