Live with intention

Tiny Copper Teaspoons.


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It was the kind of car ride you find wedged into the chorus of a Taylor Swift song. There’s no better way to say it than that. 

We left the sun behind in Nashville. Dinner plates scraped clean of vegan tacos and mashed sweet potatoes— we left those too. Our car rolled through the hills of Chattanooga. The GPS on the dashboard told us 212 miles. There were 212 miles standing between us and home.

Earlier that morning, we’d held coffee in to-go cups and disappeared into Nashville for the day. We left emails unread and messages unsent. Tennessee is like a human fist. It grabs you tight and pulls you close.

We rolled the windows down on the highway on the way home. She turned the heat up— full blast, so that the hot air would push against our faces as our arms hung out the window. Ballads trickled through the speakers. It felt like Sara Bareilles was laying across the backseat with us, sipping a latte and making us brave. We rode that way for two hours, the windows down and screaming lyrics at the topic of our lungs. The night air whipped through our hair. I felt so young.

And if I scan back to the exact moment I pinned that car ride into my diary, I want to eventually be able to recite the words I wrote by heart:

Life, while crazy, demands breaks. And the countryside. And conversations that cut you into two but somehow make you closer as one. And little care for calorie counts. And the promise of stars.  

Life, while crazy, is enough just like this.

Enough.

There’s the word. Enough. 

Even in just the three pages I filled in my diary this morning, the word “enough” was scribbled down 14 times. A word that is written down 14 times in your journal is a common theme; it’s something to pay attention to. And so the word is Enough. And the word last night was Enough. And the word, as of lately, is Enough.

I’ve struggled with that word. For years upon years, I’ve morphed “enough” into a conditional aspect of my life that is dictated by my circumstances and the people who surround me. If he thinks I am enough then I am enough. If she tells me I am enough then I am enough. If they validate me. If he calls. If she smiles when she greets me. I’ve been guilty of living a life that hinges itself on a series of “enough” moments throughout a day. I am just waiting to be emptied out enough to realize “enough” is not the sort of thing you can place into the hands of other people.

And “enough” grew fangs on the day social media raised up its arms and announced to the world, “I ain’t so social anymore. Me? Well, you’ve turned me into a ruler and a measuring cup and a benchmark for your life. You’ve morphed me into a flickering slideshow of other people’s highest moments.” And so I crop my own value. And I filter my own adequacies. And I ask myself bottomless little questions: Am I worthy like that? Am I pretty like that? Am I strong like that? Am I lovely like that?

But I don’t want to fight to be good enough. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I want to fight to make a difference. I want to fight to make it count. I want to fight to find you if you need to get found. But I don’t want to fight to be enough.

 

I spent too many years just like that. Like all the feelings I just wrote about above— all those questions— were ramped up high volume and taking steroids. I was desperate to just be told over and over again, “I like you just as you are. Don’t ever change.” I was desperate to find my value in what other people told me I was. And that’s because who I was didn’t make the cut. Who I was was constantly changing and morphing for the next guy. Who I was could change in 5 minutes. If you told me to be someone different, I would have listened to you. I would have swallowed hard and listened to you. Even if you and I never held hands or kissed cheeks or knocked knees beneath glass tables, I still would have wanted to be enough for you. 

And don’t you know that scares me? Because if I am always trying to be enough for you and other people then I am always, always coming home empty to the those that I love. That’s like a strange WebMD side effect to searching for “enough” in other people: you start running on empty. You jump the unnecessary hurdles. You exhaust energies on people who you’ll never be enough for. Because the word “enough” is a myth of a concept when every morning starts with handing the world measuring cups and rulers and saying out loud to all the people you meet: measure me. Make me feel good enough. The world has never deserved your measuring cups. Keep them locked up and only give the tiny copper teaspoons to people who stand by you when life falls apart.

You want to be everything to everyone. Maybe I’m wrong but maybe I’m right about that. If you’re anything like me then you’ve traveled through the deserts of “I want to be everything to everyone.” Those deserts be barren. Those deserts be cold. But I’ve still tried to make the trip. I’ve still tried to go the stretch of distance to get to the other side of that hope. And I’m afraid to find I’ll miss the water— I’ll spend so much time in that desert that I’ll miss the water that kisses my feet when I get to the river of “I am one heck of a something to someone.” That water will feed you. That water will pour back into you. That water— the refreshment of being taken in by someone, just as you are— is a different sort of gift. I’d give my whole life to that. Because it’s lovely. And it’s worth it. And people write songs about it. And it fills you far more than the measuring cups of “enough.”

 

That moment— the one with the car and the music and the heat and the windows down on the highway— was the strongest sense of “enough” I’ve felt in a long time. There was no wrestling to be better. There were no tiny copper teaspoons. There was no need to wonder what you would have thought of me in that moment. It was just me and the road and my best friend and a break from reality.

It was just me being so content in that moment that I didn’t want to capture it and I didn’t want to filter it. I didn’t want to change a thing about myself. I just wanted to learn to live inside of it.

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18 thoughts on “Tiny Copper Teaspoons.

