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My Struggle To Believe I Am Enough

November 3, 2010

The Admission

I’ve been using outward forces to distract myself from doing my real work. You see, my goal is to be an initiated woman. A woman who knows she is enough.

I want to get closer to the marrow of my own being. I want to be vulnerable and strong, generous and loving, intentional and accountable, wide and radiant.

I want to remain open and flexible, so that ideas can flow through me. I want the muses to visit, genius to enter, creation to take place.  I want to be a tool of service. I want to channel greatness, execute with laser focus and exquisite attention to detail. I want to define my own success – written words read, talks given, connections made, a luminous light shining like a sun that never sets.

Instead of focusing on being enough —on doing my work and on continuing to strive towards my own ideas of success– I’ve been caught up in the shoulds. You know, the goals that sound good because other people (probably lots of other people) want them.

Problem #1: Sudden Zeal For Finding A Romantic Partner

I’ve found myself identifying a bit too strongly with Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother. Like Ted, when I met someone of the opposite sex, I immediately considered, could he be relationship material?

And, I didn’t really question this desire when it first cropped up. I sat in it, played it out, and let it roll for a few months. Recently, I’ve forced myself to consider this sudden newfound quest to be in a relationship.

When did I develop such intensity and enthusiasm for being partnered up? Well, ‘round about the time I started feeling like I was lacking connection in Siem Reap.

In July I went home for a month. I slept on the couches of my best friends abodes. I laughed until my belly ached. I stayed up ‘til the wee hours of the morning playing rockband, drinking Jaegerbombs, eating ice cream, and talking circles around each other.  I communed with the people who mean the most to me.

When I returned to Siem Reap, I felt the acute loss of my support system. I couldn’t articulate it then, but I know it to be true now. For one month, I was enveloped in familiar love and wrapped in comfort. Then time ran out and I returned to my new home. Slowly, that blanket of awesomeness unraveled.

And, you know what? I cannot thrive without a spirit of in-it-togetherness.

My focus on finding a romantic partner is misdirected. What I need is a support system in Siem Reap. One that is as strong and fierce and loyal and loving as the one I left behind in the States.

This leads to…

Problem #2:  I Lost My Way Socially

The thing about a good friend is that their presence calms, nurtures. Being with them is a positive boost. Laughing, talking, being near them brings me closer to my core. They point me home.

And, there are great people here. Wonderful, inspired, creative people who amaze me everyday.

I’ve sacrificed nourishing the connections that matter most in order to be involved in the scene.  I spent too much time distractedly looking for a partner and too little time being present with friends.

The downside with being a wide-open book is that you have to surround yourself with people who are worthy. Friends who understand that vulnerability is strength and don’t try to take advantage of it. Comrades who get respect and love and support.

I need to find and cultivate my Siem Reap posse. My new on-the-ground support system. The individuals whose presence comforts me. The authentic dreamers who will let me push and back them. I want to engage the grounded souls who also seek connection and emotional intimacy.

The Crux Of The Problem

Until I am convinced I am enough, I won’t be able to tap into my own power. I won’t be able to find my tribe. And, I won’t be ready or capable of partnering someone else.

I believe strongly that being boldly authentic will lead me to my community.  That following my instincts will propel me towards bliss. That being firmly rooted in a supportive system will allow me to flourish. In turn, thriving means being of service to others.

The Solution

So, what will it take to believe that I am enough? In this moment, I think it requires being extremely intentional.

To that end, I give myself permission to:

nurture myself unapologetically. Nights nesting with blankets and movies. Hours of being unreachable and unplugged.

write. As a therapeutic form of processing. As a way of clarifying and divining. For the pure joy of putting my thoughts on the page.

listen to my own instincts. To find my own way. To battle through the haze and maze in the way that seems right for me.

say no to social obligations, even if I feel like I should attend. Should means I’m thinking about what I’d actually rather be doing. Should breeds resentment.

bolster my friendships through one-on-one and small group interactions. It’s hard to feel connected at a table of 15. It’s easy to get caught up in which conversations you’re missing. I want to eliminate distractions in order to focus on what matters.

drink less. (Don’t worry Mom, I don’t drink that much.) It’s difficult to foster connectivity while simultaneously navigating the raging hormones & self-doubt brought on by drinking.

heed the warnings that bubble up from deep inside. To say no to people that seem tricky or untrustworthy. To distance myself from situations that just don’t feel right.

