I am Enough from Karen Walrond

I am Enough from Karen Walrond

When I was young, I was told many truths about myself:

“Your hair is so thick and curly — it’s not good hair.  In fact, I’ve never seen such unmanageable hair!”

“Your lips are really huge.  You need to keep that in mind when you start wearing makeup.”

“You’re not an artist, silly girl.  You’re too analytical.”

“You’re far too sensitive.”

I was also a smart girl, a studious girl.  So I approached all these messages that I was receiving in the same way I approached my schoolwork:  I internalized them.  And I did whatever it took to fix them.

I spent decades cutting my hair completely off, or, if it was longer, using harsh chemicals to straighten it to within an inch of its life.

I carefully applied lipstick to the inside of my natural lipline, in muted brown colours in an effort to make their heavy shape optically disappear within my face.

I abandoned my artistic dreams in favour of more analytical pursuits.

I hid my tendency for tears that came far too easily under a snarky, cynical mask, honing a talent for testy, cutting humour.

For a long time, I had a really successful life, living this way.  I got good jobs, I traveled in popular circles, and I Looked The Part.  And then one day, I realized …

… I was exhausted.

Though on paper I appeared to have a good life, the truth was that I was positively miserable.  And so, in my usual studious and analytical form, I sat down and took stock of my life.  I tried to figure out what it was that was making me so unhappy, and how it could even be possible that i was unhappy, even though I Did Everything I Was Supposed to Do.  Then one day, it finally dawned on me:

I could not have been put on this Earth to work this hard at being an individual.

This concept felt like an epiphany, and yet I wasn’t sure what to do with this newfound knowledge.  I actually ended up thinking about this for several years:  how could I possibly change my life, especially in light of the fact that my youth had taught me that my individuality was so deeply flawed?

Then one day, I was talking with my friend Laurie, and she said to me words that changed my life:  “Create your own story.  Don’t let others create it for you.”

I thought about all the truths I’d been told about myself.

My hair is so thick and curly, it’s not good hair — but really, who gets to define “good hair”?  I decided it was up to me to define my own good hair:  I stopped cutting it and putting dangerous chemicals in it, and watched what happened.

My lips are really huge, I need to keep that in mind when using makeup — but maybe, large as my lips are, they’re designed perfectly for my face and my smile.  Maybe, when I use makeup, I should show them off accordingly.

I’m not an artist, I’m analytical — except maybe I am an artist, just not by the definition of those who have too narrow a definition of “art.”  Maybe there are ways to combine all my analytical training of my past with an exploration of new artistic mediums — not necessarily paints, but maybe photography.  And writing.  Maybe I can create a new art.

I’m far too sensitive — but maybe, if I use it for good and not evil, my sensitivity is actually my superpower.

It still remains to be seen whether my new outlook on life will bring me success, but if my happier, calmer state of mind is any indication, the prognosis is great.  Regardless, the upshot is that because of my new approach, I’ve become absolutely certain of one thing:

I am enough.


About Karen Walrond

Karen Walrond is a writer and a photographer, and the creative mind behind the website Chookooloonks.  Her first book, The Beauty of Different, will be published this fall by Bright Sky Press.

  • Cara
    Posted at 23:33h, 28 July Reply

    "Create your own story. Don’t let others create it for you." This should be my mantra, I tend to forget that I am in control and not let others take that from me. This was a beautiful post that many of us can completely relate to.

  • amanda
    Posted at 00:13h, 29 July Reply

    beautiful! and you are beautiful. one of my biggest goals is not to saddle my daughters with the baggage my mother bestowed upon me.

  • Kerry
    Posted at 00:59h, 29 July Reply

    *I’m far too sensitive — but maybe, if I use it for good and not evil, my sensitivity is actually my superpower.* I am going to keep this as a quote with your name on it Karen. I do feel that it is a superpower to be sensitive..not just about ourselves but our world around us. Its not a bad thing but a wonderful gift we give to those we love and those we come in contact with. Thanks so much for sharing it changed my thinking in some ways…

  • Lisa
    Posted at 03:56h, 29 July Reply

    Hands down, the best thing I read today. Really moving and inspiring.
    Also, I’m with Cara, "Create your own story. Don’t let others create it for you." defiantly words to live by.
    And one more thing, your book looks amazing, and will look even better in my hands! : )

  • meredith winn
    Posted at 04:20h, 29 July Reply

    love you karen!
    "my sensitivity is actually my superpower"
    (and i want that on a t-shirt)

  • Heather
    Posted at 05:14h, 29 July Reply

    Well, I’ve always wanted a superpower 😉 You are truly an amazing woman, Karen. I think your beautiful hair reflects your infection joie de vivre, and your lips are lush and sensuous. (And all that said, I am not trying to hit on you.) Of course, your most striking feature is your incredible heart. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Tamara
    Posted at 11:37h, 29 July Reply

    Wow, I didn’t know I had a superpower ….. and slowly, I’m writing my own story too. Thanks so much for sharing, I’m really moved. You rock, you gorgeous thing you!!

