Not Good Enough

Kelli - Valparaiso, Indiana
Entered on January 21, 2011
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This I Believe: No matter how hard I try, I believe I am not good enough. From the time I was a young girl my step-father inadvertently drilled into me just as a drill instructor forces his troops to mindless march and do as he says, sometimes knowing exactly what is being said to them with only a mere look communicated between the two.

When my mother married my step-father, he was the first father I had known. There had been other men in my mother’s life that had stayed for a while, but, like my own birth father, they too left. Although, they left of their own accord, my father left by God’s.

From the time I can first remember my self running across our suburban yard, my legs were chubby and my arms were just as well. My face showing quite a bit of the cherub look, however my stomach resembled much more an Ethiopian than cherub. I was me.

It wasn’t until my step-father came into the picture did I ever realize that I didn’t measure up that I wasn’t good enough. Before him, I believed as most children, that I was great that I was perfect, well aside from all the no’s my mother echoed.

I didn’t clean my room well enough, didn’t do the dishes good enough, didn’t walk home fast enough, my grades weren’t good enough, I wasn’t skinny enough, my gender wasn’t even good enough, after all he had his perfect daughter, his Angel, she was skinny and made good grades and in his eyes perfect.

I can remember at the age of 8 or 9 my mother trying to bribe me that ‘if you lose weight, then I will buy you all new clothes for school’ when I knew full well that no matter what I also got 4-5 pairs of pants 3-4 shirts and a new package of underwear and socks for each new school year. This had been a common addition to my dwindling wardrobe every year since I began school.

When I became old enough to work, I did just that. I went to school and worked as much as I could, and I worked hard. Always receiving compliments from managers and customers of how great I was, I worked hard and rarely ever got in trouble for not being good enough, because as these complete strangers knew, I was great at what I did.

When I graduated High School, I can remember my Step-Father coming with his new wife, he patted me on the shoulder and said ‘Good Job, Kid’, this was the only compliment I ever recall and I guess as far as he was concerned, that was good enough.