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Wednesday
Jul062011

I am enough from Kat McNally

I am just like you:

doing my best to love life

in spite of my flaws.

 

Some days it’s easy.

I see joy everywhere and

feel so connected.

 

Then there are the times

I get stuck inside my head,

heart heavy with fog.

 

On these days I search

for (extra)ordinary

little miracles:

 

Pot of French Earl Grey

Perfect pair of purple boots

Walks, camera in hand

 

Guilt-free macarons

Losing myself in a book

Her sweet pudgy hands

 

Sitting with sadness

Lifelines through the overwhelm

Making space to breathe

 

Walks in Autumn gold

Writing with tremendous love

Paper, paint and glue

 

Family cuddles

Dancing wildly on my own

Friends who see my soul

 

Nourishing my self

Everyday celebrations

That I am worthy

 

That I am enough

........... 

About Kat McNally

 

Kat McNally is a passionate writer, secret blogger, haiku novice, extremely amateur photographer, and tentative (if idiosyncratic) artist. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and daughter.

Tuesday
Jun282011

I am Enough from Jena Strong

When I went public again with my blog a few months ago after an intensely private time in my life, I slowly stopped writing about coming out. I wouldn’t say I went back into hiding; maybe even the opposite is true. I resumed writing about other parts of my life as I continued about the business of living, working, parenting. What I’ve learned, so far–and no big surprise here–is that like anything else, coming out of the closet is not a one-time thing, or as simple as saying, “Mom, I’m gay.” It’s not an overnight deal, though last June it felt that way when the fault line I’d built my life on shifted so suddenly, so dramatically, so shatteringly.


When something shatters, something as beautiful as the life I had built with a husband and children in a wonderful community–what can I say here? I often think of the Emily Dickinson line, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes.” But what I experienced in the months following those few days that changed everything was anything but formal. It was manic, confused, overwhelmed, scared, driven. It was utterly disorienting and terrifying to realize that who I am, where I feel most myself, most in alignment with body and spirit, could mean the end of my marriage.

For years, I’ve compared myself to other women. Usually it’s the tall ones who look damn good in boots, who have bigger breasts than me or seem more free-spirited, who I would feel small next to. Literally small in my five-foot frame and A cup, but also smaller as in less than. Less womanly. Less big. I looked at women constantly, but comparing myself and often coming up short was the only frame of reference I consciously knew. I’d look at other women’s bodies and admire this one’s legs or that one’s arms or another’s open smile. But never in a million years did I think I was really checking them out. Sure, I knew I had the thought that having a sexual experience with another woman was something I just wouldn’t get to–that’s how it felt, like I wouldn’t get to–experience in this lifetime, but I thought, oh well, that’s just not meant to be this time around.


The thought was just that, a thought, and it lived in a neat little area far to the right of my head up in the air, in a safe little conceptual, hypothetical, theoretical, intellectual container. It did not originate from my body, from any felt experience or sensation. It just kind of was, the same way the thought that maybe one day I’d publish my poems or renovate the basement was. This thought itself was not a secret; I openly identified myself as loving women, but again, in a hot-shit, kick-ass, Rosie-the-Riveter, raising-strong-girls, life-of-women-friends-and-sisters kind of way. I would tell my husband that he was The Only One, the only man who knew me so intimately, who got to see me fully. Sure, I had floated the question to myself in my early 20s, but again, I had no point of reference for opening to that life, that “part” of myself, and I think now that something in me knew just how threatening it would be to do so. So I didn’t. This was not a calculated decision.


And even though the separation came after a hot, hellish summer, after losing fifteen pounds out of sheer stress and adrenaline, after finally admitting that a force of life energy flowing through me would not be pushed back down, would not be put away, would not be denied, actually coming out is something I feel like I’m only just now really beginning to do. It’s not about the labels, either–just as we don’t really have “parts,” nor can any human being be defined by this or that word. To reduce a sense of wholeness to a single word is impossible. All I know is that I made a choice that did not feel like a choice at all, which was to confront every fear I have, to take what felt like impossible risks and experience grief and loss unlike any I’d known, in order to emerge more fully into the world.  It’s less about the public announcement of things and more about the internal opening, of letting myself begin to live from this place of openness and bigness.

If you knew me a year ago or longer, you might think I was pretty open and big before, and that would be true. But I am also a master secret-keeper, a stealth hider, capable of great acts of mystery and deception, conscious and unconscious–as I suspect most humans are. Confronting this at first was so painful. Was it real? All those years of building that life, loving having a life partner who loved me so well, were they a sham? One giant projection? No. Again, none of this was or is simple. Learning how to listen for the truth and also live a responsible life, live what I value most about friendship and commitment and the sacredness of family, accepting myself and knowing that I am not crazy or misguided or acting on any kind of whim–all of this provides fodder for years on the couch. There is indeed the earthly plane of life, of an intact family unit, of shared bank accounts and plans for the future and the daily rhythms that held me in such comfort. And then there is what the father of my children, my husband of eleven years, calls the “cosmic rightness” to all of this, something we’ve both begun to open to, believe in, and trust as we move forward with reconfiguring so many aspects of our lives and ourselves.

