30 Aug i am enough from laurie white
Enough Not Enough
Not enough is old news and a scar. Words flew out of unkind mouths, blew through my ears, and took root in my heart — the strongest kinds of weeds with seeds strong enough for decades of growth through bone and concrete.
Not enough’s strength lies mostly in the repetition. It’s a strong story, all worn grooves and familiar rests, a constant apology and a fear of asking, not for more, but for anything. Not enough lives best in excuses and backtracking, in evaluating efforts as inconsequential, in never wanting help, in expecting hurt, and hurting, besides.
Not enough is regret, and a collection of terrible ideas.
You talk too much and the words are wrong. Forget not pretty enough, not quiet enough, you’re not quiet enough for not pretty enough. You’re not with anyone. You didn’t birth anyone. Your not enough is your messes and mistakes, your painful desire to belong, your bank account, your always-running-late, your too much everything else.
My voice tells not enough really well. It’s a problematic shape-shifter of a story that likes to hang out here because I’ll let it, and after decades of cohabitation it’s difficult to kill.
Not enough never feels like a decision.
Enough feels like newer news, but it’s really not. It’s a memory of the earliest, tender time before outside editors took red pen to me, caret marks and underscores and lower case slashes. Listening for it means reaching back across decades, searching ancient pictures for unscarred, imperfect smiles, erasing and rewriting and erasing and rewriting again. It’s the memory of the message from people who created me and cared for me first that I was so much more, that I did not come up short, that I was made for good.
Enough has since read books and gone places. It’s fun to talk to and an excellent dancer. Enough helps you and has answers and doesn’t push for airtime. It is a safe place. Enough says no and it apologizes and means it when it should.
Enough hears you. Enough knows you love it — it actually really believes you, sometimes, and at other times wants to so badly that it’s almost possible. It may be the voice that struggles for traction against the fingers in my ears, the evidence that not enough is mostly old news, but it’s there.
Enough is my ocean, and the sky over houses that I love. It means making photographs and dinners and communities. Enough is quiet conversations in classrooms and my favorite people and my better self. It’s the sun shining through the windshield on an unfamiliar highway, wheels spinning underneath, a perfect song on the radio, and promise. It’s rambling on, and remembering the best of where I came from, the deep, wide expanse of good.
Enough is the story I’m creating now. It’s something that I always hope will stay.
Laurie White is a writer, editor, photographer, and blogger with a deep love for story, community, and the internet. Find her online at LaurieWrites, and on Twitter @lauriewrites.