When You Ask How I’m Holding Up, I Want To Say This

How are you? 

Hey, how’ve you been?

How’re you holding up? 

You know. Ups and downs. 

Thank Gd. We have our health. Could be worse. 

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Ya. It’s pretty tough… Lots of feelings. 

the automatic though these days definitely more lovingly asked question of how are you how you been seems even harder to answer because really how do we even answer how do we even step out of our own feelings to listen to another and i don’t even know if you want or can process how i feel because in so many ways during this crazy pandemic did someone just say pandemic when the hell did we enter a pandemic a time out of a sci fi movie where everything feels surreal yes surreal that has become my word to describe this because it is surreal it is somehow completely out of reality and other wordly and also reality times a million like everything ive ever felt thought believed questioned has been magnified a million times over while im stuck at home with my five kids and husband and dog and worry and grief and shame and wonder and boredom and monotony and of course many beautiful moments but really the monotony because Gd help me how many zoom meetings and instagram lives and webinars and free online programming can we all take before we just lean into the existential loneliness that plagues us all because really this is not about a germ or a virus or a bat or china or trump or whatever the hell this is about leaning into the vast expansiveness that is the excruciating but oh so freaking beautiful thing called humanity and oh how fragile it is and oh how fragile we are and oh so sad to see so many suffer and how do we do this all alone through layers of plastic and so even at home even in the great pause im trying to create noise and bustle and static because what would happen if i really stopped what would the stillness teach me what is hiding in the space between and because im afraid of stillness i much rather run run run and that reminds of this time years ago i went to see a movie and it was exhilarating and inspirational and there was something so hopeful about it and i ran outside the theater i ran outside and i sprinted down the sidewalk so fast laughing so fast just running i felt like i was so free free free and so alive and so happy but i was running and how do we know if were running toward something or running away from something else and even now with the monotony and the pain and the sadness and the freakin pandemic i am running and cannot be still and i am cleaning all day long and sweeping the dog hair sweep sweep sweeping piles and piles and piles and do you even know how much a lab sheds and theres dog hair everywhere because hes shedding everywhere hes just like me im shedding everywhere and the metaphorical hair never stops and the sweeping never stops and the shedding never stops because really are we ever done changing are we ever standing still are we ever not processing or understanding or working our way through something even forgiving myself finally would be an act of shedding how tired do i have to get from our the existential pain to actually just freakin stop and appreciate the shed dont judge the shed love the shed love the ebb and flow because even in this pandemic i feel so much love oh i could cry oh i am crying for love because nothing can stop us oh humanity how freakin gorgeous we are how freakin special how freakin alive even in our pain because even locked up even sad even scared even depressed we love one another and care and volunteer and pray and sing and reach out and teach and wonder how we all are so how are we all and maybe if we were truly curious we could answer that question because when we ask someone how they are are we really open to the truth to the enormous expanse of the human feeling are we really paying attention or are we just waiting our turn waiting to talk waiting for someone to ask us how we feel right i remember this one time i was traveling in turkey a million years ago of course i had to throw in some self deprecating i’m getting so old humor where was i oh in turkey about twenty years ago and i had this shtick i would ask people when i first met them whats your favorite feature or tell me what youre the most afraid of or whats your first memory and sure people were caught off guard and of course i like to shock people and yes people would answer always with a twinkle in their eyes and a smile because lets be honest even as we sweep even as we run even as we shed we crave one another we crave unbridled honesty we crave to just freakin rip off the layers and finally just be just run down that sidewalk with glee and authenticity and all the feelings and shatter the numbness because really ive been numb so long so so long and when this freakin pandemic ends and i finally leave my house i will run out my door and fling off my mask and like a choreographed scene from a bollywood movie ill run down my sidewalk laughing skipping and find you and ask you how are you please tell me everything i want to hear whats your favorite feature and what are you really afraid of and whats your first memory and really what are you shedding what are you shedding what are you shedding and i will hold every word like a treasure and caress it in my mind and heart and trust and wait with patience that you will ask me too how are you yocheved really how are you and i will tell you everything without shame without smallness without that self deprecating thing i do and we will connect beyond time space and germs forever in love with the yearning to know really how are you freakin feeling, my friend

How am I feeling? … Oh you know. Ups and downs. Its all so crazy. 

How about you?