Saturday, June 15, 2019

I am Enough, Part One

I am Enough
Part One

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.

Friday, June 14, 2019

I am Enough, Part Two

There should be some kind of reward for surviving hell.

I managed to get an apartment. It was old and very vintage. I loved it. Little by little, I got furniture for it, mostly from Craigslist. When I was married, I had contemporary furnishings, and my colors were always neutral or soft and warm.

Fuck that.

I'd been in hell for a while. There, I lived with a very uncertain future. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was determined to lift myself out of the mire I'd fallen into. I wanted a better life for myself, one I created from what I wanted. Just me.

I accepted that I needed to live an authentic life, that I was okay just as I am, proud to fly my freak flag for all to see.

What that meant for me was that I needed to stop saying "I can't", because maybe I could. Maybe I could do more than I believed. I wanted to find out. So, I did. As time passed, I learned that I was right. My confidence rose, as did my sense of self-worth.

My new colors were blue and purple. My furniture was eclectic, and I painted a lot of it to add my own unique signature. They became my wonderful creations and I loved them all. My space now is uniquely me, perfect for the insane bohemian I've become.

It took years of continual work on myself to heal old hurts, to become stronger, more confident in my abilities, and happier. I still have moments, and my heart is still broken, but my days are better.