As I was coming downstairs tonight after snuggling first with my daughters, I felt the urge to write. But suddenly, I couldn’t think of what to write about. The fun we had tonight watching a video of dogs eating in a busy restaurant? What it’s like right now to be working full-time, single parenting half the time, and trying to smile at uncertainty?  How I will piece together the many short bits of writing from the last year and assemble them into a succinct narrative when often I’m so tired all I want is two weeks on a white sand beach with a stack of books and some coconut oil? No, no, and no.

And then I sat down, and this is what came out. I am coming out. I have been coming out perhaps my whole life, or since June 3, 2010, or since I immersed myself in the living waters of the mikveh a few weeks ago ago–on my way to becoming fully unafraid–or walked up and down Broadway again for the first time in years and felt so alive, so aligned, so myself, and yes, so connected to the man I met in 1996 and chose to marry. Since I decided to stop being so frightened of opening my heart to someone else, a woman, even as I’m still grieving the massive detour my life has taken. Since I jumped out of the plane without a parachute. Since I moved out of my home and began a year of house-sitting for other lovely families. Since that August day on the back deck when we told our beautiful daughters that we were growing in a way that meant we would no longer live together. Each of these sentences deserves its own chapter.


I love this one quote I saw on someone’s Facebook page a while back. I can’t remember it word-for-word, but the gist was this: “If you tell me I am brave, I will say that I am well-loved.”

It is scary to write about this here, despite the fact that I’m basically already “out” to everyone who knows and loves me. And that is exactly why I’m doing it. Both blogging and in my work as a life coach, I’ve been comfortable in a role of encouraging others to listen to themselves, to trust life, to dip their toes into alluring but unknown waters. And at some point during my last year of working with individual clients, I began to feel less and less present. I was helping other people grow, but was increasingly aware of my own stuckness, a stuckness that scared the hell out of me since I couldn’t exactly name it but knew intuitively that it had massive implications for Life As I Knew It. If I’m going to be true to my path here, how can I not begin to write about this “part” of myself and my life, too?

I took a picture today that my sister, a photographer, said she wanted to print and hang on the wall. “Print two copies,” I told her–well, texted her actually–followed by reciprocal smiley faces. RAMBLER, big white-on-red letters.

It’s easy to dismiss myself, still, to fall into that habitual apology for taking up room, for speaking up and out, for sharing very personal aspects of my life with the general public here. It’s a habit I believe women are conditioned to internalize, that of saying, “Sorry… I’m rambling. Sorry… does that make sense? Sorry… I’m breathing.” Kind of in the same category as being self-critical. Do these jeans make me look fat?


Yes, I may be rambling and I may be tired, but writing enlivens me and helps me feel more coherent. I hope my sharing from an un-stuck place will still encourage you to ramble, too, without apology. The last few stanzas especially of the Mary Oliver poem, “Starlings in Winter,” say it well:

I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

...........

About Jena Strong


A mama, sister, wordsmith, lemondrop-drinking sun-worshipper, I’ve lived in Burlington, Vermont for the last eleven years. I’m a lifelong seeker of truth and beauty; a fierce, funny, short, curly, Jewish, Buddhist lesbian; and a proud Barnard alumna with an MFA in poetry. In 1991, the Amherst Regional High School senior class voted me “Most Likely to Make You Look and Wonder,” a superlative I’m happy to be living up to nicely. Since 2007, I’ve been sharing my poems as well as reflections on practice at More Joy, Less Oy (The Blog Formerly Known as Bullseye, Baby!). You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday
Jun212011

I am enough from Tara Sophia Mohr

Enough to Change the World

Sometimes, “I am enough” comes with a quiet surrender to all we can’t do.  It’s the recognition of “I am enough, even though I can’t end world hunger.” “I am enough, even without leading a movement of thousands.” “I am enough, just because I am.”

It’s true – we are all glorious beings, overflowing with goodness, and we are enough  - without doing a thing. But it’s also important to say, “I am enough to do amazing things.” “I am enough to change the world.”

 

A Story

Chapter 1: There you were, with your love for the world. There you were, pained when you saw hurt done to others. Your heart cried out when you saw war on the news: you knew that was wrong. Your heart winced when you saw the neighborhood boys harming an animal. You worried about the homeless people in your town and asked your parents about them. You were ready to act, because you knew about love and softness and taking care.

