It always starts and ends the same. Not enough. I am not enough. It is not enough. That was not enough. It was never enough to gain the one thing I wanted, but could never quite attain. Approval, maybe. Acceptance, perhaps? Love, for sure. But, I think maybe the calming hush of everything just being okay. But it was never enough. That’s the problem.
It’s a problem I set out to solve, in the gaping holes in my reflection. I couldn’t stand who I saw staring back at me. Failure, worthless, fat, and ugly. Not enough to ever be worth a damn. I tried to escape the truth staring back at me by forcing love anywhere I could find it.
I tried to escape the nots and the enoughs with anybody, as long as it wasn’t me. It didn’t matter; it stuck with me like garlic breath at the wrong time with the wrong person. That acrid taste, as your tongue is where it wants to be, even though it’s awful. You wish for a mint, and in my case, that mint would be sanity.
Or maybe that calming hush of everything just being okay.
Not enough became my mantra. Nothing was ever quite good, as long as I was associated with it. It was a ladder that never ran out of rungs, and a hole that has more bottoms than I ever knew I could hit. It seemed like a dare – whenever things couldn’t get worse, I’d prove myself wrong. It wasn’t enough. It seemed like a challenge, whenever things couldn’t get better, I’d prove myself deficient. All the rights were wrong because I simply was not enough. Worlds have been invented in the struggle to leave wounds untended. It doesn’t matter the who, where, when, what, or why behind the eyes. Every ounce of misery has a pound that’s not enough.
Penance only works if you forgive yourself. But when is forgiven if “not enough” is your trademark? As the holes grew deeper, things began to shift. Enough is enough? Began like a soft whisper that would one day become a deafening roar. I was too old to play the victim, and hindsight finally taught me that I will only ever receive what I ask for.
When your outstretched hand is a clenched fist aimed at your own jaw, asking for help seems impossible.
When your jaw is wired shut by your own silence, is enough actually enough?
How many times can someone set themselves ablaze before they have to call themselves an arsonist?
As diagnoses and medications piled on like sumo wrestlers in my skull, there was a quiet hush. I was not okay, but at least I had stopped the descent into madness, or so I thought. More often than not, I couldn’t tell if I was climbing or falling. All the while, my mantra played on, and the memories spilt into my present.
The past can only be gone if you leave it there.
You cannot solve a problem if you label yourself as the problem, because you’ve removed yourself from being the solution.
The problems I believed I was became the very corridors wherein I lost my mind. The gaping holes in my reflection began to scream. The cracks had become chasms, but reflection and reality were one and the same all along. It doesn’t matter how many smiles I hide behind, and it doesn’t matter how many prayers ring hollow in my loveless heart. Behind every “not enough” was love denied. Love denied until it’s easier to deny than be denied. I may have been taught the message, but it didn’t mean I had to become the messenger. Or did it?
How can someone learn when enough is enough if they do not know how much enough is? Not enough must likewise teach just enough.
How can love be requited if it hasn’t known absence?
How can anyone know sanity if they haven’t gone insane?
How can anyone know perfection without solving problems that can’t be fixed?
When the fingers of blame pointed backwards to the thumb of me, the lies faded away entirely.
Sometimes, we need to remember we’re the only ones telling ourselves to climb the ladder. We’re the ones clinging so hard it hurts. Our pain and our secrets are never hidden. They meet us in every handshake, every kiss, and every word you speak in silence. In the world you think is hidden from your reflection, but is actually your reality.
Sometimes sick actually means “Sick of it”. Sometimes depression can teach you happiness. Sometimes anxiety teaches you calm. Sometimes bipolar teaches you balance. The greatest teachers have the ugliest faces, yet the most familiar reflections.
I finally learned I am enough. I always was. I always will be. When that truth replaced the alphabet soup of my mind, the quiet hush of everything being okay nestled in. The ladders and holes were replaced by the contentment of now. Where my yesterdays have eaten mints, and now is the embrace of a lover whose tongue I cannot taste enough.
I hope the same is true for you.