I am a liar. I am a total, complete, unrepentant, unadulterated, compulsive liar. I have honed my skill to professional levels. You would not be able to tell I’m lying. I am JUST that good! I know you think I’m boasting but I’m not. I’m simply stating facts. I’ve had to get this good. It’s a matter of being able to walk through this world with my head up. Sounds stupid doesn’t it? Let me explain.
“How are you doing?” isn’t really a question. It’s a social nicety. It’s a segue to other social niceties that lead to quick getaways by people who can all then feel like they have had an acceptable social interaction without having to risk any real personal involvement. On the other hand, for someone with a chronic illness/chronic pain it’s a minefield question. Some people actually ask that as a real question. When you give them the lie answer they feel betrayed when the truth comes out. Others ask it as a social question. If you give these people the real answer they act like you just defecated in their dinner. For a person who’s concentration is 80 percent involved in not screaming, trying to determine which of these people is which is very difficult. No matter which course you choose you are going to have to see a look in someone’s eyes that makes you miserable.
Luckily the chances of running into someone who really wants to know how you are feeling are almost nil so your best bet is to go with the “I’m fine.” lie. This is the lie everyone is expecting to hear as well as the one most likely to be given out in response to the same query by you. You don’t run near as much risk of watching someone imagine stomping a large ice pick through their partner’s ear for asking the question if you just go with this response.
“Are you ok?” I just say yes. If I’m sending gouts of arterial blood shooting skyward hundreds of feet I’ll still say yes. It’s my go to response. Most of the time everyone is happy to just let it go. I whine far too much as it is. I want to slap myself silly sometimes just to shut me up even when I’m only thinking it. So if I fall down or twist my ankle or drop something on my foot or stumble or hit my head or run into the doorframe or knock over the lamp or any of the hundred and seven other things I do in a day and I get asked if I’m ok I say yes. It’s always a lie.
If you just say yes, I’m ok, then you don’t run the risk of watching the look of social concern turn to “oh crap not again” when you start to say what’s wrong.
Here are a few more examples of my lies:
I’ve been praying for you! Do you feel better? Me: YES!
Did you try that oil I told you about to cure your incurable condition? Me: YES!
Did you eat that exotic food I heard about that will cure your incurable condition? Me: YES!
Did you do that strange exercise I read about that is impossible for the most physically fit Olympic athlete to perform but you should do it because I’m sure it will cure your incurable condition? Me: YES!
Did you find that obscure treatment I sorta remember from that book or magazine I read that one time somewhere that told about that medicine that could probably cure your incurable condition? Me: YES!
So when people ask me how I am I lie. I tell them I’m fine. I say I’m OK. I tell them I’m doing pretty good. That way I won’t be ashamed anymore. I won’t have to see those looks in their eyes anymore. I won’t have to see the regret for asking the question anymore. I won’t have to feel the humiliation of realizing that they didn’t really mean they wanted an answer for the question. Or the disappointment that they went to all the trouble to find the one herbal remedy that would cure me and that I’m clearly too ungrateful to try it, just too much of a whiner to want to get better.