My coworker asks if I’m well.

“Well? Not really. Maybe well-ish, I guess?”

“Unacceptable, Ruby”

“I’m fine. I’m here. I’m doing my job. The rest of it isn’t important.”

The point in this is that I didn’t lie. I didn’t do that chipper little upswing at the end of the word thing where I reply with, “I’m great!” like I work retail or am auditioning for a Chocolate commercial. Because, you know what? Things are not great and I am not well. I am a stress monster and a sad bastard right now. And coping to that isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It started with losing the words and now to the stage where my eyes involuntarily water like I have a killer pollen allergy. And it actually stresses me out even more to pretend that I’m a-okay, even though pretending to be and defaulting to manic pixie dream girl problem solver is not only pretty easy, it’s almost expected now. People like blemish-free ones who preach adventure and opportunity-seizing and will use all their powers of twee perception and persuasion and adorable $%&*# whimsy to coax you down from the emotional ledge and offer you some sweet tea once you’re back on solid ground. But damn, even manic pixie dream girls get the blues, you know?

So, I’ve started telling the truth. And the truth is humbling and complicated and petty and mortifying and earnest and bold all rolled together and thrown up on your shoes. It’s professional and it’s personal. This is what I’m feeling. This is what I’m thinking. I want this. I don’t want that. I don’t know what I want. Maybe a drink. Maybe a clone. TBD.

It’s not strategic. It’s not a calculated risk. It’s not courageous. It’s not meant to endear me to you. It’s half “what-if” experiment and half “I truly do not have the energy to play along right now. Rain check?”

Yes, I acknowledge that it takes a certain talent to blog in multiple venues and never give up much of substance about yourself. Part of it is natural reticence, part of it is the tone of this blog, part of it is control meets fear. So, if you know more about me as a person than the barest of character sketches, you’re in rarefied company.

But, for some reason, I can’t lie in this space. I can avoid posting or ply you with fiction, but I can’t stand behind writing that doesn’t represent what I genuinely feel and believe in at that moment. And right now, I feel like a 14-karat mess. And I could whip up a how-to piece on combating feelings such as these (without ever admitting I experience them myself), or I could be honest with you and say that I’m pretty sad and more than a little stressed and that I honestly do not know what will or should happen next. Even know-it-alls get confused.

“Are you well?”

“No, I’m actually not, but thanks for asking.”

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