Not Enough

Hurricane Dean NOAA

Hurricane Dean NOAA

The power of ‘No’ can be compared to a Category 5 Hurricane, blows in off warm waters leaving devastation as its calling card. Even when the word is unspoken, it echoes, bouncing through heart, soul and perhaps worse, mind brutalizing with self-doubt and ‘what if’. Self-flagellation is a terrible trap; one I think might be all too easy to fall into especially when combined with ‘No’. This is not an issue of self-pity, not at all an issue of the glass being half empty or even depression creeping in and shaking me harder than normal. Though I suspect all these things are present and accounted for in my current state of mind; no, this is simply an acknowledgment of ‘No’ and ‘What if’ being part of the echo chamber.

Truly, I don’t know why the past week has been so hard. No, that is a lie and if nothing else I shouldn’t lie to myself, I know why.

It is hard because when I look in the mirror I see me, I am not overly impressed and it hurts.

It is hard because I am frightened, it isn’t a feeling I do well.

It is hard because the sound of no, even when silent is battering what small bit of ego I have remaining.

It is hard because the sound of my own voice is the only one I hear most days.

It is hard because despite my best intentions I feel myself slipping between the cracks.

It is hard because it isn’t fair, I feel childish when I say that which simply pisses me off.

It is hard because I am full of regrets, I am afraid that is what it will be forever and ever. Amen.

My husband left me; he says it is my fault. Okay I accept that, the fault lies with me. I was not enough, I did not do enough or I changed too much, or I wanted too much or something simply wasn’t right and I didn’t add up. My pragmatic self, the part of me that wants to move forward quietly says, ‘accept, allow this to flow over and past you. It doesn’t define you.’

The reality?

I am right now, right this minute defined by the pain I am feeling by the loss. I am right now, right this minute defined by the echo chamber of, ‘Not enough’.

I am not working right now. For twenty-two years, I have built a career in a field that was hard on women. I have worked my proverbial ass off. I have fought for every good reference, I have been demeaned all too often, I have been called names, I have been ignored and passed over for promotions I earned, I have earned less than my male counterparts. I have watched my industry be outsourced and in-sourced. I have been bullied more than once, with no consequence to the bully. Now, when I should be reaping the benefits of my hard work, my great references, my long hours; now I am hearing, ‘No’, more than any other word in the dictionary. Now when I want to stop travel, stop consulting, stop fighting for contracts. Now when I can make my life easier with less people to support, now ‘No’ seems to be the biggest word in the English language.


We don’t think you can make the transition.

You have too much experience.

We don’t think you will be happy taking the cut in pay.

Of course, the code is you are too old. I am only fifty-six years old; I still have many years left to go. I am still a viable human being with an active brain and much to offer. Why can’t someone, anyone just be honest? We don’t want to hire you, you don’t fit the profile of what we want sitting in our offices. You are too fat, too old, whatever it is. Just stop beating around the bush just say it.

Instead, along with ‘Not Enough’, ‘No’ screams in the echo chamber, dances through telling me I am not worthy of recognition or of value on any scale I used to measure myself against. My fear beats against my chest wall, battering me, demanding the answer to the question, ‘what if everything you did was for nothing, what if all the long days, long weeks, long hours; what if it was for nothing?’

Now, today I find myself trying to make reservations to return to Seattle for what is likely the final bedside vigil of my nemesis, my second mother. I do this not because I owe her this final courtesy, I do this because, hell because I have compassion for both her and my baby brother who I love despite his lack of understanding of why this isn’t my place. I do this because no one should pass from this earth alone. I do this because I hope someday someone will do it for me. I do this because I do not want my brother’s heart to break thinking she was alone. Yet in doing it I weep tears of frustration and yes even some fury, because he doesn’t understand why he asks much of me. He will never understand why I say to him, it isn’t my place.

So my heart cracks. My eyes leak. My fury, it seems also to be present and accounted for and the echo chamber that is my mind continues to whisper, ‘Not Enough’ and ‘No’ and even ‘What if’.



  1. Im sorry for your pain. I never know how to help..what to say or to ease your burden. It wont always be this know that and there is comfort to be had in those words but.. I wish I could do more .. you are a beautiful bright soul.. a person of light and strength. You are enough..
    Lizzie ♥♡

  2. Gray Dawster says:

    I can feel the heartache through your words my dear friend but let me tell you this, nothing is your fault it takes two to tango and the complexities of life does not fall upon the one, it is a shared concept, whether one (he) believes it or ignores it, the plain truth is that you were and still are worth much more than what is said here in your posting.

    This goes for everything, jobs, worth, age, whatever, you are a lovely person Val, just reading through your Space shows you for whom you are so never think that you are anything less my dear, as that is definitely not so. I know the past weeks and months have rocked your world, but I know that you will be okay, I can feel it.

