Inadequate. That’s how I feel every time I sit down at the page.

Every time I put on running shoes.

Every time I open an email.

I’m not enough, ‘nough, ‘nough, but I’ll be damned if I give in. Every day is a fight against the great unknown, the land within.

There are people for that, they say . . . you whisper . . . They can help. They can help.

I knowww . . .

But I’m doing fine on my own. I’ve got my boxing gloves and heart of steel, my line of defense, my reason. I don’t need your Zoloft.

But how did you get here? Your peers are fine. They’ve got kids of their own now. Careers. Homes. You never wanted that, anyway. You were a woman with purpose, not a “Mom!!!”

That doesn’t mean I wanted to be alone.

But you’ve got it so good. Remember Taiwan when it was 100 million degrees and you didn’t have air-conditioning? When you didn’t have a place to wash your clothes? When you didn’t have an oven? You have SO MUCH to be thankful for.

And I am. I am . . .

. . . But if I have all of these things, and if I’m still struggling, is it my fault? Is it yours? Is it society’s?

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

True enough, but try again. That’s others’ problem, not mine. I think often of the Syrian and Rohingyan refugees, the Bangladeshis, the Cambodians. I’ve seen them. Seen their lives. Felt them. I have so much to be thankful for, and I’d give it up in an insta—

—So easy to say. Would you? Would you, really?



And yet.

Thankful is not enough. Purpose. Life is about purpose. What is the mother when her children leave the nest? What is the rich man on his dying day? What is the triathlete when the race is over? What REALLY matters?

Granted, I AM alone. I’m NOT a mom. I have TIME to think these thoughts, on my bed in my apartment in Tennessee — where the birds “sing pretty” and the rebel flag flies high. (Who knew the North-South controversy was still so strong? Not this California girl.) Why can’t we look for our similarities instead of our differences? Why does white privilege have to exist? Why must women be forced fight for their rights? If you really stop to think about it, it’s all SO DUMB.

But it IS real, and it IS relevant — just like the mother in rags living in a cardboard box in India. She’s only 23 but she looks 35. Her children will always be beggars. This is the caste they’ve been given, the lot they have won — just by being BORN.

The 16-year-old in Southern California whose grandma got liposuction, permanent makeup, and a boob job is real, too. LOOK like the stars, kiddo. That’s the real reason you’re here.

It’s a big world out there, they say. Shoot for the stars. Follow your heart.

But what happens when the stars forget to shine, and your heart breaks before you begin?


I’m gonna go for my run now. Wish me luck!


I went to a “Poetry Slam” last night — basically an open mic session for people to share their poems, which also included a performance by the American poet Buddy Wakefield. I’d never heard of Buddy before, but apparently he’s a pretty big deal. He’s performed on BBC, HBO, ABC and won Individual World Poetry Slams in recent years. His work is powerful; much of it is dark. I like the powerful part — not so much the darkness. I’m not sure I agree with his worldview, but I bought his book and liked how he signed it. He hit a nerve close to home, as you can see.

16 thoughts

  1. A hug across the internet to you, Jessica. That’s all, otherwise I would likely write a comment longer than your post. But just this … keep feeling, keep writing, keep dreaming, keep on keeping on, being you.

  2. Yes, I relate to the whole of this. Maybe a Dad instead of a Mom but you get it. Incidentally, I have a place to do my laundry this morning but I’m walking around wondering where I’m gonna hang it. 3rd world problems πŸ˜€

    • Nice to hear from you, Sreejit, and glad you can relate! Lol, it’s nice to connect with someone who understands both sides of the spectrum. I keep telling myself if things don’t work out in Tennessee I’m going to jump ship and head to Africa (or something).

  3. I can relate to so much of this I’m not sure where to begin! I am a mother now, but didn’t have my first (and so far only) baby until I was 40 (oops, I just aged myself). Your writing is so authentic and relatable. It was a beautiful post, as yours always are!

    • Thanks so much, Amy! And it’s so lovely to hear from you. I saw that you posted recently and have been meaning to make it over to your site!

      It’s funny — the posts I’m the most freaked out about often turn out to be my best. So glad you could relate to this. If I ever get married and have kids it will probably be in my 40s. There are things I’d still like to accomplish first… Really, I just wish I could live each decade twice! πŸ˜‚

  4. There is so much I would like to add here Jessica but I will leave you with if are missing being a Mom come spend the weekend w us and babsit. If you want to feel more than adequate lacing up your racing shoes race this runner or biker. Wishing you a good Monday and a great week! PS… birthday party this Sunday at the trampoline place. I bet you are more than adequate to fly high there too. whether babysitter or participant.

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