Chapter 2: You were told that these emergencies of humanness, were simply “the way the world was.” That you couldn’t fix all the problems . . so better to accept reality and get back to your business. The truth you knew deep in your body, that the hurting ones needed to be cared for? You were told that truth was somehow wrong.

Chapter 3:The coping began. A certain hardness. A slow building of heart calluses. A deep pain within got stored away, and layers formed to cover it.

Chapter 4: Here you are. A woman still unsure: Should I get down and weep about the state of what is, or. . .? Is the world as crazy as it seems to be? Why is no one halting everything and calling a meeting so we can deal with the crimes against humanness we see every day?

Why does most of what I see on the news – not just the events but the way they are being talked about—feel so far from my way of seeing things? What is that voice within that keeps popping up, whispering about how it all could be done in a different way?

This is my story. Is this your story?

 

Here’s what I try to instill in myself:

My truth is enough to speak. My critique – even if it doesn’t have accompanying solutions yet -- is enough to write and publish.

My heart is enough to help change the world.  

***

There is a draft going on, and it is not a draft to fight a war, it is a draft to build peace. Most of us are dodging it, escaping to borders or changing our addresses or just not being home to receive the letter calling us to action.

Showing up for it is not putting your life on hold or leaving your children behind to fight for peace in the streets. It is quite simply: speaking up.

We are dodging the draft with one big excuse more than any other: I am not enough. I am not the one to step up and save the world. It should be someone more qualified, more experienced, more perfect.

The call for all of us is to see that lie for what it is, claim “I am enough” and join the forces of those saying: “The world needs to be different. It needs to become sane and humane again. What I know and who I am are enough to put me on the team. I’m in.”

Love, Tara Sophia Mohr

...........

 About Tara Sophia Mohr

Tara Sophia Mohr’s writing and teaching bring feminine wisdom the fore. Her work focuses on helping women cultivate wisdom and joy, and step forward as transformational leaders. She’s the creator of the global Playing Big leadership program for women, the author of The Real Life poems, and is a regular writer for the Huffington Post. Her hybrid path has taken her from the meditation cushion to Stanford Business School. You can receive her free workbook, “10 Rules for Brilliant Women by clicking here.

Love poetry, seaside and rejuvenation? Join Tara in October for her Fall retreat. Registration is now open.

Featured artwork courtesy of Shelley Kommers, Bio photo credit: Margot Duane

Tuesday
Jun072011

I am Enough from Kimberly Brimhall

I am enough. from Kimberly Scott on Vimeo.

 

...........

About Kimberly Brimhall

At the age of 30, I know who I am and know that my absolute love in life is taking what my mind creates and letting my camera capture it forever. I am not special, just here taking pictures and making videos to document things as only I see them. Since I started my journey as a photographer, I have been blessed to work with beautiful people and recently ventured into new projects as a director/producer. I live in the San Antonio area with my lovely family and it is my desire to show them how this world looks from my eyes that drives what I do daily. I only hope that as I continue down this path of life that I accept that I am the only me... that only I can choose if I am good enough. It is my prayer that I not only tell myself that I am enough, but that I believe it and allow my work to show it.

For more about Kimberly, visit her blog, facebook or follow her on twitter.

Tuesday
May242011

I am enough from Jamie Solorio

I am Enough.

Am I?

YES!  

Why?

Why?  That is the question here.  I think that all women have such a deep rooted force within that pushes us to try to be the very best.  

Best Wife.

Best Mother.

Best Friend.

Best Daughter.

Best.

Best.

Best.

And the list goes on and on...why?  Why do we all seem to struggle with this?  Who knows, but I can tell you right now that...

I am ENOUGH.

It seems like it was after I turned 30 that I finally figured it out.  Nothing special happened to me, no traumatic event, no near death experience...nothing.  Just that...

I need to be happy first!  

I need to think of myself.   

Only after I have true happiness within, can I strive to make other people happy, and making other people happy in turn ends up making me happy. It’s funny how that works.

I am FAR from being perfect, or even CLOSE. Not that I am a total slacker, but if I do want a lazy day for myself once and a while...why not?  

On the other hand, when I really want to try my best...I do.  And if I do not succeed as I had hoped to, my motto is...”What’ta you going to do?”  Just let that pressure roll away.

I seriously LOVE my life!

I LOVE myself.

I love my husband.  I love my two precious little girls.  I love my family and friends.  Even when things get hard, I remind myself how much sweeter life is going to be when they get better.

I am

enough.

(You are too!)

 

...........

About Jamie Solorio

Jamie is a wife to an amazing husband, and mother to two adorable young girls.  She is currently working towards growing her lifelong love of art and photography into a business.  Born and raised in Northern California, Jamie loves warm summer days, and adventures with family and friends.

You can follow Jamie’s metamorphosis into a professional photographer on her blog , her photography website or contact her at solofoto@ymail.com