I think we all have insecurities. Even the most beautiful of us get moments when we wonder: am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough? Am I fit for this? Have I earned this? Am I worthy? Am I good enough? Am I enough?
And it is okay that you're afraid--that you wonder. It is okay that you feel inadequate.
I know insecurity. Christ, do I know it. I am a woman who had her first full-package relationship at thirty-three: I mean the kind where you actually are accountable to someone; the kind of arrangement where you don't do certain stuff because it matters (to you) how you affect them; the kind of setting where someone else--someone that you did not give birth to--now has an actual place in your plans and so you can't just go carrying on anyhow now 'cause you reflect on them and it is important to you that they don't come off looking stupid because of you? I'd never had that. Not that way, never half that long, not with all that investment; and certainly not with the amount of thoughtfulness it so happens that relationships require if they are to be worth the tag.
It was work. It was scary. It was unfamiliar. It was crazy. It was trying. God, it tested me. It was everything I spent all my adult life avoiding: giving someone else the power to destroy me and simply trusting that they won't; putting my best into something that might fail with nothing but hope that it don't. It was my do-it-afraid. And I did it all, down to dirty laundry.
One of my most treasured mementos of the relationship is how my partner would, knowing my many insecurities, say "I love you. I am in love with you." And it wasn't so much about the words as it was about how he would make it a point to stress the you -- all the time. Because we were a peculiar match, he and I.
And since this is my blog and I can damn well write what I like, I'll give you a glimpse into what our team was like (and if you stop reading here, I'm going to ask the Holy Spirit to hang your phone/tab, so don't test my anointing now):
My ex is younger by four years, and that should probably suffice, as far as explanations go. He is popular -ish, and he handles it well; I am not, I do not. He is one of those people who have a fully furnished condo on their phone and wake up to two hundred and thirty-six messages on their instant-messaging app every day, and you can be sure they will all be attended to by lunch time; I am one of those people who only talk to about three or four people on a regular basis--and my 'regular' doesn't necessarily translate to 'every day'. He is a nine-to-five person so he has an actual outdoor life; I am not, I do not. Long story short: he is a lot of things I am not. I would get hives trying his life and he would go stir-crazy getting stuck with mine. The part that is relevant to this post is that seventy percent of my ex's regular contacts is made up of females under twenty-five (now you're going ahhhhh, I see you): you know, the kind who pay attention to their brows and take morning selfies and know their filters and update their profile pictures every other day and actually use their phones, lol; no disrespect to y'all queens--this is solely for context.
And because I am who I tend to be, with all my social anxiety and all the issues that birthed it, I didn't need a crystal ball to tell me that it would take all of me to be with a man who catered daily to that kind of audience because I mean, he wouldn't even have to throw me in a competition, I would just feel like I was in one. Lord, I can't count how many times I docked that ship before it even sailed. It had nothing to do with whether he came correct, either; I just don't handle queues well -- it is that simple. I can't be one of many faces in a crowd of options, I would lose my voice. And it is crazy, because I hold my own fort quite well, I just don't like being...gauged, I hate it. It outright messes with all my switches when I'm made to feel like I have to prove myself worthy--of whatever. Guess you could say I'm one of those people who just don't test well. And if I ever started to feel like I was being evaluated pari passu with someone else, my subconscious auto-response is to extricate myself. And I would do it--remove myself from whatever I felt was a competitive situation--without even realizing it until it's done. Yeah, I know, right? But that's not the point.
I remember how, when it started to look like we were going to be more than friends, he would do telltale things like put his phone down when we were together, make a point of noticing details and all those other little things that you would do to let a person know that you could be anywhere else but you're choosing to be with them -- that subtle affirmation that they were your choice, that you weren't just there 'cause it was comfortable or they were the available thing: you are here, you chose them.
And of course when the I-LOVE-YOUs started, he would never just leave it at 'I love you': he would go the extra mile and add I'm in love with you. Every time. Sometimes he even added an extra 'you' after the full stop. And it gave me a different kind of peace when he did that; it was such a little but intentional thing, and it spoke a whole Sunday's worth of sermon to me.
We all need people in our lives who don't stop at I love you. But what if you don't have them? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed or crippled with uncertainty that you have what it takes to 'make this work'? What if you feel not-the-person enough to start that business or write that book or start that blog? Pfft! I mean, I'm here writing an article at 2-ish in the morning, on a blog where I spill my guts and tell all my dirty insecure secrets--and I can't even put my face up anywhere for more than a day--if even, and I can't even be in a literal crowd for more than an hour before wanting to go home, and I literally have to give myself a whole pep talk before sleeping outside of my own house. And no, I am not ugly, lmao! I just don't like being stared at. Does that even make sense?
But you see how I can be this bad take-no-prisoners bitch on my blog? You probably won't think I cry when a person's voice gets louder than mine in an argument, yeah? But I do in fact do.
But I am also a wacky wordsmith: I know my words and can weave them in a way that I know is peculiar to me. I can write mean ass articles/stories, make mean meals, raise my child proper, take diligent care of my own, be kind--regardless of what's going to shits in my life. I am an intentionally mindful person, a serious business owner, a fairly financially responsible person, a good boss, a consistent partner, and a loyal friend: I am this altogether dope human when you're not feeding my crazy (lol) and I know it. Like, I have all these awesome deposits inside of me but I can't deal with something as mundane as doing a twitter thread, or stand having people stare at my picture every other day...or handle being one of several choices--hell, I didn't even get in line for a job, so go figure.
Do you see what I did in that paragraph up there, though? I hope you did. Because when you're dealing with feelings of inadequacy and tempted to outline all the ways you're not enough or underqualified for something (that you got anyway), you might just want to take a deep breath, get in touch with yourself and make a second list of all the things you have going for you: all the ways you are worthy. Because underneath all that insecurity is the person who gets the 'I'm in love with you' after the 'I love you'; and even the 'you' after that.
And what that says is: it could be someone else who got that job, someone else who God trusted to raise those kids, someone else who's writing them great songs or book or doing that art; it could be anyone else, but it's you who's there: you're the one they've got, the one they chose; the one they're putting it all on the line for. Because whatever your shortcomings, nobody else out there could work that office like you, do that art like you, raise those kids like you, or make that person feel the way they do with you. And this is how you know you're enough: you're are there, because you're exactly what's needed.
Don't think yourself out of a good thing.
You are enough.
You are the magic.
You are the secret ingredient: YOU.