27 Sep I am Enough by Christa Gallopoulos
I’ve struggled with feeling “enough” for most of my life. As a kid, I was told repeatedly that I was a mistake, a bad girl, that there were many, many things wrong with me. That I would never catch up, never fit in, never be pretty or good. That I was, thanks to acts committed against me at a very young age, ruined.
Being ruined by the age of six makes this being enough thing pretty challenging, you know…
And yet, somewhere inside of me, I knew the rest of my life wouldn’t look the same as it did back then. That I would move far, far away. That I would have a girl of my own and love her so much that she would know how good she was from day one. That I would meet a man and make a family and a new life and we would see the world together. Not happily ever after, not a fairy tale – a real life, with real people. People who would love me, and see all that I had always been. Somewhere inside, deep down, I knew that the family I was born into was just not able to know me, in any way at all. And even though it seemed like forever, it wouldn’t be.
And that not-fairy tale, real life ever after story? It came true. I am enough, more than enough, and the good inside of me sees the good inside of my family, my inner circle and the world. It’s all just as I knew it would be.
So how did I get from way back there to way over here? When did I figure out that I was enough, that we all are? I’d like to say that it didn’t happen overnight – and yet, despite years of therapy and all sorts of time spent Doing My Work, and the love and patience of many, it sort of did happen overnight.
Several years ago, I was sitting at my computer, playing the procrastination game and surfing YouTube. Not a usual practice for me, though I’m so glad I did. I came upon some time lapse videos – a phenomenon that fascinates me, so I clicked on one to fill the big desktop Mac screen and sat back to watch. I was expecting all kinds of action.
And there really wasn’t any. The video was shot in some place Out West, the center of the frame focused on the exterior of a filling station, the kind a bajillion miles from nowhere, the one that has the sign “Last Gas Station for 300 miles” out front. It was impossible to tell what day it was, or what time of year. Just a whole lot of red dirt and dust and the front door, one window, a beaten up sign and a bench out front.
It started at dawn, the morning light coming up behind the dingy white frame building. Before too long, three guys entered the picture from stage right, so to speak. They went in the store and came out, one at a time, with a can of Coke or a bottle of Gatorade in hand. I think one might have had a package of Slim Jims, too. And they sat on the bench. And they sat. And they sat.
Once in a while, one would get up and kick his empty can around, never venturing more than 25 feet from his starting position. Another guy would stand up, rearrange various parts of himself, then head back in the store to get another drink. A tumbleweed would occasionally go by and they might turn their heads in unison, watching it pass. One of them would dip into his chewing tobacco every now and then, and do the obligatory spit. The soda cans changed to beer cans at some point. A while after that, they all sat thigh to thigh on the bench, tipped their hats forward over their faces and dozed off. Then they woke up, one by one, and headed around back to relieve themselves, from what I could see. Then another tumbleweed would go by and they would watch it so intently that I expected them to lift up scorecards, just like judges at the Olympics.
That was it. The sun began to set, darkness crept in so gradually it was hard to notice, and they exited the screen the same way they came in. That was their day. All of it. I don’t think they even spoke to each other.
For a person who based her life on Getting Things Done, and Doing over Being, this was a revelation. I had no idea that it was even possible to spend an entire day in one place. That you could be sitting next to people and not converse with them. That watching tumbleweeds and drinking Coke and spitting could be enough for one day. Not a clue. And yet, I didn’t judge them harshly for it. I was actually rather impressed at their ease, at their level of comfort with doing absolutely nothing.
It stuck with me, and I didn’t even know why, until days later. And then it hit me. They were enough. Just being there, just showing up and sitting around was enough. And if they were enough – if that kind of day was enough for those three guys – then clearly, I was enough, too.
Somehow, this video of an alternative day in the Wild West turned a key in the lock. It changed my life. You never know where inspiration will come from, do you? And from that day on, I looked for signs of being enough and I took photographs. Thousands of them, over time, and I’m still at it. The bird sitting on the wire, the colorful leaf falling on the deep green of the hosta, the goose preening in the sun. They are all signs, there to remind me that just by being here, living this life, that’s enough.
We are all enough. We always have been. We just need to remember.
Christa Gallopoulos spends her days helping people remember who they truly are and guiding them towards bringing their gifts to the world. Her creative work can be found at www.CarryItForward.com, in the form of writing, photography, coaching and speaking. She is the founder and visionary at www.WomenHeal.org, a brand new collective where women can begin to heal themselves, each other and the world.