I AM enough. YOU are enough. WE are enough.Aug 30, 2021
I am enough.
Watching mom get into the truck again. Knowing she is driving away from us, into the bottle, towards the smoke for yet another night or 2 or 3.
Me feeling like the common denominator in it all. My mom leaving us, my bio father leaving, and never getting whiplash as he drove away, not even a crane of the neck in the rearview. Driving away from an infant, me, leaving me with a woman so strong yet so incredibly weak and fragile, like a baby bird, she fled the nest too early, running from the empty, the pain, the voices that punished instead of listened.
Me, at the center of all the leaving. My mother, leaving for her addictions, leaving for the men, running from the hard that is raising children, and being a wife. Speeding away, gravel flying, cigarette lit, REO Speedwagon, or Journey blaring from the cassette player. “Take it on the run baby..” pops into my head as I type.
Me. Left. Abandoned, not worthy of love. Not worthy of time. A parents’ time and now, here in 2021, I sit a 42-year-old married woman, still vying for another’s time and attention. My own self worth so twisted, knotted, and frayed together beyond untangling. I could grab a lighter and set fire to the mess. Blow the ashes into the air or maybe the sea, either way, gifting myself freedom, releasing the grip that has made me feel small, insecure, unsure of my own worth. A grip that has choked my creativity, my motivation, my belief in myself and caused me to doubt my own self-love.
How do we do it? How do we I rise up, untangle the knots, wade through what feels impossible?
My self-worth is not my mother driving away. It isn’t all of those terrifying nights that my little brother and I lay in bed, startled by every sound, checking the door locks, the windows locks.
Something I have carried with me all of these years. I find it so hard to drift into the safety and surrender of sleep with the doors unlocked. As a kid, I desperately wanted to lock the door. I would place my hand on the lock (if the house we were living in at the time even had a lock) and tease myself. Lock-unlock-lock-unlock. If I locked the door my mother couldn’t stumble in, reeking of cheap cigarettes, rum, and Coke and sweat from another. If I locked the door, I also kept my mother and her dark depression, her hate-filled eyes, her words like swords, out of our home. I would tell myself that locks offered a layer of protection, shielding my little brother and me for maybe a moment. If all of the doors and windows could remain locked forever, maybe we would not hear them, the screams, the low-toned yelling, the bodies being grabbed and slapped. The rage that would explode when they were together would send my head under the covers or as I grew older, out of the house altogether. It felt like the adults forget they weren’t the only two people in the world. We call that emotional regulation now, in the therapy world, the healthy parenting world, the wellness world. There was no emotional regulation in the spaces that I grew up in. This was not a concept that was modeled.
Dysregulation, anger, lies, chaos, uncertainty, unhealthy, scary, lonely, neglect, unexpected, malnourished, welfare, food stamps, humiliation, unreliable, betrayal, those are words, adjectives, feelings, full-body sensations that come up for air when I describe my family, my childhood, the roots being ripped from the pot before ever being placed into healthy soil.
I am enough. I am not the sum of my mother’s past addictions and vices. I am not my biological father driving down Highway 95 41 years ago and not looking back. I am not stepfather number one and his choice to cast me to the side, after all, I wasn’t his anyway. 15+ years of being “dad” apparently meant different things to us both.
I am enough. I am not the men who leave. The men that choose fear over courage. The ones who blame the woman, blame the booze, blame the kid, blame the_______ fill in the blank. I have heard so many reasons/excuses these past 42 years as to why AND, it all gets to be there. To these humans, their story is theirs. It does not support me and my continued growth, I can not blossom while holding onto the hope, the expectation, or desire for things to be different.
Our journey is individual, it is uniquely ours. Their life path gets to be all theirs. Mine is my own. Yours, by your own design. For me, Whitney, the common denominator, used to be stamped in big, bold numbers. Today, it is a faint line that’s been erased so many times that there is a hole in the paper. Through that hole shines the brightest, whitest light. It is ME. My soul, my essence, my inner knowing. I harbor deep intelligence and crazy awesome intuitive wisdom. I am still here. I have survived 100% of my darkest, loneliest, days. As have YOU.
This morning when a single thread of I am not good enough and what if, started to weave into my being, the voice getting louder, what if I was thinner, maybe if my stomach was flat, what if I didn’t have this inherited red hair, what if I wasn’t splatter painted with freckles? I should have been more fun, complained less, used my voice more, asked for what I really wanted. Maybe I should have stayed quiet, not expressed my needs so often. What if I didn’t cry so much, didn’t feel so deeply? When the old stories started to play again, I said OH HELL NO. I dropped into a guided meditative breathwork session, I listened to the breathwork coach’s voice, soft, soothing, healing. I listened to the music. I inhaled my power, exhaled my unworthiness. I placed my hands on my beating heart. I felt my own breath. I felt my own power. I felt connection and strength to my own body, my wisdom, my togetherness, and my separateness.
I am my past. I am my hurt and the hurt I have caused others. I am fear and doubt, worry and stress. AND….I am the present, the joy, peace, and support I gift to others. I am fucking courage and strength, excitement, determination, passion, and love.
We get to be all of the things. We all carry weight from the past. We have that house that built us, whether it was on a crumbling fountain full of cracks or a beautiful, solid mountain of support, all of our parts get to exist.
Light work. Shadow work. Healing attachment wounds, inner child work, several different therapeutic modalities, hours upon hours in individual, couples, and family counseling, studying for years, and diving into the really scary world of higher education, are just some of the things I have spent decades researching, practicing, implementing, and integrating into my own world.
For me, the bright shiny, gold star of healing, growth, embodiment, and personal alignment has been BREATHWORK. Practicing different types of breathwork every single day allows me to turn the volume down on the past, the pain, the trauma, the inner critic. Breathwork allows me to blast the speakers on whatever song, from whichever playlist am feeling in that exact moment.
If you have stuck with me and are still reading, I want to invite you to gently place your hands over your heart space, inhale through your nose, a beautiful, full, relaxed inhale and then release through your mouth with a super relaxed, elongated exhale. Repeat again and again. Push play on the tapes within yourself that sing with clarity, I am enough. I am strong, capable, resilient. I am so worthy of love and time. I deserve to be seen, heard, valued, and appreciated. I am a gift. My love and my time are gifts and I get to choose with whom and when to share them.
I am enough. YOU, my love, are enough. WE are enough. XO