This post is all about the idea of not being ‘enough.’ Many of us who tick a few diversity-type boxes are given the view – either from others or ourselves – that we are somehow not enough. A good example is my gender identity. I am a very out loud and proud non-binary person. I know my identity. I am strong and firm in my sense of who I am as a trans and non-binary person. However for some time I was haunted by the idea that I was ‘not trans enough.’ The clothes I wore were in some way not androgynous enough. I hadn’t had any medical intervention related to affirming my gender and people were always misgendering me and assuming my gender based on my appearance. I doubted my identity as a trans person. This feeling stayed with me until quite recently. Then I came across the wonderful realisation that I am transgender so by necessity I MUST be trans enough because I am trans! My identity is what makes me who I am, not some ignorant people’s assumptions or my own self-doubt. I am more than trans enough. I am beautifully trans. I also discovered that pretty much every trans person in the world gets misgendered. It says nothing about our identity and everything about the ignorance and assumptions that others can make. It was a lovely realisation for me to understand that my identity is valid.
There is another ‘enough’ issue though which is possibly more challenging than that borne out of self-doubt. This is the ‘not enough’ that other people project onto us. I attended a Zoom meeting of disability advocates last year. I felt a sense of hostility but dismissed it. Then one of the attendees asked if I had support workers. I said I didn’t and the sense of hostility increased. I don’t know for sure because I am not inside people’s heads but I strongly suspect I was viewed as ‘not Disabled enough’ for this group. I wasn’t asked to attend any further meetings of the group. Another person cast aspersions on the degree of severity of my mental illness because I sold a house whilst recovering from an episode of psychosis. Apparently I shouldn’t talk about my mental illness because it was evidently not very severe.
I needed to unpack that accusation. In 2019 I became extremely unwell with psychosis and depression. I spent eight months in hospitals and residential services. I put the property on the market less than a month after being discharged from hospital. The reason I sold the property was that anxiety around home maintenance had in part triggered the episode of illness and Mr Kitty, my beautiful black cat and the soul of my apartment, passed away while I was in hospital and I couldn’t stand being in the place. Selling the property was extremely stressful and resulted in me going into residential care for a further two months but the alternative of keeping it was far worse than the option of selling it. So yes, I sold a property but not knowing the circumstances behind the sale resulted in an unhelpful assumption that I was ‘not unwell enough.’
I think the issue with ‘not enough’ – both projected onto your own view of yourself or others’ judgement – is that it is based in assumptions. You cannot know another person’s journey. Each action has a story behind it and what one person finds challenging another finds easy and vice versa. We are ALL enough. It is not right to assume on behalf of another person and it is not OK to question yourself for that matter. Just remember that we are all enough. We take our own district path though life. One of my very early Yemes was a picture of a small child with the caption ‘you do not know what she will be. She is precious whatever her path’. And I would add to that that she is enough. We are all enough and it is not OK to judge others based on incomplete information or assumptions and stereotypes.