all of the feelings

Every text conversation between me and a friend:

Me: hi! How are you?

Friend: hanging in there! Charlie has a cold :/

Me: boo! So no play date this week huh?

Friend: ugh no, we are overdosing on Sesame Street and losing our minds.

Me: you need anything?

Friend: no, we're good. How are you doing?

(Three days pass)

Me: good

___

It's not just that Chicken has a sixth sense for knowing the best possible time to taste matches, and that time is almost always when a friend has texted me to find out how I am. Although yes, when I see Chicken gnawing on flammable sticks, I typically give him my undivided attention. He has uncommonly sharp teeth. Like a wolverine.

But the delay also stems from the fact that "how are you" is a question better answered with gestures and facial expressions than hunt-and-pecked text.

How am I?

I'm... (Shrug) (laugh) (eye roll) (wipe face) (pull hair) (flat exhale with half shrug and raised eyebrows) (so-so hand tilt) (exasperated sweep of arm) (hang head in defeat) (laugh again) 

If I had to text all that, I'd probably say:

I'm amused, at my wit's end, overwhelmed, hungry, bitchy.

I'm doing okay... I guess. I'm surviving. Still laughing. Kind of.

I'm high on the tempo at which I must operate, like how I imagine elite military operatives and wedding planners must feel. 

I'm mentally counting up the number of hours of my life I will spend with someone drinking from my body. Should I laugh or hydrate?

I'm so in love with my family. 

I'm really in the mood for a big glass of wine.

I'm great and terrible. Yes, like Oz. Fuck, no, you're right, he was great and powerful. Okay, I'm not like Oz.

I'm desperate for answers. I'm absolutely desperate for directions. Help?

I'm accepting that my path includes a stupidly long and self-serious answer to what should be a straightforward question like "how are you." 

The truth is that I am EVERYTHING. I am triumphant and obliterated and then, while I'm being both of those things, I have feelings about what it's like to be those things so I'm guilty about being triumphant and resigned about being obliterated, and then the feelings-pond ripples out another ring so I'm mad that I'm guilty about being triumphant, and proud that I'm resigned about being obliterated... 

You know those cartoon faces you show autistic kids so they can start to recognize human emotion? Yeah. I'm those. A whole deck of them. Plus the extension party pack. 

But after all that...

I am happy with my life. 

I'm so happy with it that I'm not even going to list the individual things I am happy with. I'm just going to say this, 3 days later:

I'm good.

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