I was lying in my bed, feeling lazy and lethargic when my husband began prodding me to rise and greet the day, inquiring about my lack of ambition.
“What’s wrong, Angela?” he asked as he sat himself down on the edge of the bed, shoving disheveled sheets out of the way in the process.
When I simply shrugged my shoulders, he maintained his inquisition by running through a series of possible explanations for my prolonged state of repose. “Do you have stomach cramps again? Is your colitis acting up?” he probed. “Does your back hurt? Are you anxious? Are you feeling depressed? What can I do?”
I wasn’t anxious or depressed until that moment when he started barraging me with a series of questions. I felt like a criminal under interrogation.
His interrogation tactics succeeded as I succumbed to his inquiry and admitted to recent feelings of worthlessness and doubt. I confessed to lingering disappointment and depression about my job loss the prior year. I explained that I felt I wasn’t really contributing to society in a positive and productive way void of my full time teaching position. I also acknowledged that new ambitions were developing in my soul.
“Maybe I am supposed to write now,” I said. He looked at me a bit hesitantly. I lost my job last year, and the truth is I’m still grieving this loss. Another truth, however, is that I believe the cliché that things happen for a reason. Right now, I wanted to believe that reason was my writing.
After all, hadn’t I been seeing signs everywhere? I kept on seeing images and postings declaring platitudes akin to “When God closes a door, stop banging on it and trust that whatever is behind it is not for you.” Regrettably, the prevalence of such declarations was probably not a sign of my destiny, and rather an indication I had been spending too much fucking time on Pinterest again. Regardless, it was happier and more hopeful to believe, however deceived I might be.
My current worry was that I was also unwillingly deceived about my ability to write. Maybe I didn’t have a talent. Maybe I didn’t have a way with words. Maybe I would never write anything more than an obscure little blog that I had dreadfully neglected over the past few months.
“I don’t know,” I mumbled, “I mean, I want to write and sometimes I truly believe that’s what I am destined to do, but other times I fully doubt my ability. I just fuck things up.”
“Angela, you do not. You are a good writer. Your blog is good,” he offered as means of encouragement.
This failed to appease my current doubt. Good? Good? I was good? I didn’t want my husband, who ought to be my biggest supporter, to describe my work as merely “good.” I wanted him to describe my writing as superior or stellar – not good. His word choice was the equivalent of a coach patting the back of the worst fucking kid on the team with an “atta’ boy – nice effort.” That wasn’t what I wanted; I wanted him to prompt me to write, prevail, and publish.
I gulped down more self-doubt with his words, and then whined, “Good? I’m just good? I wish you believed in me more than that!”
“I do believe in you. You are better than good. You’re more than adequate.”
More than adequate? More than adequate? What the fuck kind of pep talk is that?
As I fumed over his further word choice, a memory of an old SNL sketch flashed through my mind. Rather than announcing though, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me,” I then imagined myself seated stoically in front of a mirror proclaiming, “I’m okay. I’m good. I’m more than adequate.”
This would most assuredly become my new mantra. I knew that the next time I just didn’t want to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, I need only assure myself that I am “more than adequate.” I would repeat “I’m okay. I’m good. I’m more than adequate. I’m okay. I’m good. I’m more than adequate” until I believed those ultra-affirming words and awoke ready to embrace the day, and whatever challenge lay in my way.
I’m okay. I’m good. I’m more than adequate.