Stop Saying You Are Fine

I am absolutely, positively, NOT fine whenever I utter the phrase  "I'm fine". Men, proceed with caution if you hear this. Because ladies, when have you ever actually been fine when you told someone you were? Exactly.

Society tells us that to be cool, chill women, we need to be “fine” all the time. The very feelings that make us human, are somehow unacceptable and “crazy”. Ever hear a guy mention his ex saying, “she was crazy”, and when you probe, he says, "she was too emotional”? We then nod in agreement, like we understand exactly what he means. She must yell, cry, threaten, and throw things. He’s lucky he got out when he did.

So last week I cried and yelled and threw Dave’s shoes. Thankfully, he was already out of the car so he didn’t witness this adorable moment, but I made sure to tell him later that I threw his gym shoes, and that I almost threw them out the window in the parking lot, but I contained myself. 

I have since forgotten why I was so frustrated I felt the need to throw a shoe in the back seat. Clearly something bad happened, but I am usually pretty chill if I may say so myself. When I walked into the bedroom last month and all 12 of my pillows were neatly stacked on the floor on my side of the bed except for one lonesome pillow (his), which rested on his side of the bed, I totally took a deep breath and tried to think of reasons why one would do this. I instinctively knew that my husband had a fit of rage against the decorating machine, and just had to take everything off the bed so he could breath in the non-clutterness. I understood. I gave him a break. I felt pretty proud of myself and made sure to point out to him how mature I was for not reacting.

I obviously have selective amnesia about the time I threw things and remember (in detail), the time I was totally mature. 

I think it ultimately comes down to what women are taught is normal and desirable. Everyone wants to have it together all the time, and we are told that being emotional is not cute. We feel bad when we get teary, and our feelings often get dismissed. Is it possible we are not communicating them effectively? 

I believe it’s about what you do with your emotion. Ideally, we would always be in control of it, but sometimes that’s just impossible, so what do we do with the times we just need to throw a shoe?

We need to learn new ways to express our feelings so that we are not at either end of the spectrum - suppressing our feelings, or ugly crying. If someone asks if you are okay, if you are not, say no. Try to calmly explain to them what is bothering you, instead of passive-aggressively trying to show them your discontent. In fact, I believe that that is one of the reasons we reach such high levels of emotion. I know for me, if I sense that my feelings are validated when they are at level 1, I can deal with them and they dissipate quickly. If I am brushed off and made to feel like I am making up the issue, I quickly escalate to level 100, aka ugly crying. It takes continuous effort to understand why that happens, and to communicate it to people in my life in a healthy way so that there are not big outbursts of emotion. 

There is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings. They are your feelings and you can’t help them. Our culture makes us believe that some feelings are okay and some are not, and tells us how we should feel about certain things. In reality, feelings are very personal to each one of us. What is okay for one, may not be okay for another. It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. 

What I think we should be focusing more on, is communication, and insight. Having the insight that a feeling is  a feeling, and that it certainly will pass, helps us be in control of them and not let those pesky things run away with our heads. Working on having good communication with your partners is the key to being better understood, which in turn helps us deal with our feelings. Ah-ha!

One thing I learned is to make a decision, and let my feelings catch up to it. I spent a large portion of my life doing it the other way around, which led to me making excuses for myself, and for other's. Our feelings are there to help guide us when something is or isn’t right, and it’s okay to own them. If something feels funny to you, it’s okay to say you’re not fine. What’s not okay, is to deny yourself emotions and try to live by some made up parameter of what’s “cool”, stuffing everything down. In the end, it’s how you handle your feelings that matters.

So next time you’re upset and are about to tell someone “I’m fine,” stop to think about it first. Don’t lie just because you think that’s what people want to hear. We are women who feel things, and that’s a good thing! Don’t be ashamed, but instead do your best to understand why you are feeling a certain way, and find the communication style that works best for you and your loved one. 

And if you ever just need to throw a shoe, make sure it's a cheap one.