Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in- Leonard Cohen
Dearest Wee Bee,
You are always enough. We are all, always, “just right” enough. Not too much; not too little; not fumbling around in the dark, grasping for something, anything, to fill up the hole, the ache, inside. Just…enough, exactly as we are.
I used to think I needed to be Extra-Super-Amazing-Woman: mother; sister; daughter; friend; partner; teacher; educator; public speaker; workshop facilitator; thriver post-ED; PhD candidate (*you knew that was coming, didn’t you? Because my grief and subsequent finding my way through the loss of this PhD is fueling this post)…I used to think I needed to do all that and bake both gluten free cookies and muffins and pickle my own vegetables that I grew in my garden, just to be somewhere close to enough. And did I mention the perfectly organized home complete with painting or personalizing every single piece of furniture inside of it that I rescued off the side of the road? (And carried home by myself, bruising my legs along the way).
Honestly, Zoe Bee…who cares except me? Does anyone love me any more or any less if I pickle vegetables that I bought from a regular grocery store (or even if I pickle the carrots and celery in the first place)? If my floor has crumbs on it, or my bookcase is solidly and clearly IKEA with no extra hacking, or I don’t finish a PhD that has served me well but served me all it can, the world will not end, and I will still be enough.
The truth is, I have always been enough. You have always been enough. We all come into this world enough, and somewhere along the way we begin to believe the tall tale that we are not, will never be enough, unless…
Unless we have perfect skin and bouncy shiny hair, polished nails and a stereotypically enviable body
Unless we bake the refined-sugar-free-gluten-free birthday cake from scratch and decorate it with homemade candied violets
Unless we own our own mansion of a home
Unless we craft everything inside of that home ourselves at a Pinterest-worthy level
Unless we grow our own vegetables from seed and pickle them ourselves
Unless we handle every situation with complete ease, confidence and poise
Unless we stick with the PhD that no longer rings true simply because we mistakenly believe those letters after our name will make us worthy, somehow
Don’t get me wrong, my dear girl: I love baking and pickling and painting (especially furniture and walls). And I have to admit to enjoying the feeling of crumb-free floors under my toes. I loved my PhD while I was working away on it, and I am an avid Pinterest fan. But no amount of achieving, and certainly no amount of over-achieving, is ever going to fix that perceived hole.
Because it’s not a hole. It never was. It’s a crack, where the light streams in. Or maybe it’s something more: maybe, just maybe, it’s a crack that lets our light out into the world.
Maybe in our Enoughness, in those moments when we buy cupcakes to bring into school for the Valentine’s Day party or dance all over the crumbs on the kitchen floor or feel shaky and a bit unsteady at first in navigating one of life’s twists or turns, maybe it is in those moments that our true light shines out, making others feel like they can be Always Enough, too.
Own the Enoughness, Zoe; just as you are.