This Is What It Feels Like To Never Be Enough

Photo by Joanna Nix

My words will never be enough.

I have stories clawing at the back of my throat, nails scratching against the walls of my chest.

What was I wearing? What was I drinking? Was I alone? Was I with men?

I want to yell and ask the voices to stop. Silent screams burn my mind, and all I can muster or even find, is this large lump within my throat.

Alas, I am not “loud enough.”

There are scars from fast cars and roads less traveled. There are wounds from bolted doors I could not leave. There are touches and grazes that my body often traces back and I throw myself in the shower.

I scramble for proof. How will they believe me? I must defend, to no end, the story I might tell. But there isn’t a jury with the stones to look at these weary finger bones with the pages I could fill.

Alas, I am not “reliable enough.”

Hysteria they call it. And sometimes paranoia. And I must laugh it off. Simply shake and take the scraps of sympathy I am afforded.

The smile plastered on my face reminds me of the smiles that I wasted in closed spaces where all I wanted was to leave.

No camera, no witness. Just a careful whisper, an inappropriate gesture, and the cold reminder upon refusal: there are “plenty of other fish in the sea”

Alas, I am not “worthy enough.”

And I wonder. If I could fill pages, let the world know my rage, at all these different stages—who would believe me?

Or, would they find ways to see if I may have strayed, to simply come and say: my words are not enough?

Not honest enough. Not reliable enough. Not proof enough. Not dead enough.

Once again, I will find another way to remind myself that all the clawing and the screams that keep sawing will go away eventually.

The wails that I, too, must share. All I need is empathy to spare, but my own hand puts my finger to my lips, for my truth isn’t “true enough.”

And so, at the end of each day, I retire to my bed and stay up with my thoughts. All the stories and their plots unraveling, replaying.

“I’m tired,” I whisper to my aching body and my heart and soul and mind yell back: “Me too.”

I absorb it all, learn to stand tall, catch myself when I fall, for I am my own safety net – for myself, and from my own thoughts.

It’s all I’ve got, amongst the constant reminder: today, my words just aren’t enough.

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