  • Surabhi
    Posted at 12:18h, 29 July Reply

    Simply beautiful!

  • marina
    Posted at 12:36h, 29 July Reply

    thank you Karen for this amazingly beautiful post, and thank you Tracey for having created this wonderful space.
    you are so beautiful, Karen. and you are enough! I am going to read and re-read this post to keep in mind your precious words. they are so inspiring for me in my own journey towards feeling that I am enough.
    and I want a t-shirt with "my sensitivity is my superpower" as well!!!

  • Kelly
    Posted at 12:40h, 29 July Reply

    Your outlook is inspirational. I too have "let go" and have been much more content with the new me. Perhaps wisdom does come with age. I sit back watching my sisters run themselves ragged, hoping they too will one day realize they need to do for themselves what their hearts tell them, not what others want / expect from them.

  • melissa
    Posted at 12:48h, 29 July Reply

    thank you for this gift today, karen…your story deeply resonates (also shedding ‘bad hair and too sensitive truths’ told to me) . and thank you tracey for the ‘i am enough’ collaborative, which has been a healing balm for my soul.

  • Leigh
    Posted at 13:21h, 29 July Reply

    It boggles my mind that someone could criticize things like your hair or lips. You are such a gorgeous woman! And your lips look just perfect on your face 🙂

    Beautiful essay and message.

  • elz
    Posted at 13:31h, 29 July Reply

    K, you are MORE than enough!

  • Jodi
    Posted at 13:47h, 29 July Reply

    Karen, you are lovely!

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams
    Posted at 14:14h, 29 July Reply

    "My sensitivity is my superpower" – love that. I’ve been told far too many times that I’m far too sensitive.

    You ARE enough and this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Phoe
    Posted at 14:22h, 29 July Reply

    Absolutely wonderful.

  • lu
    Posted at 15:29h, 29 July Reply

    oh, yes! This is on point. And, Tracey, I love, love, love, LOVE this thing you have going on here. Excellent.

  • chris
    Posted at 17:15h, 29 July Reply

    I am SO with Meredith – T shirts please! And your lips? Girl, those were the first gorgeous things I noticed about you and then everything else beautiful about you followed right along. You are simply awesome. You go girl!

  • hello haha narf
    Posted at 20:45h, 29 July Reply

    It breaks my heart that they very features I find exceptionally stunning in you, your gorgeous lips and beautiful hair, are the very same that caused you pain for so long. I hate that people, regardless of how allegedly well meaning, gave you negative views of yourself.
    On the same lines, I am thrilled that somewhere along the way you realized that you are enough. And then some!

  • Cindy
    Posted at 23:14h, 29 July Reply

    This is beautiful! I found my way here by Mer’s WouldaCouldaShoulda. I’m so glad I did. This reminds me of something that really touched my heart lately. I know we are all created individually by God, but I had never thought about the time that God took to actually go out of his way & make me who I am & what I look like. He purposefully made me the way I am. That just really hit home when I thought about it. Maybe this will help you some too. You are a beautiful writer & a beautiful woman!

  • Katrina
    Posted at 01:36h, 30 July Reply

    this is absolutely beautiful. THANK YOU!

  • ELK
    Posted at 02:51h, 30 July Reply

    thank you for the encouragement for women in this post ..you have said so much that we can all relate to

  • mati rose
    Posted at 03:29h, 31 July Reply

    Just what I needed to read right this moment. Your uniqueness is so beautiful. XXXX

  • NTE
    Posted at 13:50h, 31 July Reply

    How wonderful! It seems so much easier when other people say it, and so much harder to put into practice in my own life, but I’m hopeful, because of these kinds of stories, that it can really happen.

  • Jakki
    Posted at 18:31h, 02 August Reply

    wow. ‘create your own story. dont let others create it for you.’ powerful….

    you…in all your hair, your lips and your analytical thinking… are simply gorgeous…

  • Barbara
    Posted at 17:25h, 03 August Reply

    "My sensitivity is actually my superpower."

    Thank you for that.

  • o~girl
    Posted at 08:55h, 04 August Reply

    beautiful post….it touched my spirit. it IS exhausting trying to be someone else’s idea of you. I keep telling myself "the truth shall set you free"…but I’m having a hard time getting there.

    you are beautiful….thank you for sharing yourself.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 13:48h, 09 August Reply

    Thank you for sharing and for believing that sensitivity is a superpower. I have been told my whole life I’m too sensitive and weak- I love the new insight I have after reading your post. You made my day!

  • Priyamvada
    Posted at 17:15h, 26 October Reply

    "I could not have been put on this Earth to work this hard at being an individual."

    This is brilliant!

  • Jen
    Posted at 22:00h, 02 January Reply

    Thank you for your words, Karen. Only we can define our own beauty and truth.

  • kathy cooper
    Posted at 14:19h, 23 January Reply

    You have beautiful lips and hair and yes you are enough.

  • Louis Vuitton Outlet
    Posted at 07:35h, 12 June Reply

    There are also so many video uploading websites, and these as well give facility for distribution their videos, however I think YouTube is the finest.

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