I am Enough from Deb Rox

I am Enough from Deb Rox

Do you ever notice that the shadows you thought you left behind creep back up on you, into you, weave into your muscles and synapses, camp out for the night beneath your shoulder blade or in the hollow of your hope, darkening the space between your fingers and toes, making smoky rubble fires everywhere they travel, making it hard to breathe? 

It can take me a long time to realize when this has happened again: I’ve had a lifetime of practice bearing weight of all kinds.  This is both a good and a bad thing, a strength and a danger. When I do finally notice, I do the things that work to tamp the shadows, to snuff their wicked wicks. 
One of the things I do is to head to the Gulf Coast.  I swim out past the turquoise, I give myself wholly to the deep water and I let the waves knock and carry me.  It’s amazing to defy gravity, to completely lose your footing in the ocean, to feel your head fill with salt water, to wonder if you’ll make it to dry land.  When I need demons kicked free I let the waves almost drown me until I come up sputtering, defiant for air, violently refusing the murky land below, insisting upon sun, spitting out all of the foul water and snot and doubt and shadows. 
Almost drowning helps me breathe again.
I moved to the Gulf Coast years ago in my early 20s, baby boy on my hip, a defiant traveler looking for a home away from the family that hurt me, from the people who thought they knew me enough to think I wasn’t enough.  I couldn’t shake those shadows easily, or entirely. Bruises still bloom and blood brought on by belt buckles still bubbles to the surface, in new ways, decades after the original strikes. 
It hasn’t helped that as a lesbian I’ve encountered walls of people who think I shouldn’t exist, shouldn’t love, shouldn’t marry, shouldn’t have children.  Or maybe it has helped; survival is a strength and a danger, it’s hard to truly know where one wave ends and another begins.
What I do know is that I’ve proven that I can defy gravity.  Swim, float, tread water, fly through the air like a lunging dolphin, it’s all possible, even as a heavy mammal in a big sea, even while pulled by an undertow.
I’ve fought long and hard to become as much like the grasses that thrive in salt marshes as I can bear.  They can tolerate salt and sun that would melt hothouse flowers.  Their roots amazingly hold firm in insubstantial ground, in mud and in sand, their hollow strands asking for little.  When in doubt, each blade and reed bends with the wind.  In their survival, they end up protecting miles and miles of land, but each plant isn’t bound or weighted by that imperative. Each plant just wants to make it through the day.
I wish I could say that it doesn’t matter that people don’t think I am enough.  It still can suck the oxygen straight out of my lungs to think that strangers gather in meeting halls, speaking hate about how I betray their bigoted sensibilities with the way I live my life, or that my own family might whisper over holiday dinners about my testament against the power of their secrets.   
Still, I refuse to host those smoky shadows.  They are out as soon as I notice they’ve found their way back.  Because I am enough.  Forgetting that is letting the dark waves full of sand and salt displace oxygen and do gravity’s dirty work.  But I swear I have had lots and lots of practice in the art of almost.  I know how to surface like a spring. I will always insist upon a clear view flooded with sunlight. I push towards blue skies. I defy grafity and turn salt into air. I am. Enough.
About Deb Rox
Deb Rox is a mother, writer and business consultant. She hopes someday to have the cake to be a Medici-style patron of the blogging arts because she just freaking loves it, and doesn’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface of the brilliant potential of social media. Deb blogs at Deb on the Rocks, Tweets way too much, welcomes newbies to blogging through 5 Ways to {Blank} Your Blog, and is an Entertainment & Pop Culture Contributing Editor for BlogHer.  Bio image courtesy of Mishelle Lane.
    Posted at 16:01h, 18 May Reply

    And while describing your encounters with sink-or-swim you have given the rest of us the gift of your buoyancy.

  • Julie Pippert
    Posted at 16:56h, 18 May Reply

    I am glad you *are.* This was lovely, and such a reflection of why. I also want you to have the cake to support the arts like a Medici.

  • Mom101
    Posted at 17:00h, 18 May Reply

    This takes my breath away Deb.

  • Cecily
    Posted at 17:01h, 18 May Reply

    This is one of the most beautiful posts ever written. I can’t say it surprises me, though, knowing Deb the little bit I do. She’s a soul that is pure shining beauty, and I consider myself astonishingly lucky to have her in my life.

  • amy2boys
    Posted at 17:49h, 18 May Reply

    Love this. Beautifully written. (I totally full on hugged you at Blissdom and you didn’t know who I was and I maybe sort of freaked you out? Sorry ’bout that girlfriend, but I was excited to see you!)

  • Mr Lady
    Posted at 18:39h, 18 May Reply

    You know what, Deb? You confirm ALL of my sensibilities. I’ll be your shadow, sister.

  • maggie, dammit
    Posted at 19:27h, 18 May Reply

    Good God, I love you.

  • jane
    Posted at 19:31h, 18 May Reply

    beautiful! you are entirely cakeworthy!

  • meredith winn
    Posted at 19:52h, 18 May Reply

    your words seep strength and power. "almost drowning helps me breathe again." that is so right on. i really get that. thank you.

  • Laurie
    Posted at 20:51h, 18 May Reply

    Your push towards blue skies makes all the difference. Your friendship and your belief in me have been unexpected blessings. You deserve everything good. You are one of the best people in the whole world, hyperbole girl says without any. Much, much love.

  • mindy
    Posted at 22:47h, 18 May Reply

    a very powerful post. thank you for sharing.

  • sweetsalty kate
    Posted at 01:47h, 19 May Reply


  • muskrat
    Posted at 16:31h, 19 May Reply

    Nice, Deb—and I like the picture from New Orleans. A great place to be you.

  • Secret Agent Mama/Mishelle
    Posted at 20:34h, 19 May Reply

    I’ve read this about fifteen times, Deb, and each time it makes me feel something new.

    I love you Deb. You are enough.

  • Boston Mamas
    Posted at 20:14h, 20 May Reply

    Brave and moving and beautiful Deb. I feel grateful to know you. -Christine

  • Niri
    Posted at 01:08h, 21 May Reply

    You are not just enough, you are more than enough. Even when we try for the words to not hurt, when they have no right to be said, they still make us sad. If we keep saying that we deserve more – we will get back to believing it too.

  • lifeineden {amy}
    Posted at 11:23h, 21 May Reply

    wow. our experiences are so very different, but your words resonate so strongly. so very beautifully written.

    (ps – wishing you lot of cake and glad to meet you!)

  • katherine center
    Posted at 04:15h, 25 May Reply

    Oh, my god. BEAUTIFUL.

  • Jenna/The Word Cellar
    Posted at 18:48h, 25 May Reply

    This is a beautiful post. Beautiful writing, beautiful imagery, beautiful message, beautiful you. And powerful, too — all of it.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 11:38h, 29 May Reply

    This is beautiful, but spiritually profound…God loves those that sin…Jesus carries your burdens. he has scars just as you do to let you know you are not alone. Lesbian as you are….sinner as I am..Jesus has carried all my burdens away..Abuse, neglect and horrible things I have done.. His love for me has made me whole and who I am.I hope you one day find Him for you or He finds you which is usually the case. When I feel Him it is as if I am drowning and he has breathed new life in me. Love this writing of yours, you are beautiful.

  • Rachel - Southern Fairytale
    Posted at 20:47h, 31 May Reply

    Deb is so amazing.
    I’m so glad that you shared this, it’s wonderful.

  • Lynn
    Posted at 15:23h, 15 September Reply

    What an amazing piece of art-flying-on-the-wings-utopia! Owsome! 🙂

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