If you’ve been following my Enoughness Project, you know I took three months off from material spending in order to uncover on my own innate enoughness. (see the end of this post for my boilerplate about this.) Rather than buying shiny new things to make me feel like I’m enough—i.e., cool enough for a girls’ night with the momshells, smart enough for a business meeting, tasteful enough for a wedding, yogi enough for a yoga class, organized enough for a playdate, effortless enough for dinner guests, hip enough for x, sexy enough for y, vibrant enough for z—I opted to believe that I was innately enough for all of these things and that I did not need to buy something new in order to make me feel like it.
Mission accomplished. It was a bumpy ride, but since I began the project in April, I definitely do shop and spend less; am more aware of my inner drives where appearances are concerned; buy material items only when they’re premeditated and of great quality (because everyone’s grandma taught them that quality lasts); and am in a reasonably stable habit of stopping myself as soon as the inner mean girl speaks up, replacing her screeching with kinder, truer self-talk. Stuff like, “Emily, remember how awesome you are? The Universe doesn’t care about this other stuff. Just be you. You are enough! Remember?”
All that said, while I’m buying material items again (please note the pleather-accented leggings in the above photo) my journey to a sense of complete enoughness is far from over.
I’m finding new facets to the journey and new ways to push myself beyond my old patterns at every stop on this ride. Let’s talk about two recent trials, which I’ll go ahead and count as Enoughness victories.
I went to a Chicago Fashion Week event and didn’t once tell myself I didn’t belong there. Not even once! This is a major coup. Even bigger, I didn’t freak out about what to wear or compare my body to the models’ bodies. Other related victories: I managed not to text a photo of my outfit to my sister for approval before I left the house, mysteriously made myself at home walking around in four-inch heels, smiled like a loon from the second row throughout the entire show and only felt a little insecure when I shook hands with Lagi Nadeau, my favorite designer from the night. (I mean, who meets Parisian fashion designers? Not me!)
I struggled a bit when Bob tried to snap a couple close ups of me at the after party, which was on the stage at the Pritzker Pavilion. I got flustered with posing for the camera and ended up making really unattractive faces, which I hope were immediately deleted from his phone. “Hmm. You’re tough,” Bob said.
“I know. I just don’t know how to pose for a picture and still be myself. I get so nervous.”
“Be someone else,” he offered. Wait, I actually think I might be incapable of that. In any event, something to consider next time I’m being photographed.
Other than getting my picture taken, which does unnerve me, it was a true miracle that I could go to something like this–and I know how first-world crazy this sounds–feel no anxiety and no drive to be anything other than who I actually am. The only time me being me got awkward was when I struck up a conversation with the fancy-haired guy in the green suit as we walked to the after party. At worst, he was downright bitchy. At best, he was just not interested in making friends.
My other big triumph of enoughness? I got into a pool. Yep, I strapped on a suit, a cap and some goggles, and I followed the black line up and down several times like the olden days. Admittedly, it may have been a spectacle because my muscles froze at the 75-yard mark, but I was in that water giving it a go. Exercise is good for me, and running hurts my leggies, so in addition to the new tantric vinyasa class I am LOVING, I think swimming is my thing. But swimming carries some baggage for me. In my head, my swimming skillz used to define me. And it’s absolutely terrifying to be in a swimsuit in front of other swimmers. Particularly as I now rock the mom bod. Also, I’m self-conscious about my face sans makeup. Add raccoon eyes and I’m doubly concerned. Well, friends, I braved it all, and I have the under-eye goggle lines to prove it. What’s more, I had fun, I got to chat a lot with a fun fellow swimmer during practice (stuff I might’ve gotten screamed at for doing when I was 17) and my body completely released all the stress that’d been building. My body is thanking me, too. I think it might be saying, “See? You are enough to try swimming again. It doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t have to be diehard. You have nothing to prove anymore. It can feel good. It might even be fun.”
I’m definitely going to go with fun.
ENOUGHNESS PROJECT. This post is part of a series about my experiences in uncovering my own innate enough-ness. For three months, I am abstaining from frivolous material purchases, accepting all blessings that come my way and focusing on gratitude for all that I have. The idea came to me in a meditation-induced haze and it has nothing to do with politics or morality. I’m just a girl who’s hoping to: separate the association between looking good and being good; get comfy with receiving; become a glowingly grateful human being; get acquainted with my own motives for material consumption; grow my understanding of when/why I buy things; and establish new habits that are more aligned with my values. We’ll see how this goes…