Monday, August 2, 2010

Beneath the Good

A simple question often evokes a simple answer.
"How are you?"
"Good. How are you?"

But what's beneath that?
What's beneath the surface of "good" that we aren't saying, that we aren't hearing, that we're not really asking, that we don't know?
The truth is, I am good but there is more to that good that I am not saying. Things that don't feel good, that don't look good, that aren't good, but I can't speak of them.

The question was too simple and my answer is too complicated.

I sat at a table I have sat at for decades with faces I have known the same amount of time. People I love so dearly I cry when I leave them. I cry for the changes, the gratefulness, and the appreciation. I cry for it all and I am left with a punch drunk emotional hangover digesting the tilt-o-whirl that is life, that is family.How am I?
I am good.
But beneath that--I am trying to compartmentalize who I am and the emotions {guilt, stress, love, happiness, anger, frustration, smiles} that go with each and every part of those compartments. At the moment, I am trying to understand why I was so upset over a passing incident that was not about me but I made it so.

I grew up in an incredible family of people with strong personalities. Men who were bred to provide, lead, and surpass the men around them. I was born into women who are secondary voices to the men but headstrong, opinionated, and achievers. I was born among men who work and women who sustain a home. The age old tale of my experience as a mother has been defined by the fact that these women's stories are not my own and I constantly feel other by expressed expectation and the absence of relation to my walk. It plagues me and has made it impossible to understand and appreciate my road and what I need to do. {tears}
I sat around a table this weekend talking. A grandfather, his granddaughters, and one grandson. As the grandson received an incoming business call, the grandfather addressed his appreciation for his grandson's dedication to his job and inside I boiled.

I boiled because a) I don't think business should ever come before family and a table should never be left for it b) I boiled because I would never be congratulated for professional dedication that took over a weekend. I would be asked, "what else can you give up to be home?" And in that moment, I wanted my phone to ring. I wanted to direct a call with "Did you receive the venue contracts and received countersigned documentation, update the database, inform marketing..." I wanted in inflate a piece of me that could perhaps prove my worth in an arena that could be identified with. However, this one piece...this professionalism I take on while being a married woman and mother will always make me other in my self understanding within my family.

What I wouldn't give to fill these bottles and watch these hands every day...what haven't I given to try???I grew up with and know an incredible family. I have the most beautiful family of my own. It never ceases to amaze me how challenging this road is to allow myself to be different, to know difference, and to come to appreciate the uniqueness of my own story. Instead I fight to shove my awkward jigsaw piece into a 50-piece puzzle and will continue to until I can just say, "this is who I am, this is my road, and I will make the best of it."

So, How am I?
I am good...
and beneath that good, there is just a bit more than you asked for.


  1. Allegra,

    I just have to say that every time a new post of yours appears in my Reader, I pounce on it. I feel like you say everything I am feeling within my own life and yet can't find a way to express at times. Thank you for being vulnerable out here in this crazy blogosphere and opening your heart to the rest of us who desperately need someone to identify with. Your words are really an inspiration, even if it often goes unsaid.


  2. i. love. being. in. your. family.

    and i miss you terribly.


  3. We are traveling the same path my dear, not in every single way but in many, I Identify with your hurting and the deep beneath the how are you's...thank you for sharing, love u!

  4. I love you cousin friend and praise you for YOUR road. I wanna spend my days playing with you and your boys every weekend. :)

  5. always love hearing about what is underneath the "I'm good."

    praying for you....

  6. your writing alway touches my heart, you express your feeling so well. I applaud your road you travel and your dedication to making the best life for you and your family,