When saying “I’m fine” means something completely different

September 3, 2013



Dear Max

Not many people will know that this has been a tough year for me. I don’t really put it all out there. In fact, I hardly put anything out there. And I think it’s important not to lay it all out on a public platform where everyone can read it, but this blog has become a bit of PR exercise in saying “I’m fine”. And I’m not so fine with that anymore.

It’s not just this blog though, it’s pretty much how I operate. For so many reasons, I’m a person who functions mostly well, who gets up quickly after falling, who keeps on keeping on. And who doesn’t want to burden anyone with an “I’m not so fine. I’m struggling”. And who doesn’t want to appear “weak” if I admit to being anything less than strong and standing sturdy. And I fear not being loved if I’m anything other than happy, confident and strong (this fear incidentally was played out again and again this year).

The last two months, after being so emotionally and physically hurt, to every person who asked how I was doing, I replied: “I’m a bit hurt BUT I’m mostly doing great”. Or “I’m doing great. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there”. There’s always a “but”. I always seem to be reassuring those who ask that I’m okay, rather than saying “I’m hurt”. “I’m betrayed”. “I’m struggling to find my self esteem again”. “It’s hard”.

Why do I write about it here? Because I’m trying to work through it and change it – by writing, talking and thinking. But mostly because I want you to be able to fall, stay there, and get up when you’re ready. And cry. And say you’re hurt. Or can’t get up.

Even though I don’t quite believe it for myself yet, I want you to know that good people will love you and respect you even if you’re not always “fine”, and that you’ll be doing yourself a big disservice by putting on a happy capable face all the time and always being in “capable” mode.

I’m sometimes exhausted from hiding behind the safety of a smile more times than I’d like, and I’d like to teach you that it’s fine to be something other than “okay”. Otherwise it catches up, dude – whether it’s anger, illness, meltdown or breakdown.

Here’s to more honest faces. Starting with my own.


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  • cindyalfino

    Sometimes life is really hard and the best thing to do is acknowledge it and not just brush over it.  You’re doing the right thing and you are a great Mom!

    September 3, 2013 at 10:09 am Reply
  • ShaneBunyan

    I hope things improve soon

    September 3, 2013 at 11:53 am Reply
  • ShaneBunyan

    i hope things improve soon for you

    September 3, 2013 at 11:54 am Reply
  • Gaelyn Cokayne

    Loved reading this – It’s something that almost everyone is guilty of at some point (some certainly more than others!) One of the best things I have ever learned is to be able to say “Things are not great, this sucks, I need a time out”. My botched surgery forced me to admit my weaknesses and ask for help, to realise I’m not superwoman and that it is not only just OK but healthy to admit your flaws, recognise your faults and say that you are struggling! I applaud you for writing this letter to your son, and having the courage to share it with all of us! I hope it was cathartic for you xxx

    September 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm Reply
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