unrelated/everything's related

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the question, how are you, was made to start a conversation, but rarely does it sustain one. every time someone asks me how my day’s going I stop before I answer, wondering if they’re asking because it’s polite or if they really want to know. is it better to answer with honesty, to fill the silence between us with my stress over the exam that’s happening tomorrow or the echoes of the depressing conversations I had with my mom that afternoon, to share the words that hang on my neck and tug on my ears. do i share the thoughts that weigh me down? i never want to bring another human being down, my responses consistently wrapped by a reminder that everyone has their own problems, like filter paper that squeezes my silent replies, until all that drips out are ‘good’, ‘not bad’, and the ever so bland answer ‘fine’. i like to avoid asking the question, and even more enjoy the company where i don’t have to, the conversation never behind a sieve, pouring out rocks and sand that pile up at my feet and i feel honored to have seen the dirt that most of us hide inside. these are the people i want to spend my time with.