Not Enough and Too Much
NOTE: So, it looks like somehow a very early draft of this post ended up in the RSS Feed distributor instead of this one. Weird. Oh well. Mistakes happen.
A few nights ago I got to do a really cool thing. It involved gathering around a beach fire, waves crashing around us, singing songs, anticipating the coming year, and choosing to let go of the things they haven't served us in the year we're leaving behind. It was a beautifully imperfect evening, gathering with the intention of burning the old and proclaiming the new. But we're not actually going to talk about the experience (though I will always chat about it if you want), I want to talk about the thing that I chose to throw into the fire.
The feeling of somehow simultaneously being both not enough and too much.
i know. I live my life as a walking contradiction.
We all have our not enoughs.
Not Good Enough
Not Thin Enough
Not Smart Enough
Not Rich Enough
Not Popular Enough
Not Attractive Enough
Not Happy Enough
Not Productive Enough
Not Strong Enough
This weeks fun manifestations of my anxiety is something that is so familiar to me that some days I wonder what I'd be without it. Like, seriously. The first time ever spoke to a therapist, I asked the him if it were possible that all I am is the sum of my anxieties because I was pretty sure we were gonna start peeling back layers and find absolutely nothing at my core. I was, of course, absolutely wrong and it turns out that I do have a real personality and core values, but I was afraid of not being human enough.
I am to this day afraid of not being stable enough. Emotionally. Physically. Financially. All the result of my growing up, but they're fears that are still very real in my daily life. I worry about things that are no longer as imminent as they once were in a way that doesn't lend me any real additional security. Food insecurity, the fear of homelessness, the fear of lost relationships and people I love walking away. This constant fear of impending doom is the result of living for many years feeling like I wasn't worth time, energy, or resources and anticipating the day that those around me would realize it and take leave. If it's happened before, it can happen again right?
But not in the good way.
Not " Oh my gosh you are too much!" 😂
More like "Oooooh, that girl is too much." 😬
What I've come to realize is that my fear of my not enoughs leads me to compensate. Sometimes over, sometimes just the right amount, but it's a game of compensation.
Example, I have a constant fear of not being seen as being put together enough to be taken seriously. Now, it's no secret that I self-identify as 'a little bit extra' and 'kind of a hot mess', but really, it's all the daily display of a grave fear of incompetence. So I try extra hard and try to point out my failures before others have the chance to notice on their own and pass judgement which makes me kind of intense. Too much.
I'm a pretty organized person, but it's not something that comes naturally for me. I mean, I love my systems and planning but the every day follow through and execution are things that I had to train myself to do. My fear of not being put together enough has led to me being kind of neurotic about my various spreadsheets and tracking documents (more on that later). And while my meticulousness often yields good result, I'm really self conscious about the way that those behaviors are perceived and affect those around me. Too much.
So, back to that beautifully imperfect evening. I threw my not enoughs into the fire. There were a lot of them to burn so it took a while. I took a sip of moonshine in to wash away the feeling of too much (this was a part of the activity, I was not drinking to make my fears and problems go away. That would be a very different blog post my friends). Now I'm standing in a place of trying to figure out what this next chapter of my life looks and feels like because despite what young adult novels will have us believe, burning slips of papers with my insecurities on them did not make those insecurities go away instantly. It simply signifies that going forward I'm going to work on doing things differently. While I'm not going to overwhelm you by sharin the spreadsheet that I made for tracking this progress(you may think I'm kidding), I promise to keep you updated.