There is a scene in American Beauty I think about from time to time. It involves a garbage monster so I won't mention his name and luckily, it is of no consequence as to why I love the scene. At the ending of the film, Mena Suvari's character asks Lester how he is. He takes a moment before answering and wonders out loud that it has been a long time since someone asked him that. He brightens and responds with "I'm great."I think about that scene because how often do we all answer "I'm fine" or "I'm good" automatically when asked? How often are we asked how we are genuinely? It is such a common greeting to ask how someone is and never hear the answer. I mean truly hear it. I say I am fine on auto pilot all the time and am guilty of not absorbing the answer when I ask the same question. The only time my ears perk up is when a person answers "Not so great" or "I'm having a hard time." Otherwise, fine and good is what I hear and we all move along to different conversation.The other day, I had someone ask me how I was in a text. Without thinking, I typed that I was great. The kicker was I MEANT IT. I had my Lester Burnham moment. I don't think through a text this was conveyed as important as it felt. The response was the usual and it was moved on from. The great goes unnoticed which is its cross to bear, I suppose. I do not recall the last time I said I was great and meant it. I do remember saying it once in person and having a reaction of "Great? Really? That's amazing!" because, honestly, it is. I remember thinking "Wait, am I great? Maybe I'm not. I take it back." Saying you are great is a unicorn. So rare and magical it doesn't seem real. There has to be something that is dragging me down, isn't there? I can not be truly and unequivocally great.But I am.I'm happy. That's all. I'm happy and secretly waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I am happy. I meant it when I said I was great because I AM great. I could list all the items that I feel great about but overall, it is a matter of being in a place I love with people I love doing things I love. I surrounded myself with familiar comforts and new adventures. I performed the KonMari method on myself. I spark joy now.I'm so used to being negative and sad and empty, the word great feels foreign on my tongue. I stared at the text for a moment. It had come so naturally to say; I did not think twice before typing it. It was the truth. I was great. Strange to say or not, I had made little (and big) changes in my life and now, I am great. Do not doubt it, I can 1000% complain about no less than a dozen things right this very moment. But I feel great. No one may notice when I respond to the usual 'how are you' question and that doesn't bother me. It doesn't need to be celebrated by anyone but me. It took me to that scene, that moment where the character realizes he actually IS great. That was how it felt. A smile creeping up my face. That happens a lot these days. A warmth fills me and explodes out of my face. It's strange to feel the darkness drain. There is space opening up inside me that no longer vibrates with dread. Most days, I am drifting along, watching the world speed by, waiting for a sign, feeling 'fine' or 'okay'. I know that other shoe is out there, waiting for its moment to fall. It might be tomorrow, it might be two years from now.However, if you ask me how I am right now: I'm great. Thanks for asking. How are you?