Becoming Enough

It has been about two and a half months since I last wrote anything on this blog. While I have missed writing, the time away, to be honest, was needed. My soul needed a break; to heal, to discover, to create, to figure out where to go next.

I took a blind jump with my decision to hide away. I had no idea if it would work or if it would make things worse. But back in June I found myself desperate. I was in a place of no hope, rapidly digging a deeper and deeper hole of which I saw no way out. It was dark. It was painful. It was terrifying. It was familiar, and it was that known factor to it that had me surrendering to calling that pit of shame and torment home – once again. As if I had not learned my lesson yet. As if there was still something left there for me to find. As if I did not know what the outcome would be.

Things were regressing quickly. This time around there was no easing back into the life I knew so well. I grabbed that badge engraved with the label I lived under for eighteen years and embodied it to the fullest. I dove in head first and nearly drowned. It is by God’s grace I am writing this today on the other side. And that life on the other side is what I want to focus on. I am not writing this blog to dredge up the past and essentially boast about how sick I got. I am not writing this to go into great detail about the behaviors I was using with the chance someone could read it and get tips on how to get sicker. I am not writing this to draw attention to who I was and pull the focus away from who God has given me the great privilege to be in this very moment. I am writing this to bring hope, to show it DOES get better, and to let my life be a living embodiment of the truth no storm can last forever.

So that brings me to the meaning of this blog; to share an experience I had over the weekend. One that opened my eyes to truly how far my mind, my body, and my soul have come in the past couple of months; a distance so easy to overlook. I live the life every day, following routine and going through the motions and in doing that I can so easily not pay attention to how much changes with each passing day. And not only what is different around me but what is different in me. All this time I thought I was just keeping myself above water, not realizing in keeping myself afloat that I was also swimming to a place in the vast ocean of life I have never seen before. A place of healing, of joy, of love, of freedom, of life.  I finally looked up on Saturday and saw the results of my many yeses I have uttered, my many tears I have shed, my many risks I have taken, my many days I devoted to being alive.

It did not come from some huge moment. Nobody would have even known anything was happening looking at me from the outside. It was an internal recognition felt by my heart and heard by my mind as I was sitting outside at Starbucks.

I actually had no intention of going there. My afternoon was originally planned to be spent at the gym. But as I was driving there my body was pleading with me to let it have a true day of rest. It took my mind about thirty-three minutes (right up until the very last second before I had to make the turn) to come in agreement with it. The concept of listening to my body is still a strange one to me. I spent a majority of my life allowing my mind to speak over it, intentionally ignoring its needs, and berating it for even having a voice so to not only let it speak but follow what it says is a work in progress. I fail at it often. It sometimes takes me a while to finally say yes to it. Occasionally I will feel guilt when I give it its rightful place to be heard. But that is all okay. This journey has never been about perfection. It has been about transformation. It does not matter how long it takes or how many attempts I make. What matters is that I am growing and learning with each opportunity to help move me forward.

But I digress. That was a bonus word of wisdom for all of you 😊.

So, as I was enjoying my iced coffee at my usual patio table, I found myself in tears. The kind that slowly well up right to the brim of your eyelids and fall with an almost serene gentleness down your cheek. Those are always the ones I know for which were hard fought. The ones I know hold a story. A story with such depth you wish you could put the tear under a microscope to see what it holds; the lessons you learned, the battles you fought, the fear you faced, the joy that reintroduced itself to you. Those are the tears that are formed from pain but fall from purpose. And the purpose in that very moment being the realization that I was enough.

It is a term I have been longing to claim for as long as I can remember. A way of being I have fought to become. But it seemed like no matter what I did I could never reach it. No matter how much weight I lost, no matter how good my grades were, no matter how much I changed to fit the wants of others, no matter how perfect I tried to live my life, enough was never a word I could speak over myself. I was like a dog chasing its tail. Tirelessly, endlessly, relentlessly chasing after it. I could see it but could never get close enough to grab it. After the trials of this year, I began to settle in the belief that possessing it would be an impossibility.

