06:44 Here’s something weird. I live in a house with five other people (part of the time) and I feel alone.
Also, I never feel good enough.
The first part of that is only partially true. My two younger kids still care about what I think. My eldest two are teens. You know how that is.
The kids are all the light of my life, light of my life, light of my life. That much is true. As well as false. Just like everything else.
Anyway. Point being, the kids are not part of what I’m getting at, here. The kids are not my peers. The kids are my love, my life and my responsibility. They are my joy, much of the time; as in literally the only living part of it that brings me hilarity and purpose — purpose to try to be a better person, purpose to try to make the world a better place — and a reason to belly laugh multiple times daily (as well as sob helplessly inside, sometimes) — but if it weren’t them, I know (from that 30-year period before I started having kids) that I would have found something else to provide that deeper purpose. Before, it was animals, people less lucky, so on and so on.
“My god woman, do you ever get to the point.”
Funny thing is, that last sentence was meant to be a funny way of acknowledging that I have a point to get to besides whatever I was “blathering” about above; but funny thing is, that last sentence made me cry after I wrote it.
I don’t feel heard, in this house.
I don’t feel celebrated.
I don’t feel worthy.
I don’t feel good enough.
I never, never feel good enough.
And when I don’t feel good enough, I don’t feel good enough for not feeling good enough.
“What’s wrong with you? How can you feel that way? Do you even know how lucky you are? You have so much to be happy about!”
Perhaps those are the critical voices from my childhood.
And what voices do I hear now?
Well, not many, to be honest. I am very isolated here. Both by land and by language/culture. That’s partly my own happy choice and partly my own sad fault. But I grew up in an environment where judgement was constantly doled out. “That’s bad, that’s good” kind of judgement. “That’s not good enough,” kind of judgement. “That’s so good you’ll be famous one day,” kind of judgement.
I do NOT blame my parents. I mean that sincerely. Also, they are two very different people, so I shouldn’t lump them together. The point is, it’s just the way things are. We all have experienced this at some point in our lives. I know this. “Cry me a river.” My mom was told that, as a child, by somebody, somewhere. “I’ll give you something to cry about,” they said to her. But she was not abused. She grew up in a “happy home.” Just like so many of us. This is not a story of abuse; not at all. I am lucky.
If there’s one thing I don’t think I ever stopped hearing, it was about how lucky I was.
But see, that sentence isn’t good enough. It’s not true enough. There were so many things I didn’t stop hearing. So many good things. How beautiful I was, how smart I was, how talented I was. (No matter how average I was.) “What do you mean, ‘if there’s one thing’? We praised you to the hilt!” Yes. Praise and criticism. Praise and criticism. This was the way my mother brought me up. And, more unconsciously, though in many ways he was much more conscious (and in others, not), my dad as well.
My dad was the first love of my life. I remember when I was very little and just loving my family so much. I remember finding out about babies and marriage and all that and saying, I never want to leave this family! I want to marry you, Dad!
I know. That sounds weird. But it wasn’t like that. (See, not good enough.)
“UGH, will you stop saying that! You’re so annoying! And get to the point already!”
Yeah. Okay. So my point is, I had a “perfect” childhood. Like so many of us. Like I remember reading on Glennon Doyle’s “About” page some years ago.
“I had a relatively magical childhood, which added an extra layer of guilt to my pain and confusion.” –– momastery.com/blog/about-glennon/
It was slightly different back then — Glennon’s “about” page, I mean; but not much, and the message was the same. It was that message with resonated with me, though. That noticing of the fact that here was someone who had the same problem as me, in that regard: We had no one to blame. Except ourselves.
The funny thing is, I even *knew* I had no one to blame, from the moment I’d learned to understand words. Ah words, the great friend and enemy of my life. But my parents were just that good, that magical. They were so good, so perfect, that they even raised their “white privileged” kid (and now I’m using words from the modern era — this phrase was not used back then) to understand, with or without those words, that I had been born lucky. Loved, in an easy (though stolen! and thus very guilty-feeling!) country, in a beautiful place, in an easy middle class home, in a non-oppressed (not obviously, at least) section of community. I had it easy. My parents were not lazy parents. They worked very hard, seemingly endlessly in fact, first in the classroom, as dedicated teachers, then at home, teaching their kids, about equality, about the rest of the world, about other cultures. I simply cannot criticize them. Nor do I want to. Which is part of my problem and also part of my solution.
I was raised very, very conscientiously. I was raised to understand that if you are lucky, you don’t stand there revelling and gloating in your luck, gods know, No. You use your luck to help others. You never, ever stop helping others.
My parents don’t even know I have this blog.
If they did, I don’t think they’d even be proud of me. First off they’d be shocked that it’s about sobriety. Say wha??? “Making mountains out of molehills.” They’d see that I still whine. They’d see that I draw attention to negative stuff. They see that I complain about things I have no right to complain about. They’d see that I feel sorry for myself. They’d see that I verbally beat myself up. They’d see that I sometimes verge on verbally beating them, and others up. They’d see that I use “bad” language. They’d see that sometimes I leave off a period or a capital letter. I don’t think they’d realize that nine times out of ten, I am doing that last thing ON PURPOSE. Or that I’m doing that so I can continue living.
