Just Not Good Enough

Just not good enough:
That old familiar refrain
Rattles around in my head
As I survey my surroundings–
naked Barbies and broken Lego spaceships
litter the living room floor;
children run by with can openers and spatulas
to be used as weapons of some sort–
The voice sounds off:
You’re just not (a) good enough
Mother.

Later that evening,
I shower and stand in front of the mirror
Examining myself–
Stretch marks abound on my round, twenty extra pound belly,
The gap between my front teeth seems more prominent somehow,
And my eyebrows are in dire need of some attention,
As are the grey roots poking out from my blonde hair.
The voice taunts me:
You’re just not good (looking) enough.

I sit down at my desk,
Determined to get some work done on my latest project–
A lecture on living and studying poetically–
But I’m stuck on words that won’t come
And hung up on the idea that the other scholars at this conference
Will be smarter than I am.
Are they?
I really don’t know yet I know it must be true, for
The voice whispers:
You’re just not good enough.

Sometimes the words are altered slightly–

You’re just not:
Thin enough
Intelligent enough
Pretty enough
Strong enough
Dedicated enough
Fill-in-the-blank enough.

The meaning’s the same though:
I’m just not good enough.
I get it.

How is it possible to
Continue day after day
Hour after hour
Moment after moment–
When everywhere I look
Reminds me that
I’m just not good enough.
When all I hear (all the time, all day long) is
The voice in my head:
You’re just not good enough.

I don’t know.
Yet somehow I continue to exist
In this time and space
That surrounds me,
Envelops me,
Keeps me here.

Sometimes,
Maybe,  just maybe,
I allow myself to think
(for one short, brief second, perhaps even to believe)–
I am good enough.
And maybe that’s just good enough
To keep on going.

Notes: I feel as though I have so much to say about the power of these words that have ruled my life for so long but I can’t adequately express them. This poem just isn’t good enough.

And, if you want to know what the voice sounds like set to music, have a listen to Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” and replace the lyrics with “Just Not Good Enough” and you’ll have a fairly clear idea.

 

 

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