    Andro xxxx

  3. You’re a wonderful woman, Val. In spite of all the no’s … you know what’s right, and what’s important. I think letting someone die alone is a sad thing … even if the only person with someone when they die is a stranger, then so be it. We all need to know that no matter what our life has been, we are a part of humanity — and, we all earn the right to have our passing not be done out-of-sight.

    Take care of yourself …

    My ears are always open to listen if you need anything….

    • I think you are right John, it is important to do what is right in our hearts. To live without regretting what we might have done. Though honestly, I suspect I will remain with regrets.

      Thank you for the offer of ears. I suspect in the days to come I will need more of them.

  4. After I read your post I scanned through the comments and don’t know what I can add. As you can see most of us have been through some dark times. You are brave to share them and maybe putting it into words will help heal. You are a strong person worthy of some a Yes! Hugs to you!

    • Brave? Maybe more just trying to add a voice that says, this is all there is and if it helps that might be a good thing. I don’t hold many secrets, I suspect this is the way to let fly the pain. Right now? I take all hugs, they help.

  5. I feel your pain Val, I really do… And while I have not been through your own turmoil, I so understand the place you are in..
    After spending nearly 30 yrs in one profession myself I found it hard when all that I had gathered in knowledge and skills were no longer needed in our country as work went overseas… I know its not the same….. But that feeling of rejection and my own stubborn streak to not look outside the box meant I spent 2 yrs of more misery …
    My thoughts are with you and your 2nd Mum… You do this because you do have heart Val, you DO care..
    I can only leave you with these words, when we are faced with change, and Boy oh boy it seems Val that its hit you right between your eyes…. We Do get scared, its inherent within our nature to Fear the unknown..
    Change is happening ever faster throwing us in panic… But if we take a step back, as I had to recently we see that Change is also an opportunity.. We have to Change our emotional responses to being afraid of the unknown .. I know! you have been here before, and you got through it it.. Your past history Val is testimony to your strength.. YOU are one of the strongest ladies I know…
    So try, as hard as it is right now Val, to look at this period of change as the greatest opportunity to come your way.. The World is your oyster.. Like a Blank sheet of paper.. YOU can create it.. Go with the flow, rather than fight it.. and allow your way of thinking about things change… So Look at your skills, and how those skills could be put to good use… Other than in the area where you are getting the No’s.. and have self belief… YOU know your job inside out, Your skills and knowledge surpasses many in your field.. But LET GO OF FEAR and embrace this opportunity for CHANGE!… We are now ALL experiencing Major changes ever faster in various ways.. And instead of thinking of this as being the END, look at it as the Beginning of the New You, Doing something you will succeed at.. I know you can do it.. I know already the doors are waiting to be pushed open.. Its just waiting for you to choose which path you walk down.. Have Faith Val…. and next time you look in the mirror… Tell that reflection you are going to show her what you are made of…
    And dont forget to tell her how much she is loved… !!!….. Hugs and Love Val… Sue xxxxx

    • I am trying to circle around me Sue. Circle me with some reinforcement of positive energy. You might guess right now it is a bit overwhelming, all of it. I think there might simply just be too much. Letting go of it all might be the only thing possible and even that seems, well it seems hard. But little bits at a time, I am trying.

  6. Val, it does take time to heal, especially after being with someone for as long as you were with him. But don’t let his baggage, his negative thoughts about you, get the better of you. Don’t wallow in those words, but rather, prove him wrong. You are better than that. You are worth it. You know that deep down. When you’re ready, you’ll be able to show the world that, too.

    • I think, Monica, my acceptance of his words is simply my way of not fighting anymore. It is easier than pushing back, easier than demanding of him he see me and accept he has a part. Yes, it hurts but it isn’t wallowing so much as taking it in and allowing this part of the hurt to be part of the whole. Finally understanding what he sees and what he ‘knows’ versus what I see and what I ‘know’. It helps, even as it hurts.

      Good days, bad days. It seems they run together. I know it gets better and I know I will get better. It is simply a great deal to take in all at once.

      Thanks Monica

  7. Dear Val,
    Two months is not very long to move through the pain that came into your life when your husband left. By blaming you he’s not taking any responsibility, and you don’t have to shoulder any blame or shame… you did your best, and maybe he did his best, but if the best he can do is to dump everything on you, then that isn’t what you need in your life.
    I do know what you’re going through… if I hadn’t had to keep going for my children I probably wouldn’t still be here. And now I know that even the worst passes. It’s such early days, Val, give yourself time and lavish kindness on yourself. As for the rest… that is so tough, but there will come a break too, beiieve that something is lining up for you which is not there yet, and you’d miss the perfect thing if you had found something less than that… does this make sense.? Love Valerie

    • I know Valerie, I know it isn’t enough time. I know I am not the only one to have walked this path. I know he isn’t being fair to me. Truly I know it will get better.