Consider today the beginning of the experiment.

Dear Reader, what helps you feel rooted in enoughness? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Jodi T. permalink
    November 3, 2010 5:41 pm

    It is amazing how sometimes when you think you are all by yourself and feeling freakishly disconnected, someone else says they are going through the same thing and it makes you feel not so alone. Substitute “Green Bay” for “Siem Reap,” and you got me. Except I also need to work on not being an open faucet of secrets. I really want to be a person people can trust. It is going to be hard work.

    Hope you are doing well way over yonder. Hit me up sometime. 🙂

    • November 3, 2010 6:50 pm

      I hear ya, Jodi. That’s part of the problem – we all sit in these dark holes despairing when in reality, there’s always someone somewhere experiencing the exact same thing. If only we could all open up to each other more regularly and harness that! You’re never alone. Never.

      Secret-keeping is hard. I haven’t mastered it yet, either. Mostly because I don’t keep very many secrets of my own so I don’t really understand the value of keeping others. But, I’m working on it too.

      xoxo. sending my love to greenbay!

  2. Bethany permalink
    November 3, 2010 7:34 pm

    I miss you girl. Team Sethany is rooting for you hard. Love you xoxoxo

    • November 3, 2010 7:40 pm

      And I’m rooting hard for Team Sethany. love and adore you. xoxo.

  3. Ines permalink
    November 3, 2010 11:00 pm

    Wow! Strong, honest and emotional! Exceptionally well written! And just so you know…I will be honored to be part of your new on-the-ground support system!

    • November 3, 2010 11:23 pm

      Ines, I’d be honored to have you in my inner circle. I’ve got your back, sister!

  4. Dan Butterworth permalink
    November 4, 2010 12:16 am

    Leigh, beautifully written, as always. I’ve been struggling with very similar issues, but never considered what luxury I have in being within a drive’s distance from friends and family… While in my eyes you have always (always!) been amazingly smart, talented, and together, we are our own best critics, right?

    On finding connection, be it with a romantic partner or with platonic friendships, I think that is the single most difficult thing our generation will deal with in this age of digital communication and endless opportunities for self-gratification. I also think, though, that those intense relationships that we developed as youth or in college are harder to come by the older we get. As friends couple off, move away, begin careers, we lose touch. Not contact, but the feeling of connectedness and community. I may not half way around the world, but I’m alone in my Rust Belt city. New connections do not have the same intensity, passion, or importance. I have this image of the artists’ collective, the intentional community, or the spiritual circle that would fill a void, but without the desire for connection and maybe even similarity of experiences and worldview, can this be achieved?

    Interestingly, I’ve come to similar conclusions on how to be present with myself and how to be my own champion. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and often it is the one part of my day that belongs to no one but me, when I can be present with myself, and feel connected to the divine, the earth, humanity. I smoke less (a lot less!), I unplug, I listen more closely to myself and others. But I think the thing that has helped me the most of late is trying to see myself in others and vice versa. The better I identify with someone else, the more I feel connected to them (whether they know it or not). I am you and you are me, just different.

    There are a lot of us who can empathize with you, who are dealing with the same issues, regardless of where we are geographically… So please keep writing. Find joy where you can, embrace those around you, and love indiscriminately. The rest will fall into place.

    A big hug around the world from me to you,

    • November 5, 2010 1:29 pm

      “I have this image of the artists’ collective, the intentional community, or the spiritual circle that would fill a void, but without the desire for connection and maybe even similarity of experiences and worldview, can this be achieved?”

      Yes, Dan. I want in! The intentional community sound delicious and divine. Bring it on.

      Agree that yoga helps bring me into myself. It’s grounding. Simplifying. I might steal your tactic of trying to see myself in others. Bet it’s pretty world-changing.

      I love you. I’m blessed to have you as a friend.


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