Enough Is A Myth

Please excuse the rant. Sometimes I have to vent, even at situations I help to create or perpetuate. This post is a lesson I’m trying to internalize. I hope it is helpful to you, too.


Not good enough
Not smart enough
Not thin enough
Not pretty enough

Seems like all women get these messages fired at their heads constantly, beginning nearly from infancy. They come from both without and within. Culture, peer groups, authority figures, and just about every form of media (books, movies, music, magazines, even the news) all seem to deliver and reinforce the idea that there is a perfect woman, an ideal standard that, unless you live up to that standard, you are less than, not good enough.

I’m no less susceptible to this thinking than anyone else. Only on top of all those external sources of pressure and criticism, I have become skilled at the art of self-sabotage, adding to the list above: Not butch enough

Even among our own community, it seems, the concept of an ideal standard persists. But just who sets the standard and what it’s parameters are, elude even those who seek to compare others to it. And, really, in something so personal as gender identity and expression, who truly believes that there can be only one model of perfection?

The perfect butch, the ideal dyke, the ultimate lesbian is a unicorn. And “enough” as a qualification in relation to that supposed ideal is as much a myth as the unicorn itself.

Of course, everyone desires to be better, improve themselves in some aspect or another of their personal make-up. That drive to do more, be better, refine and build on our skills and attributes, is a primal instinct and a component of innate competitiveness. It’s natural and understandable, even desirable in healthy expression and moderation.

But to impose an artificial standard of excellence on any fundamental aspect that forms a person’s identity does violence to that person’s freedom of self-direction. The most basic measure of sentience (intelligence), in my view, is the ability to identify and define ones self. And the most fundamental freedom a human can have is to exercise that ability as often and in as great variety and with as much creativity as that person chooses to apply.

By imposing artificial limits or requirements on a person’s expression of identity, you restrict that person’s fundamental freedom. That’s discrimination as brutal and arbitrary as any perpetrated by government action, modern or historical.

Imagine a government deciding that [insert minority group here] are not eligible to receive [insert right/benefit here], merely on the basis of that minority status, even though such rights or benefits are derived from tax payer dollars. To wit:

Blacks aren’t free men/women
Women aren’t eligible to vote
Gays aren’t eligible to marry

Sound familiar? We all are outraged by such arbitrary and capricious exercise of power and privilege to deprive others of basic freedoms. Why then are we complicit in that same discrimination on the basis of gender identity and it’s expression?

It is true that reasonable debate can be had about almost any topic the human mind can invent. But reason so seldom comes into this. I see on the Internet (blogs, comments, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) commentary seeking to define precisely what is butch/not butch, femme/not femme and everything in between. You’d be shocked at how much of it is NOT intended to be a joke, too. Add to these each person’s own internal critic bashing their own identity/expression against the imaginary ideal, and it’s a wonder our whole society isn’t perpetually garbed in sackcloth and ashes.

I posit that this proclivity to judgement on such a personalized issue is due in part to the myth that gender identity is pure choice and therefore capable of standardization. (Gender is proposed as choice, versus homosexuality, which is innate.) That leads folks to compare each other to the supposed standard and the advent of “enough” as the measure of success or failure (along with “really” and “true” and other terms of gradation; i. e. that look is really butch, she’s a true femme, soft versus hard butch, etc.).

Believe me, though I’ve encountered more of this from my own internal dialogue than outside criticism, the school of thought definitely exists.

But I’ve had enough (excuse the pun).

I’ve concluded for myself, for my life, that ‘enough’ is a myth. Instead, I choose a strict binary (oh, irony!), yes or no ruling when it comes to my exercise of the freedom of self-direction. Either it [insert identity attribute here] is or is not a part of my identity and it’s expression. And since mine is the only opinion on my identity that matters, there is no such thing as whether I’m ‘me’ enough.

I am butch and that’s enough.


4 comments so far

  1. Femmi on

    I struggle constantly with the idea of being enough… though my internal dialogue tells me that I will never be a good enough [add descriptor here]. I have to fight against feeling like I am not a good enough girlfriend, not good enough in my profession, not good enough in my family. It is a massive burden to bear and an on going stuggle to accept myself as I am and as the unique and gifted person I am.

    One day I hope I will grow to the point that I am me enough not to let external influences determine my worthiness but alas I am not there yet.

    I thing the myth of enough transcends gender. The constant message bombarding people that they are good enough in any situation is sadly pervasive and can me damaging for anyone.

    Love that you are blogging more frequently!

    And darling… you are by far butch enough. You’re an amazing person.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      You hit upon the true lesson: this mythos is damaging for everyone, regardless of gender or other differentiator and must be battled. If we let it, the myth will subvert reason and the saboteurs (from without and within) win.

      Thanks for your confidence, love. Know that you are so much more than enough in every way…you’re a rock star in my book!

  2. lesbiannefree on

    You are enough. I am enough!
    It is an ongoing theme for me, too.
    I’ve noticed you are posting blog writings more often and recognize that accomplishment! I love that for you while I on the other hand seem to be experiencing a drought. That internal gremlin will jump at any hint to tell me
    I’m other than good enough. I am good enough! I am enough! And so are you!
    thank you for your heartfelt shares.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Yes, you are! Keep fighting that gremlin & write. Even if you don’t feel it’s ready to post, write. If you don’t have a post in mind, there’s still *something* on your mind. I find that even just writing a quick note to myself gets me past that first hurdle of the internal critic. And once you’re past that, you have momentum. #yougotthis

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