is it enough?
I often struggle with imposter syndrome, that pervasive feeling of not being good enough. But good enough for what?? For who? How much does it cost to be good enough? What is this unnamed price I’m putting on my own forehead, holding my self worth for ransom until I meet my own demands.
2020 gave me, and I would argue the world, the opportunity to reflect on what those demands are. Are they fair? Where do they come from? What are they asking us? As the world stood still the importance of what we build our lives around began to be called into question. Who are we spending time with, how are we spending that time because shit, time is precious. And has everything in life just become a game of buying and selling?
While helping others to stay alive in the ICU my boyfriend started to chip away the edges of what living meant to him. Before the lockdown reached its fevered pitch we took a walk around the shuttered city. What was left to do now that shop windows were dark, theaters, museums and cinemas closed? It seemed as if all life's pleasures up until this moment had been spent on things you needed to well... spend money on. “I feel trapped” he would tell me after another long day at work. Back and forth, home to work, work to home. This is the river. This endless cashflow that capitalism tells us is the only measure of worth.
But as the river stopped running the world over what did it leave us with? What did we have left and was it enough? How could I define myself without that? How could he? If we as a society learned to give value to living in a currency different than cold hard cash, what would that look like?
So I wrote a song.
A song about capitalism and the crashing emotional economy within my boyfriend and myself. Because isn’t this how life goes. As soon as you think you’re in a stable financial position a pandemic happens, the economy crashes, a loved one dies or sometimes all three. You’re left whirling, redefining and screaming at the world for telling you what feels like nothing but dirty lies this entire time. And goddamn it but it isn’t enough for your soul to witness death on a daily bases, or to be assigned to care for others and leave yourself behind, or to be over worked in a thankless job just so you can financially keep it together.
We have all heard that familiar narrative....Go to school, get a job, make money until you retire.
But I argue that this is not enough. It is too linear, too simple and narrow and doesn't leave space for the peaks and valleys that make up the world. Plus, it is only easily applicable to a small and privileged section of the population yet applied and expected universally. The “bigger picture” never seems to see its own framework of racism, sexism, and heteronormativity.
So what is enough if you break that framework?
I challenge you to break it. Maybe you already are. Good for you. Tell me about it, write to me, tag me on social media, hashtag it #imenough or keep it to yourself.
But if you're like me, rip that ransom note off your forehead and live your life like you're good enough.
Because you are.