  1. Hannah,
    I just pulled up to the coffee shop an hour early, wondering how I would use this time before a big conversation takes place, when my phone notified me of an email: fresh new words from you on your blog. So I got my cup of coffee and I found the table in the corner and I just sat down and read this post right now and I didn’t try to blink away the tears, even though some people think tears in public are wasted things. Thank you for finding the hope in the smallest of places, and spreading it far and wide for the rest of us.
    Love,
    Claire

  2. Abby says:

    this is so what I needed to read right now. I don’t even know how many times I have struggled to be enough for everyone, and to people please to the max. But that is not what we were made for. We were made to be enough for one person, ourselves. We were made to be content with who we are and only out of that will we become enough for other people.

    • Joy says:

      You took the words out of my mouth. One must feel complete being alone. True happiness comes from within. Only then can we let people share our life. Others will only come and go, you will alway be with YOU!

  3. Aisulu says:

    This is sooooo good!!!! I read your post several times & made some notes for myself…So simple, wise & deep!!! God bless you! ❤

  4. kellie ernst says:

    Oh babycakes, you little/giant wise one, you are enough. You are MORE than enough. And I’ve had that moment, that car ride; windows down, heater up and radio on blast–except the songs were different cause I’m old. But it was the feeling that was special; a full righteous heart, well loved and in love with all the wild scary hopeful world and the sense of utter enoughness. Yep, I’ve had that car ride. Thanks more reminding me.

  5. “I am one heck of a something to someone.” That water will feed you. That water will pour back into you. That water— the refreshment of being taken in by someone, just as you are— is a different sort of gift. I’d give my whole life to that.”

    I’m wondering if, when we are holding out for this sentiment do we miss the “I am enough for me”? I am enough in God’s eyes – and that’s all that ever matters. I guess I’ve had too many times of putting my toes in someone else’s water and still letting them decide if enough is really enough. Let me tell you, it never really was, because they are not me and I am not them and they always come with expectations that I be more like them.
    Perhaps I’ve become cynical in my thinking, but I’m way more committed to accepting my enoughness than waiting for someone else to. I’m not sure if I didn’t quite get what you were saying, but in the end of your post, it seemed like your realization (at least in that moment) was the same. Maybe initially feeling “enough” happens in tiny spurts and moments until it grows into something bigger. maybe…?

  6. Ellen says:

    Welcome to The South. Where Being Enough Is Much Easier To Find! Oh Atlanta I Hear You calling…… Your writing Has Only BeguN. Can’t Wait Till It Becomes Rich with Southern Everything! So Excited For You And Me.

  7. Pingback: blogs, books and The Book | thereturningwanderer

  8. I’ve learned to consider ‘enough’ a positive word…I’ve spent to many years placing entirely too much pressure on ‘enough’ too much measuring on ‘enough’…I realized ‘enough’ just is…and my ‘enough’ is a good thing, filled with unconditional love and positivity. I wish you peace as you come to terms with your ‘enough’. ❤

  9. h, your words never cease to pull at the depths of my soul.
    this. just man, you vocalized everything i’ve been realizing and struggling with the last few months.

  10. Sharie says:

    Thank you again, Hannah, for sharing your spirit and insights. I love it when a new post appears.
    So much peace came when I learned to love the descriptive word “adequate”. I am adequate to the task at hand. I do not need to be better than every one else. I can be below average and still adequate. My ego does not always need to win. The task that I am called to do right now, right here, can be done to the best of my ability with the time, energy and abilities available to me. Maybe my adequate job will be some one else’s place to begin and do a really great job. Sometimes my job is to encourage others for their wondeeful contribution.

  11. Brianna Soloski says:

    I have struggled my entire life to be enough. And now, as I grow older, I still struggle to be enough. I know that I am not enough for some people – not smart enough, not pretty enough, not a good enough friend. I’m not the girl he was supposed to marry, so I’m not enough. It’s a struggle I keep locked inside because to let it spill out would be to tell the world they are right.

  12. Hannah, you couldn’t be more right. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this – I’m not sure I’ve ever really given much thought to how much I occupy my thoughts with measuring up and being enough to someone or something or some cause or some job. I have to say that I have felt that same feeling of ‘life is perfectly enough, this moment is enough, I am in enough,’ when I’ve been on an open road, windows down, friends by my side, coffee in hand, music on. Maybe we all need to get ourselves out on a wide open road more often with playlists that make us want to sing along like fools and not care that our hair is getting into a crazy tangled mess with the windows down. Again – thanks for sharing. Love your writing style and voice (and your heart!) xo, Caro

  13. I’ve gone back and read this post several times and it gives me chills every single time. Your words hit me hard. I just finished high school and I spent so much time trying to be perfect: trying to get perfect grades, trying to be the perfect friend, trying to prepare for the perfect career. For weeks, I was struggling to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about all that I wanted to be and how I’d never be able to be it. Reading this reminded me of how much the simple moments mean. I need those moments when I’m not analyzing and planning everything. Those are the moments that end up inspiring me and guiding me. Those are the moments when I realize what matters. Yet, too often, I let them go. A few nights ago at around 4 a.m., I sat up and analyzed everything I’ve been doing; I decided to stop obsessing over my career and what I want to do with my life. I decided to stop beating myself up over the friends from high school who don’t seem to care much anymore. I decided to stop worrying about where I’ll go in the future. Right now, I’m here. And it’s beautiful. Your last line describes my feelings perfectly. Thank you.

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