Before my last blog post I had not written for over a month because, most of the time, I do not think I am good enough. I am in a rather constant battle with myself over this, in fact. I do not think this is good enough to be a blog. And then I do. And then I don’t. My words, I fear, are not worthy of making it from my mind to the screen or from the screen to others’ minds. I seek to edit myself, no, to censor myself before you can—because I am too sure that you will.
It makes sense, though, really, that I very often believe that I am not good enough for a blog (and definitely not good enough for an article or a book!). It also makes sense that I often fear I am not a good enough mom. It makes sense because I was not good enough to question my treatment at the hand of my ex, or my treatment in his world of words – more appropriately.
What I mean to say is that I know that part of me knew that my ex’s treatment of me was not ok, but I accepted it in spite of what I knew because I didn’t deem myself worthy of something better, something else, someone else, really, worthy to demand, to demand, to demand to be let to be me and to be loved as me.
So, that I don’t write (or am fearful of sharing what I do write) because I do not feel good enough is no surprise. It is part and parcel of the whole abuse story. Complex and simple. Straightforward and obscure. But I am making myself write, now (even as I tell myself this is lame) because that same part of me that knew that the mind games and chill in my home with my ex were not ok, that same part of me believes, knows, believes, knows, knows that I am good enough. And if I don’t believe it yet, perhaps if I keep making myself say it and write it, eventually I will believe it.
It is a struggle, though, every day. But, I am not writing this for you. No, I am writing this for you … but I am also writing this for me. And, it is, it must be, it needs to be good enough.
Maybe to be good enough is to be here, to be alive, to be alive to be a mother, to be alive to type, to think, to speak, to be alive—to show up, right?
I was thinking about this because the new US Poet Laureate for 2012 was announced: Natasha Trethewey.
“Natasha Trethewey began writing poems after a personal tragedy. While Trethewey was a college freshman, her mother was killed by a stepfather Tretheway had long feared. ‘I started writing poems as a response to that great loss, much the way that people responded, for example, after 9/11,’ she told The Associated Press. ‘People who never had written poems or turned much to poetry turned to it at that moment because it seems like the only thing that can speak the unspeakable.’”
For a while I thought it was, not enough, more than enough and more than good, just to be alive. To be alive. To have survived an attempt on my life, a serious, intentional attempt. To have fought, struggled, and lived. It felt … transcendent … amazing … empowering. But, as time passed, so did the feeling.
I do not feel better, by the way, than the poet laureate’s mother, for having survived. Only luckier. Not stronger, just fucking lucky. Lucky, but damaged. Damaged by that night. And damaged by the ten and a half years that preceded it.
I am not a perfect mom and I never feel that I try hard enough to be, to be that, to be perfect. I am so far from perfect, though, that this paragraph feels laughable. Sigh. So, I wonder, what is it to be good enough? What does that mean?
Trethewey’s loss was…unspeakable. Her mother lost the opportunity to show up.
I carry guilt. Lots and lots and lots of guilt. It is an incredible weight, a burden. I know I am not alone in this. I know guilt weighs many of us down. I know that. But it does not make any singular burden any less, that knowledge.
So now I try to show up and to bear witness. I hope that is good enough.