Why am I in the middle?
Why am I so lonely?

Am I good enough?
Am I doing enough?

How much better
will ever be enough?

What can I say aloud that isn’t
hidden, haunted by not-enough-ness?

She is surely the most
devious demon I’ve battled…

that I’m still battling,
in the shadows, every day.

My only consolation is knowing
I can’t be the only one…

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“These are the words that keep coming up for me,” she said. “‘Enough,’ and ‘in the middle.’ She had been in a constant push and pull between being okay with who she was and what she did, and always wanting to be better. She had become used to lonely roles in her life: she was an educational administrator (and the only one at her institution who held the role she did). She was the only professional woman in a large family. Her husband stayed at home to care for their children. She held a doctorate, and when she got married, she was sure she’d be a stay-at-home mom. Things hadn’t played out that way, and she was proud of where she had ended up, but she had rarely ever shared her desire from earlier in life with anyone. “It’s another element of me, and I wonder if it’s an element of other professional women that they can’t ever fully share, because it would be a sure-fire career stopper if you said it aloud,” she said. “I would love to see myself in this poem in a way that’s validating. I hope it can help others, as well, to be able to see someone else’s struggles and legitimize that they are okay, and enough, too.”

Interviewee: Anonymous, Staff
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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