What is my point. What is my point. What is my point.
I should not speak if I don’t have a point. I learned that one from my husband. In the beginning of our relationship, it was stated point blank. Now he throws a blanket over it. Understandably. Who likes arguments? I was raised so perfectly that I was even taught to stand up for myself. That’s annoying of course. “You are like the buzzing of flies.” (Said jokingly, of course, in a Schwarzenegger accent, and in some other, lighter context; not during an argument. He’s perfect, you see. And of course, hilarious. Which are two reasons I married him. My fault. My luck. My good fortune. My conscientious selection process. I had lists. I’m not kidding. I knew what I was doing. At least so I thought. So did he). The technique is more of a stone wall now.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame him. I tend to ramble.
I know this is not good enough. I KNOW IT. But guess what? Glennon and countless other women have shown me that we can still try to say what we mean. We still have a right (thank god; and believe me I don’t take it for granted, and believe me I have left the capital “G” off of “god” on purpose) to say what we feel. In spite of the possibility of not being right. In spite of someone else not liking our feelings. In spite of the fact that they might find them annoying or not good enough.
This right, and the exercising of it, allowed Glennon to move past her inner demons, her magical childhood, her so-called wrongness, her guilt-filled self-harming in the form of eating disorders, alcohol and drug addiction, to do things like this:
My god. What we can do, when we love our “not good enough.”
Oh. I’m not done yet (I know. “Sigh.”)
I will be honest here: I never know how to sign things anymore. “Love? But that’s trite and overused! even if you mean it! or, “Love? but I might not get it back.” Or, “Okay. No Love. How about Sincerely? How about nothing?
The gods-honest truth is that I don’t freaking know, because I’m not perfect. And I’m sad inside right now. And I’m just bloody well broken inside right now. And I think I know why. It’s because I’m not good enough. That’s why I don’t know.
I don’t even know what my name should be. I was ridiculed for my birth name; it was long and weird-sounding (though my parents, of course, thought it beautiful, and I was named after my maternal grandmother, which is also beautiful). It was immediately shortened to a man’s name by some popular kids at school, and that stuck till I left school and went travelling. Then some guys in Spain couldn’t say that first half of my name and so I got them to call me by the second half of it instead of the first half and that stuck. Then I enrolled in university with that second half of my name and kept correcting people when they called me by the first half, and I’ve had that ever since. That second half I quite like, anyway. It’s meaning was, and still is, “hope.”
And last names? Don’t even get me started. My last name was weird also. Some kind of Scottish-English hybrid, supposedly invented by a sheep thief descendent of Rob Roy McGreggor or some such. (My mom’s was weirder. It was Dutch.) When I got married, yes I had a choice. Thanks gods for that. In Canada, even twenty years ago, you could keep your last name or take the one of your spouse, either the man’s or the woman’s. Gods bless Canada for that. Also, the civil ceremony was very civil. It spoke of circles of life instead of “God,” it used gender-aware language for its time, and it spoke about equality and not obeisance. We didn’t have to change a word. And we were married under the sky and the trees. We were everything to each other then. Both willingly, both thoughtfully, both lovingly, and both on purpose.
I chose his name, because we were basically like twins in some ways (no matter how much I complain about him. Well, I’m sure he could write a book about his complaints — though he never would—) and because I wanted us, meaning him and our hopefully-future-kids, to all be united in name. And because because because. So many becauses. Because he had his MOTHER’S last name. And because there were fewer left to carry on his name, in his family. And because I was superficial in some ways and I simply liked it better. So many reasons. Point is, I have name issues. I’ve always been obsessed with names. His name is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard, by the way. And people always think he’s Indian (east, if that need clarification, or I would have said First Nations if it wasn’t) when they hear it.
Anyway. Aside from the name, how does one sign off one one of these weird letters-to-self-and-anybody-who’s-listening? Love? xo? Nothing? Sincerely? Best? Love and light? Love and roots? No Love? No Being No Nonbeing? Namasté? Go With God?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that people are reading this and not acknowledging it. For whatever reason. I get that. I was that person, years ago. I remember judging the person doing the writing. “But, but, but.” “Not good enough.” Or just not wanting to show my face. Afraid of being not good enough myself. Or just busy.
Just know this:
If you’re judging, you’re hating yourself, along with whatever you’re hating in me. And/or hating me, along with whatever you’re hating in yourself.
And I am loving you anyway — enough to put this out there.
In that regard, and that regard alone, perhaps, I can hereby truthfully say,
“I am good enough.”
Me, under this great huge wide Tree.
(er… from wherever you are, that is. Right there is just perfect. lol.)
Image: My tree! Well not mine. But I like it. and it’s right here with me. Oh and the rope is for climbing it. Climbing, people, climbing!! It’s one of my/our kids who does that. He’s pretty cool.
“Me”/n/b/stl inhales mostly oxygen and exhales mostly carbon dioxide from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. If you wish to contribute and/or show appreciation, please “like” and/or comment — or send email via the contact page. Oh and feel free to protect your identity. I understand these things. Anonymity can give us the voice we didn’t know we had, or were afraid to use. But let’s try our best to use it for good. Thank you for reading. ❤︎