I am good enough.

“I grew up in a rickety house on Jackson Store Rd. in the middle of no where.

I didn’t come from money.”

I penned that once before in a blog post but that rickety house came back to me today in a wave of shame, humiliation, pride, and gratitude all wrapped up into one.

Today was the first day, in the last 368, that I enjoyed living in South Carolina.

This move has not been easy on me. Change never is. The chaos of my childhood and the constant debilitating fear of what may happen next has made change a foe of mine. They say that chaos brings comfort to those with traumatic childhoods because it’s what they know. But I don’t know any good quote that covers the notion that sometimes a child finds safety and stability in a new space they deem home but then are uprooted. I tend to believe the chaos/comfort line is out the window and the little girl is hanging on with everything she has to what brought her perceived safety. Moving brought chaos to me. I hang on. Still.

I have resisted this move because the change brought grief and unsettling questions. Because change is scary. Because this move brought me closer to all of my nightmares. Because this move brought winding roads and trailer homes that replicate the roads of my childhood. Because this location is too close to that rickety house.

This morning it snowed.

And I mean snowed!

Mother nature brought us 7 inches of beautiful white snow that brought wonder to my son’s eyes and warmth to my heart.

I snapped a snow photo this morning of its glory (before the other 3-4 inches came). Here’s my winter wonderland of a neighborhood:

My beautiful suburban street

I came inside and happily browsed through my snow photos. This photo struck me like a ton of bricks.

The beauty. The size of the homes on my streets. The suburban-like nature of this very photo.

It slapped me in the face. I felt overwhelmed with disbelief.

How could this be where I live? How could this really be my life? How do I deserve this?

I get that this may look like a normal neighborhood to you but remember I grew up in a rickety house?

Let me give you a glimpse at my childhood home:

The rickety house

Granted, I took this picture in 2020. Moved out in 2000, I think. I know the house had windows intact and a flowerbed out front. I know it was not as dilapidated as it appears here. But I think you can get the overall picture. The tin roof looks untouched. The steps up to the house are the same. It now looks as atrocious as my memories that pour out of its broken window panes.

Not feeling deserving of good things is connected with a core belief I have that nothing I do is good enough.

Two steps forward, one step back.

The hesitation pattern of my life.

Second guessing.

Overthinking.

Two steps forward, one step back.

I am my own worst critic.

You will fail.

You will embarrass yourself.

You. Are. Not. Good. Enough.

The thoughts that cloud my mind.

I have never been a good friend to myself.

I can pick myself apart.

Any award or accomplishment I have received has been ripped apart in my mind.

Luck.

Chance.

They felt sorry for you.

The thoughts that cloud my mind.

When I was in fourth grade I was awarded the honor of student of the month. Some girls at school snickered behind my back. In a bathroom stall I heard them gush about how the teachers felt sorry for me.

Words of judgement slipped through their nine year old mouths rather quickly.

“Did you notice her bruises?”

“Her hair is always a mess.”

“Does she only own one pair of shoes?”

Walls built. My heart as guarded as can be. I remember walking out of that stall with my head held high.

The front I show to the world is confident.

Controlled.

Powerful.

Motivated.

Gritty.

But I can pick myself apart.

You will fail.

You will embarrass yourself.

You. Are. Not. Good. Enough.

Two steps forward, one step back.

It could be worse.

It’s slow movement but its movement.

GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD, BRANDY.

Stride.

Move.

Try.

Hesitate no more.

Life is too short, too fragile, and too uncertain to take so many steps backward.

I want the front that I show the world to be my reality.

Confident.

Controlled.

Powerful.

Motivated.

Gritty.

Maybe one day I’ll be her. Until then I’ll admit to the world that I pick myself apart.

Because maybe I’m not alone in this.

Maybe we are all criticizing who we are instead of loving ourselves as we should.

Maybe we are all looking at what we have and doubting our worthiness.

I do deserve this home. This family. This life. This goodness. The suburban-like nature of the photograph of my street.

I deserve to be out of that rickety house. I deserve to grow with change.

I worked for everything that I have. That rickety house had walls and a door with a key. It tried to keep me in. Hold onto me. But I escaped. When that rickety house comes up in my mind and covers me with shame- I can fight against it. I can change my thinking. I can try.

I am good enough.

You ARE good enough.

You are not alone. 

Up, up, and Away

As a child, I was the kid in class with the highest Accelerated Reader (AR) points. My star on the bulletin board far surpassing all the other children in my class. I was also that nerdy girl who competed on a Battle of the Books team and read every single book on the list. Reading was one of the greatest joys of my childhood.

Reading transported me to another world.

A world far away from the violent screams of my ex-stepfather.

Far away from the home I lived in that was heated by a measly kerosene heater and sheets hung up in the doorways to keep every last bit of warmth from escaping.

Far away from my hand-me-down clothes from the girls I went to school with.

Far away from the nightmares that plagued me by day.

Far away from the panicked pleas of my mother to please not hurt her.

Far away from the world where my father took his own life.

Books were my escape.

In a different sense, they still are. Reading is my own version of self-care. When I want to make time for myself all I picture is a good read and a beverage (coffee or green tea preferred). As a new mother, reading time is scarce. Between my regular work and my two side jobs I stay busy, add my coursework in the mix and reading time is almost nonexistent. However, I know as well as anyone- you make time for the things you want to make time for.

So here I am, in 2018, making time for reading.

No excuses.

I decided to follow the Books-A-Million Book Club list for the non-fiction and literary selections.

bam

I started a bit late so I’m wrapping up January’s pick for the non-fiction category and will shortly be moving along to February’s selections. If you need a review just let me know and I will try to get to you.

 

 

This is one of my self-care strategies for Randy’s deployment and just for life in general.

Although I am no longer that 2nd grader with a time traveling machine that transported me as soon as I turned the page- I am a 29 year old woman who enjoys diving into another world.

Trauma may have been what facilitated my love of reading; but escaping reality is what maintained it.

Books help balance me. They ground me. They saved me as a child and they delight me as an adult.

What’s your escape?