Like many other artists, I have wrestled with feelings of inadequacy. No matter how good I got at something, I never felt enough. Not good enough, not fast enough, not strong enough. Not enough. It wasn’t just what I believed I could do, or not do, but also how I looked. I never felt tall enough, pretty enough, thin enough. On and on it went. This belief affected many aspects of my life in a significant, negative way.
I became the self-assigned Queen of I Can’t. I can’t because I don’t think I can. This went on for decades.
What a shitty way to live.
My life took a turn for the worse when I got divorced many years back. My now-ex-husband found someone younger, taller, and prettier and he wasted no time dumping my sorry fat ass for her. Whatever self-esteem I had at the time died a painful death and I was left an empty shell, solid in my belief that I was Not Enough.
It wasn’t that I was pining for my husband or the life we had. In truth, we never did quite fit together. He wanted things that I had no interest in, and it was the same for me. He went fishing while I was stuck at the day job, doing work that had zero meaning. Depression became my constant companion.
This doesn’t make him a bad guy, nor was he responsible in any way for me being as miserable as I was. That’s all on me.
So when he left, I began a descent into a hell of my own making. I left a good job (that I hated), and started dabbling with various art forms. I’d already returned to writing and had recently gotten published, which was awesome.
My head was still in a very bad place, despite that accomplishment. My descent continued. I couldn’t find a job, and though my art was selling, it wasn’t enough to pay all the bills. I lost nearly everything. I lost things I loved.
There is nothing more terrifying than standing naked before God with nothing, really, to show for your time on Earth. I felt like I’d completely failed to be an acceptable human being.
I waited for God to give up on me and send me into nothingness, which is where I felt I belonged. I was a void on the planet. Emptiness. Meaningless. Useless. I wanted God to send me into nothingness because then I would be out of my hell. It would be a relief.
I didn’t get the release I was looking for. What I did get was people who thought I was worth saving. Friends let me stay with them, a server at a restaurant gave me a salad when I didn’t have enough money. Their belief that I was worth saving made me think that maybe I was. I didn’t know what they saw in me, but maybe I could find out.
That led me to the complete understanding that God was never going to send me anywhere or do anything to get me out of hell. Whatever I did, wherever I went, whoever I became, was going to be up to me. This understanding led to the realization that life must not be done with me. So I'm here for a reason. What is it? I decided I wanted to find out.
I got a job at Walmart. It was a far cry from my last job, but I was grateful to have it. Many years ago, Michael Gates Gill wrote a book called “How Starbucks Saved My Life”. He told the story of his own descent and how Starbucks offered him a chance to start again. Walmart did the same for me.
Thus began my ascent.