I Hope You Are Okay

I hope you are okay.

Thanks. That’s all I have to say about that. Interesting how many platitudes have an opposite impact of their intent. Interesting how “hope” can be used to mean expect. Do I have an obligation to meet your expectations? To be “beautiful, smart, talented, and funny” because those are the qualities you expect to find in the legend of a woman who overcomes. What if I spent all of eternity mourning, pacing the banks of the high-water river, pleading with it to accept another day’s tears? Would that be “okay” with you?

I hope this can happen over the next week.

Over the next week, I hope to celebrate the one month anniversary of my losses. I have already purchased a pint of blueberries and bookmarked a recipe for angel cake. I like blueberries because they are more fancy than strawberries, and because they are blue. I like my plates with a blue floral rim, because they appear more round than those without one. I like my blue eyes. What do you like? Can we talk about that instead? Celebrating can look like someone listening to herself begin to emerge, without her usual fear or anger, assembling I-statements into a narrative of new self.

I hope you are off to a good week.

I am. I found a new place to live, a new friend, and a new bicycle path to ride on. These territories of New Me reflect the values I had as a child: Independence, to be self-supportive, and choose my own way of doing things; Reciprocity, to build relationships in which there is a fair balance of giving and taking; Adventure, to actively seek, create, or explore novel experiences. I am recollecting the vision of the adult world I imagined for myself, and losing sight of that I imagined for us.

I hope you are doing well, all things considered.

Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Ms. Kayla Kennett. Have you ever noticed how we speak about the hard things? Struggling to poeticize what we can barely acknowledge. Instead of naming the thing itself, using metonymy to describe it in a less despicable adjunct, for example, “the track” for horse racing or “all things” for “everything you knew crumbling all around you.” I am well enough to take the opportunity to combat your vagary with precision, to reclaim the narrative of my own life. I hope you are okay with that.


Notes

As a culture, we are notoriously bad at knowing what to say to people who are dealing with anything messy. This short piece of prose is a response to some of the condolences that I received on behalf of a recent traumatic experience β€” those relatively less meaningful than the mutual meaning I supposed between myself and their speaker. Despite understanding the former, my need to feel seen and heard and validated by others remains key to my recovery process. I am working to accept that the significant others I have cast in this role are wrong for it, and play it for myself instead. “Speak To Yourself In The Third Person,” advises the author of some dozen pop psychology articles on How to Self-Regulate Difficult Emotions. And so I, the epitome of a Rebel personality, don’t. The first person ‘I’ goes on speaking to the second person ‘You,’ who is most obviously not the reader, despite my best efforts to obscure your identity. I am stuck on You. To writing about you as a roundabout way of providing for myself what you can’t provide β€” namely, Hope

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