      There are other things I know as well, I know I will get through this and that right now I am afraid. Not just with the loss of my life partner, but with the loss of income and the state of opportunities. It all comes flowing down at once and has overwhelmed me. I know I am reacting to all of it at once.

      I know I am taking on a great deal trying to change direction and do something different. It is a risk, it is a challenge. It is scary. I am worth it. For every single no, I tell myself this; “I am worth it”.

      So yes, it makes sense. But, I suspect there will be a few more hurt days, a few more cries.

  8. frigginloon says:

    Sleepless in Seattle (you know I had to). Well, well, well, isn’t 2014 just one big Spring Clean for you. I know you probably can’t see it now but the shit cloud is slowly dispersing and a blue sky is awaiting 😉

  9. When someone says to you, “Not enough,” then you say, “Not you.” xxoo Many hugs.

  10. Oh, dear Val, my heart goes out to you. I send you hugs and strength.

    Love from Ecuador,

  11. A “No” is a closed door.

    I move down the corridor, knocking on more doors – more “No’s”. I keep on doing it – knocking, banging, tapping and sometimes I’m so weary of slammed doors, I simply skip a door or two or ten. But I know, that as long as I humble myself and keep knocking – one door might just crack open a little.

    I’ll fail only when I stop knocking. Until then, I do stand a chance – slim chance but a chance.

    Val, my dear, back in the late 1990’s – I was in a similar situation and with a family to feed and children to school. The loss of dignity and self worth was debilitating.

    I kept knocking but whenever I wanted to give up and jump off the building – I prayed and that kept me going.

    I can’t tell you what to do but only what I did. And I know that you’ll do all right – you’ve got that grit. It’s there – within.

    Peace and luv my dear,

  12. Dear Val, with regards to Seattle conduct your business , set boundaries, and when you feel it’s time to leave than do so with no regrets!

  13. Val. I just love you.

  14. You are right about women being passed over unjustly more often than not. Under those circumstances you need to tell yourself its their loss and you are worth the job.

    • I am trying to tell myself this, I am. It is hard to get that message through when my head seems to be not quite in it. When I seem to be echoing the same message they are telling me, even if they don’t say it out loud. It is just hard. I think there are too many things piled on top right now.

  15. My dear Val, I am so sorry to hear about what you are facing. I know though that if you listen to the silence, you will soon discover there are no Nos or Nots. You will discover a smile from yourself to yourself, so cheers to that, my dear! A smile in advance from me: 🙂
    [be well]

    • As I continue to say Marina, my pragmatic self knows this hurt doesn’t last, it isn’t the end. I know. This fury, it isn’t all there is, I know. But now, this minute it is all there is in me. There just is so much, my plate it seems to be overflowing and I am not much good with it so much to consume all at once.

      I thank you,

  16. Val, I just read this on a book review for a book entitled “Wave”
    “As the cocoon of shock and initial trauma wears away, we are left to face how we are changed, with the inevitability and responsibility of continuing life.”

    I would not presume to say what you should or shouldn’t feel. No one can do that. Ultimately you will break through this. When you decide the time is right, you’ll be ready for that YES!

    • That is really beautiful. I hope the how we are changed is enough that joy comes in the morning. I keep setting one foot forward, I keep telling myself, “this too shall pass”. I suspect I want it to pass quickly, I don’t like this, this right now and thus I don’t want to feel it. Patience has never been one of my better virtues.

  17. My beautiful sister, you are more than enough. You are worthy, talented and vastly more intelligent than those who judge you. Your big heart is breaking under a status quo which is as it has always been. That makes it neither easier to accept nor change.

    As always, you know where I am. I will always be there because I love you.

  18. “There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.”
    ― Laurie Halse Anderson,

    Val, I have no other words except** I love you.**


  19. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I want to say just the right thing, but I know there is little words can actually make better. I, too, am listening, and sending love.

  20. I’m so sorry you’re going through such a tough patch. wish I could think of something to say to make it all better. What gets me through sometimes is the thought, no, the surety that it IS a patch. It will get better. There will be sunny days and happy stuff again. There WILL be, please believe it, Val.

    And be gentle with yourself. It’s a hell of a kind thing to go to your stepmom’s beside, especially when she doesn’t deserve it. That kind of karma isn’t lost.

    ps I love that song. That 3 Dog Night album is one I used to listen to over and over again in high school, but never saw the video.

    • Peg, I am trying to remember the light at the end of the tunnel, when it shows up, will not be a train. I am trying to remind myself of this. My mind is my worst enemy it seems right now. I have never been gentle with myself, this is a skill I must learn, I am trying.

