“People ask me how you’re doing, and I don’t know how to respond. So, how’re you doing?” I ask my significant other.
When people pose this question about my s.o. in conversation, I pause awkwardly and mumble a bit of nonsense to buy time until I come up with something inoffensive. “He’s busy!” I’ll exclaim brightly, as if this sentiment is a one-of-a-kind treasure. The expression on the face of the question-asker usually does not reflect the ingenuity I feel I have used to come up with these banal and silly responses.
I think that people want me to say that my s.o. is well. This would be fine if people left it at that, but they sometimes want to know details, and I am a pitiful liar. It is easy to come up with evidence that someone is busy. It is much harder to try to convince a person that another person is well. Conversations are dormant minefields.
My s.o. admits that he does not know how to respond when people ask him how I am.
This is understandable. I hardly know how I am.
Am I well? I have good/fair health. I have a s.o. whom I love very much. I have a family that loves and supports me. I have health insurance in case I need emergency care. I have good, healthy food, and money to buy more. I generally feel safe where I live. I have nice things. I am rarely physically uncomfortable.
Plus, I am married to the person I love. I have the ability to marry the person I love.
So, yes, in a way, I am well.
June is Gay Pride month.
I got an e-mail about a week ago from a watchdog organization that entreated me to write to JCPenny in support of a pro-gay ad campaign they were running. The ad featured two men playing with two children and some type about how great having (a) dad(s) is. It made me wonder what the world is coming to when we’re asked to congratulate corporations for treating people as if they mattered, as if we were all equal. I thought about Greensboro and Rosa Parks and the ways that Black people are treated today. It frustrates me when people say “things have gotten better,” because, most of the time when people express those sentiments it’s like they’re really saying, “shut up and be grateful,” or “stop rocking the boat.”
This is not to say that I think that things have not “gotten better” is certain ways. I just think that we ought not to stop analysis there.
This question of wellness, of how we are all doing, is deceptively complex.
How are we, in a world so rife with injustice?
A more apt question may be: Who are we?
Who are we choosing to be?