I have a very vivid memory from a moment in my childhood. I’m sat at my desk in third class. I must be 8 or 9 and I’m having a spelling test. “Spell E-N-O-U-G-H” – the teacher commands. My mind goes blank and the word will not take on any shape for me at all. It’s flatlining in my head. Enuuuuuuufffff. Puff. It disappears in to the ether. My spelling record of perfect scores is broken and Enough was my downfall.
I’ve had an uneasy relationship with it since.
As an OCD sufferer – my compulsions to repeat rituals like touching light switches and door frames had me telling myself “You’ve not done Enough, do one more. And another”.
Insecure teenager – not thin Enough.
Flirting with bulimia – my body didn’t seem to know it had Enough and hours later I’d fast and purge.
As a first proper jobber – I was not earning Enough. With boyfriends – I was not loved Enough. Or maybe even worthy Enough.
Then as a wife and mother, as an employee… was I good Enough at the juggle or even at one?
Decades later the word still haunts me. Taunts me. Though it never really went away, Enough came knocking at Mumsnet blogfest.
The date crept up on me – so preoccupied was I with figuring out my purpose (the impetus behind this blog – Mahogany soup) and flagellating myself for the task taking up so much of my time. My DH had given me a pass for the whole day. I’d shed my Life and my Worries on the 7.51 to Waterloo. I arrived at Kings Place in good time and queued for my badge. What a genius stroke from Mumsnet Towers and because of it I felt a little braver in my approaches to other bloggers.
Was it really twelve months since I’d outed myself as a blogger in Pimlico last year. I hadn’t achieved all I’d hoped for my blog ( a cause, wider audience…world domination…invites to international blogger conferences). I hadn’t embraced social media. My last tweet was sent back in 2012. I still didn’t have a top drawer novel.
In fact, I felt a bit of a fraud and I hoped I wouldn’t run in to anyone from the last gathering who might hold me accountable. “Hey, mahogany soup…oh yeah…didn’t you say you would…”
I put that to the back of my mind as I scanned the programme and planned my day, making sure to note the wheres and whens around Lionel Shiver’s appearance. Now there’s a woman who wasn’t going to disappoint. Richard Bacon proved himself a very adept Chair as he wagged his green pen like a referee in the ring while Toby Young and Stella Cressy (MP) did the rounds and took the blows.
I passed my lunch break on the Honda conundrum. I found my twitter voice and got a kick out of seeing my tweet display on the screen behind the speakers. Though it wasn’t clever enough to bag the box of Beverley Hills buns.
It was sometime after lunch and before Jo Brand that I met Morwenna who blogs at Noprizesfornormal. We talked about meaning and worth and mantras. She offered one to me and I recoiled. I wondered if she noticed. Three little words I couldn’t bear to take on. “ I am Enough”.
I could hear that she found great comfort in them. Maybe she was Enough. But is being Enough really good Enough? In that moment I thought how I was not Enough. I can’t possibly be Enough.
We talked some more before clanking badges and going our separate ways.
The day was coming to an end. I went along for the gin reception where I sipped Prosecco until I knew it was time for me to go. My Life and Worries were waiting on the 7.12 from Waterloo. I checked out my goody bag – good Enough. In that closing session, instead of talking about lipstick feminists and jam making and big baps we could have been talking about being Enough. Because I hear we are.
As I left Kings Place I knew I wasn’t alone. Enough was coming home with me. What would Life and Worries make of that. Enough wouldn’t be the easiest house guest but I was willing to see how we’d get along.
Sponsor Mark Warner are asking for holiday tips to be eligible for a holiday give away competition. Here’s one of mine:
When you arrive at your destination, be it a hotel, resort, campsite…find out who is leaving and make an approach. Buy them a drink and get all their tips, the gems they only just discovered in their last few days but wished they had chanced upon at the beginning of their holidays. You might even get bottles of shampoo, used guidebooks and buckets & spade sets. And remember to be as generous with your time and holiday surplus to the new arrivals when your departure date comes. Karma and all that.