      My mother, well she is who she is. I understand her history. She raised me, not my step mother but my adopted mother, second mother only in that she was the second mother in my life. No person deserves to be alone at the end, I will hope someone has compassion for me.

      That is the greatest song, I love it from Hair. 3 Dog Night is my second favorite rendition of it.

  21. It’s not and it will never be your fault..! hugs!

  22. the fact that he says it’s your fault, that’s incredible. That’s a heartless thing to say,

  23. “We don’t think you can make the transition.
    We don’t think you will be happy taking the cut in pay.”—Seems to me they need to spend less time thinking and more time finding out what you can do. If they did, I suspect they’d be enormously pleased.

    Sorry you’re struggling with so much right now. Good luck to you in Seattle. Wish you were going for more pleasant reasons. 😦

  24. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    Hi Val – Yes, it’s a tough, ageist world out there, and it really, really sucks.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with that. You don’t deserve it.

    I once had a boss tell me (when I deserved the promotion) that I “worked too hard, so would be a TERRIBLE manager because I would set the bar too high for others.” Good Lord have mercy. There are nutjobs out there making hiring decisions.

    I have nothing to add other than this:

    YOU are strong.
    YOU are a survivor.
    YOU will find a way.
    YOU must be good to yourself.
    YOU will win.
    YOU will have the last laugh.
    YOU will eventually slug your way through this mess.

    There are those that do the right thing, even when no one is looking.

    You are one of those people. D

  25. Maybe this period of grief is normal after all that’s happened. It’s a feeling of being left in the wilderness. It absolutely stinks. What stinks worse is that someone who was so significant in your life has turned his heart cold enough to leave you with all the blame. That’s so wrong on so many levels. Back and forth with feeling good and then not, well, that’s also normal. Redirect your way of looking at all of these experiences and I’m sure the yeses will come. Stop beating down on yourself. You’re resourceful and have to work on retrieving your power. It’s dormant now but waiting.

    • That is a very good way of thinking about things, dormant power. It surely is that right now. I feel as if someone has attached a vacuum hose to me and set it to high. Truly I do.

      I know this is my period of grief. I know there are too many things at once, hitting me hard and fast. I know this, in my head I know this. My heart just doesn’t seem able to follow along.

      • It does take time. And I know the grief well myself, so…Take yourself a little stroll around the neighborhood and enlist a walking partner to chat with at some point. It’s gonna be all right. Hard to see now. Though, we know at the end of the road, it’s all right, if not better.

  26. I have no words of wisdom, no words of consolation that will take away your pain. I’m sorry you are living a double whammy. I wish you well and am thinking of you. Look after YOU.

  27. Oh, Dear Val,
    So much in here. Too much pain, too many feelings that you are not enough. But that is so wrong and on so many levels.

    Your marriage ended and it’s all your fault? No. Wrong. (I realize I was not/am not there) No marriage ends because of one of the people involved. It’s a two way street. Someone who is willing to blame it all on you needs a goddamn mirror. Because there is always plenty of blame to go around.

    And going to the bedside of someone who has caused you such pain shows me your compassion and your love for your brother. He is lucky to have you.

    • Oh Elyse, I know all you say is true. I just can’t absorb it right now. I am simply stuck, lost in this abyss, this dark hole I seem to have fallen into. I needed to get it out, to pound out onto these pages what hurt so that maybe some of it wouldn’t be stuck in my head and heart.

  28. I don’t know the words that will comfort you in this very hard time. May Seattle surprise you with just the things that your heart and mind and soul need to push on through.

  29. Oh, dear, dear, Val. I’m so sorry. My heart sank when I read those words, “My husband left me.” I’m sorry you are in so much pain. I have been there; you know that. So if you need to commiserate or at least not feel as alone as you do right now, get over to my blog and read, read, read. I hope they’ll be something there to make you feel better. Consider it a huge virtual hug.

    On the topic of getting nothing but ‘No’ on the work front, I’ve had an equal share of frustration in that department in the last several years. It’s not fair, but if you need to talk or get some ideas, you know where I live. Maybe one of my posts can lend some insight and hope. I’m here for you. You’re not alone!

    • Husband left in December, it has been two months. I am battling the hurt and the alone. They say things come in three, maybe it is three months of really, this hurts more than I want it to or I can bear, even though I know I can and will I just don’t want too.

      Thanks Sue, I do know where you live and will read. Right now, as with so much else I am slow to reach out.

      • You’re in self-preservation mode, as you should be. Take the time you need, lick the wounds, and try to remember to eat, breathe, and sleep. You WILL be okay someday… I promise.
        Until then…

  30. Not much I can say. Just that I am listening.

%d bloggers like this: