My hair is mostly gray. I’m not young enough to engage in Twitter conversations with YA authors.
But not totally gray. I’m not old enough to be revered by them.
I write by the seat of my pants. I’m not degreed enough to talk shop with the MFA crowd.
I was raised in the church. But I’m no longer Christian enough for that culture, or the subculture of writers who are fighting to find their place in it.
I was married for a quarter century. I’ve been alone for nearly a decade. I’m not married enough to join you and your husband for dinner. I’m not single enough to find my tribe in a bar or a book club.
I’m not successful enough to make you want to be like me. I’m not handsome enough to catch your superficial eye. I’m not brilliant enough to write the novel that will make you fall in love with me.
I’m not prolific enough to overwhelm you. I’m not motivated enough to market what I’ve finished.
I’m not connected enough to call in favors. I’m not humble enough to learn from my mistakes. I’m not confident enough to make the mistakes I need to make.
I’m not a good enough writer to make you second-guess your decision to write. I’m not a bad enough writer to instill in you a feeling of well-deserved superiority.
My stories aren’t lyrical enough. Or direct enough. Or familiar enough. Or surprising enough.
I’m not sane enough to be someone’s anchor. I’m not insane enough to dangle my feet over the ledge.
I’m not polite enough to appease the easily-offended. I’m not profane enough to chat comfortably with the filter-less.
I’m not happy enough to make you want to be near me. I’m not sad enough…well, I might be sad enough for most things.
It’s all enough to make me want to quit. As a writer. (And sometimes as a human being.)
But then I remember the shadows with skin on. The characters I’ve found and the characters who’ve found me. Thomas Lingonberry, whose life is changed by a bomb, a girl, and distraction. Becky, who is so broken, so alone, so in need of a friend like Lindy. Or the girl in the tiger light who doesn’t want to remember the things she can’t forget. And all the other characters waiting in line for their stories to be told. Walter “Blue” Parkins. Pearl. Raspberry Lynette Granby.
And then I realize, I’m not only enough for them. I’m all they have.
In the worst moments, the loneliest moments when depression is lying to me and all I can see are the places where I’m not enough, the places where I don’t fit, I can believe they’re all I have, too.
I know that’s a lie. I have so much more. I’ll find my way back to remembering that, eventually.
But until then, they’ll be enough.