Why use

A hundred words when two will do.

I have always had a terrible tendency to over-explain everything. To anyone who has the misfortune to be standing within earshot. Recently it was pointed out to me as a strange defense mechanism; deliberately drawing attention to something that people can clearly see without my help. So when I am using a stick, I joke about it. When I am steering a rollator I mock my poor driving skills. Wrongly assuming that those watching me are embarrassed.

But, when I am asked how I am, I’m lost for words. How do you put everything weighing down on you into a single, succinct sentence? I’ve known other people to say ‘that’s life’, or ‘you know how it is’, or ‘I’m plodding along’. The two words ‘I’m fine’ are the biggest ruse of them all. Have you ever said that when you can’t put into words the way you feel, the things you are coping with at that time?

At the weekend I met a couple of people who are struggling with life, and when I answered the question as to how I was, I was able to say ‘you know’ and be certain they really did.

If you have the time, then allowing someone to tell their story is the best gift you can give them. Don’t answer for them, because then you are stealing their right to speak for themselves.

Each of us has an account of our own to share with others. Don’t be like me and underestimate the capacity for understanding in other people, but also, don’t think that your experience is not worth talking about.

So then, how are you?

And please don’t say ‘fine’.

You’re worth more than that.

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