I am enough.
Even if the people I love are not always happy.
Even if I still don’t know how to balance a checkbook or save money or pay my bills on time.
Even if I never lose this last twenty pounds.
Even if I don’t know what to do about my problems.
Even if I am incredibly hard on myself.
Even if my house is a mess.
Even if I cannot get it through my head that I am dearly loved.
Even if I’m paralyzed with indecision.
Even if I don’t understand.
I am enough.
It’s difficult for me to say this, because I’m still hoping I’ll get it all right. I’m still holding out for that miraculous day when I will understand once and for all what it means to live in this moment, and I will know how to behave so that everything turns out all right. I hate to consider that perhaps that day is not coming, and that I will have to move forward as I am right now.
Imperfect, tender, strong, mistaken, fragile, worried, flawed, beautiful.
This is who I am and who I will always be. I may become a little bit more or less this or that way, but essentially I will be the same. I will be myself–a girl who desperately needs to be loved exactly as she is–even if for all of her punishing and exacting efforts, she never gets much better than she is right now. A woman who has no idea what to do but who gives her whole heart and cannot bring herself, despite the odds, to stop trying.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve mastered the art of being my own dear self, that I’ve made peace with the truth of my imperfection, but that would not be the truth. Everyday I wake up and wonder if I can be loved for who I really am. And everyday I pick up the phone and ask the same question, over and over again, to the dear souls in my life who love me enough to keep answering.
If I stop giving, if I stop trying so hard, if I stop helping, do you think I can still be loved? Just for being myself?
No matter how many times I ask, I always forget the answer (like someone with short term memory loss in the movies who has to make sense of her life over and over again) but the other day a friend from a faraway told me this in little bits of broken English, and for some reason I haven’t forgotten it yet.
People who love you, love you.
And people who don’t, don’t.
There’s nothing you can do to stop love.
You are enough.
I don’t know how long this thought will last in my mind, but for now I’m hoping it’s the God’s-honest truth.
That love never dies.
That love cannot help but keep leaning towards you.
That the most radical thing any of us can ever do is find the courage and the forgiveness to choose to love our own damn selves the way we love others–even if we do so imperfectly.
Even if we can barely believe, that just a little is more than enough.
About Jen Lemen
Jen Lemen uses photography, storytelling and cross-cultural friendship to explore the power of dreams and the essence of hope. Her current projects include Mondo Beyondo, an online class about dreaming big, and Picture HOPE, a global photography assignment that carries her around the world finding stories of radical trust and remarkable courage. A chronic doubter and aspiring mystic, Jen is learning what it means to be vulnerable and brave, fragile and strong–all at the same time. Jen is currently co-leading the Mondo Beyondo Summer Dream Lab–an eight week experiment in rest, play and the power of kindness.
Featured photo courtesy of Stephanie Roberts.