Gnawing

I’m gnawing on possibility
the suggestion that my dabbling
could amount to something

What? my gut protests
reminds me of limitations
physical constraints

But I’ve had room to breathe
and resources at hand
and creativity, expansive

dwells in possibility
nibbles at suggestions
mind scrabbles to find

excuses – laundry,
a drawer that needs sorting
but the door has opened

and I’m seeing a path
a way through the noise
a sliver of light beckoning.

(For Ragtag’s daily prompt: gnaw. Image my own.)

Enough

Whatever you do
give it 110%

Father’s words
whirl,
confuse,
belittle

ambiguous, at best,
attainment remote

I am not enough

Good, better, best,
never let them rest…

morning chant –
eggs and bacon,
(seldom acceptable)
served up
by an ever-inadequate
mother,

Father’s criticism
whipping,
cruel

I will never be enough

apologize before beginning
a wallflower
on the social scene
a plebe
in the working world

presence hesitant
accomplishment tentative

Winners never quit and
quitters never win

blood boils
silently
I scream

Till I cannot bear one more
extempore lecture
face my foe
square on

catch a glimpse
of what?…
self-doubt?
fear?

These tirades
are not personal
it is not my ineptitude
at stake

merely the railings
of a tortured soul
trying to find
solid footing
on unsteady ground

I am learning to be enough.

(V.J.’s weekly challenge is accomplishment.  I’ve been pondering why it is so difficult to feel as if I’ve accomplished anything, when logically I know I have.  The daily prompts helped me to put this in context.  Thanks for Fandango for ambiguous, Ragtag Community for extempore, Daily Addictions for remote.)

Humility vs Ego

“How did you do on that calculus exam?”  A tall brunette pulled a chair up to the table, directly across from me.   The cafeteria was bustling with the usual suspects.

I shrugged. “Okay.”  I tried to keep my voice nonchalant.

“Man, that was brutal.  Who needs calculus anyways?” The blonde who joined us was slender, and preppy.  I noted that several boys watched as she approached and then mumbled approvingly amongst themselves.

“I need to study more,” another classmate complained, as she dumped a pile of texts on the table.  “I just don’t seem to be able to grasp the concepts.”

“Yeah, well someone in our class does.  I heard one person scored 100%.”  Our lunch group was growing in numbers.

“No way!  That’s not possible.”  A loud rumble of surprise and disapproval erupted around the table.

I kept quiet.

Then Izzy arrived.  Izzy was one of my closest friends, and also my seat mate in math class.  She knew the truth.

“Congratulations!” she oozed, before I could stop her.  “Another 100%!”

“What?”  The brunette across the table from me blurted.  “You’re the one who got perfect?!  How’s that possible?”

All eyes were on me.

“No offense, or anything, but you’re not all that bright.”  She had always proclaimed to be the smart one, and I can see that this revelation was making her truly uncomfortable.

“Izzy’s joking,”  the blonde proclaimed.  “If you didn’t ace it, then there’s no way she did.”

“Well, she did!” Izzy responded.  “She’s smarter than you think.”

“I don’t get it.”  the brunette questioned.  “If you’re so smart, why do you act so dumb?”

She had a point.  I’d learned to hide my intelligence after years of bullying and beatings.  But why act so dumb?

It was a question I would ponder for years to come.  Not bragging about my accomplishments felt right, but my motivation for doing so was not so admirable.

How do we balance our very human need for acknowledgment with a desire to be humble?