i am proficient, if not fluent in english [or american, depending on who you ask]. it is my native tongue afterall. however, it seems that my use of descriptive language may be a bit skewed.
the other morning, on the phone with a mentor of mine, he asked how married life was treating me. i replied, “it’s okay. there’s not much difference than from before we were married, except that now it’s official.”
apparently this was not the answer he was expecting. he went on to how everything was going, if all was alright, and noted that it was not a ringing endorsement for marriage.
i realized his concern must stem from my use of the word okay.
see, many years ago in a group setting one of my friends asked how me about my sex life with my significant other [at that time]. i replied, “it’s okay” and as i learned later that evening, the word choice ‘okay’ almost cost me my relationship. i was flummoxed. okay was practically a ringing endorsement in my book. okay was the highest grade i gave anything. it equalled an ‘a’ in my book. apparently, to everyone else, okay was akin to a ‘c’ at best.
it didn’t stop my usage of the word, but it did make me curious as to why i was unwilling to commit a more appropriate adjective to my descriptions. when i enjoyed something, thought something was great, delicious, wonderful, fabulous, or good even, why could i not say so? why did i say it was just ‘okay’?
turns out, i just wasn’t willing to provide any type of description that was all that positive. see i could like something, think it’s fantastic even, tell someone so and they would think it wasn’t. i wouldn’t want that to reflect on me. or something bad could happen to that fantastic thing, making it no longer fantastic, so my previous ringing endorsement would be silly. the other side was, i think i was also afraid to say that anything was good. life was tough growing up and being around my family. we struggled. things were hard. so even when things were good, overall the negative just kinda averaged out to okay at best… so how could i ever really say something was great?
anyway, this crept up over the years in various conversations. i did work on it, and continue to work on it, but i have to say ‘okay’ is in the fabric of my vocabulary. it’s almost impossible to extract.
so that morning, when it filled in the adjective to describe my marriage and my mentor seemed taken aback by my statement, i knew the genesis of his concern. i did try to relay this story above, well not the sex part, but how i grade ‘okay’ different than the rest of the world. he seemed alright with it, but not completely. eventually we ended our conversation and said we would catch back up.
later that day, i relayed the conversation to our mutual friend. she said he called her too, concerned about me. wondering if i was okay. wondering if i was depressed. [to which she replied, "aren't we all?" ] she too tried to explain my okay grading, but to no real avail. they went round and round, but both ultimately agreed my use of the word, or my descriptions of life, were a bit messed up. and that she needed to talk to me about that.
which she did, and we laughed.
so i will try again. to tell you how life is wonderful, even in the not-so-good spots. and leave ‘okay’ for those average people, places, things, and moments.