See, I found myself in a position where I was apologizing a lot to someone for not being enough – and I don’t mean a handful of times. It was a frequent occurrence. And what we don’t realize is that the more we apologize for who we are, the more we begin to truly believe in why we are saying sorry. It becomes our truth that we really are not enough, that we really are too flawed to be loved, that we really are unworthy as we are. What starts as a mere seed of self-doubt gets watered with each apology, growing like a weed into the crevices of our minds and eventually, if we do not stop it, wrapping itself around our hearts. Everything we do, every word we speak, every decision we make becomes centered around our truth that we are not enough. Not being enough = unlovable, undeserving, flawed, broken, shameful. We live with our head down, our voice a whisper, hiding from the world too scared to be seen as we are.

What did that mean for me? It meant that I had a reason to scar and starve and punish this body. It is very easy to destroy what I live in when I believe I am not worth the space it takes up. To not be enough was my evidence that I deserved the way I spoke to myself, that I warranted letting dreams pass me by, that I was deserving of the way people treated me. Returning to torment and suffering does not even become a question. It is an automatic response. It is the only logical way of life. And it was the life I chose to live for many months.  

Once I removed myself from that situation and assessed where I was physically, mentally, and emotionally (all were in pretty rough shape which I am intentionally downplaying for the sake of healing), I established rather quickly what my first large goal would be: to discover my enough and when I did, to live in it. 

So, I made a list of qualities that symbolize "enough" to me. Not based off what an ex-boyfriend thinks I should be. Not based off what family believes I should be. Not based off what society tells me I should be. Not based off what my former self thought I should be. The surest way to lose your self-worth is by trying to find it through the eyes of others. This list was based off one thing; what God tells me I am. My enough is when I align with how He created me. That means…

  1. I am fearless. I take risks that defy the rules and restrictions that once bound me. I have abolished the concept of a comfort zone.
  2. I am redeemed. My mistakes do not define me. My past has no hold on me. What has been lost in the battle over the years is being restored. Nothing about my body or my life depicts where I once was.
  3. I am worthy. To be loved, to be seen, to be heard, to take up space. I do not need to prove my worth or fight for what is given freely.
  4. I have a sound mind. Obsessions, fears, thoughts of could haves and should haves do not fill this brain. I can sit in the present moment without guilt over the past or anxiety over the future. I have learned the true definition of peace – a state of tranquility and quiet free from disturbances.
  5. I am in harmony. My body, mind, and heart are aligned. One will honorably yield to the other for the sake of the common goal. They have no need to yell to be heard. They no longer need to fight to earn their place. Each one is respected, loved, seen, and valued equally.
  6. I am transformed. I do not live as who I once was. I am free to laugh loudly, love deeply, live boldly. I have no limits, no boundaries, no walls. I have no shame in who I am and what I stand for. I have no anxiety to live as the woman I have fought to become. I am whole. I am healed. I am alive.

That being said, let me take you back to that table at Starbucks. The realization slowly crept in as I sat in the silence alone with myself that I was all those things I listed. After many hard fought battles and days of darkness I thought would never end. After an over eighteen year war within my head that left my body and my soul scarred as they became the battleground. After spending most of my life living as an inauthentic copy of who I was meant to be created out of fear and punishment, I had FINALLY become my enough. And not only had I become it, but I loved who I was in it. I was proud of who I was. I could not wait to live this life in recognition of my worth.

I sat there in wonder over how I let those feelings of self-acceptance go unfelt for all those years?!? Because, goodness, I have no words for how beautiful life became when they graced my soul. Joy overflowed as I felt the weed that had taken over get ripped away. My heart could breathe again; beating with such enthusiasm and excitement. My mind could see again; see the colors and the light that cover this world. My soul could move again; dance in pure bliss and run towards the dreams waiting to be grabbed. Every part of me came alive. I was reminded why life is worth living – for these moments when all the prayers I prayed that the pain would have purpose come to pass.

And I have a feeling this was just a mere glimpse of what is to come…

J.L.