There comes a point toward the end of every semester when all college students say, “I’ve had enough.” We become so exhausted by the general malaise of tests, homework and stress that only late-night fast food runs and hysterical sobbing can cure these woes. It is almost as if an intangible barrier of “enough” automatically pops up and informs us that the stress is taking its greatest toll.
While we may not realize it, this breaking point can be very positive, letting us know that we have done all that we can to accomplish the task at hand. The problem is that for so many of us, myself included, the concept of “enough” becomes detrimental, making us feel that we can never truly accomplish greatness. Our society rests on this notion that the grass is always greener and that there is always something better on the other side. Perfection is our communal and personal teleology.
While in small doses this catalyst can push us toward something positive, more often than not, it drives us into a depression that makes us think that there is always something more that we can do to improve. Our bodies aren’t properly toned, our voice is too effeminate, our skin isn’t the “right” color and what we are doing is simply not enough. We constantly grasp for a more perfected version of our work and ourselves, and in the process, we forget to remember just how beautiful we really are.
One of my favorite theater actresses, Sierra Boggess, has a mantra that she repeats to all of her students who attend her master classes: “You are enough. You are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are.” I will be the first to admit that I’m not necessarily one to take quotes to heart. I oftentimes question whether or not these celebrities are just blowing smoke and saying something that will maybe improve your mood for 24 hours.
However, it has taken me a great deal of time to realize that this simple phrase carries so much more with it than meets the eye. In my four years at Xavier, I always felt like there was something more that I could do. I needed to go to the gym more often, I needed to study harder for my tests, I needed to change my sexuality, I needed to stop eating so much and I needed to just be better. Who I was simply was not enough. If I can relate anything of wisdom to those reading this article right now, it is that you are enough.
There comes a certain point, similar to when you are studying, when you need to step back and realize that everything about you has worth. Regardless of your theological teachings or belief, you were endowed with a number of gifts, quirks and characteristics that create a truly composite you. I understand that this might seem like any other sappy posting about believing in yourself, but it’s more than that. We must embrace the “power of enough” to know that we are truly doing the best that we can and that what we have to offer has so much potential. We can take the opportunity to step back and realize not that we have more to do, but that what we have is all the more to appreciate.
There are many things in life that we cannot control: our height, our skin color, our sexuality, our family and our gender to name a few. These aspects can define who we are and make us feel that there is always something to change. If Xavier has taught me anything, it is that I am enough. I am so enough to speak out when I feel insulted. I am so enough to know that I am a person who deserves to be loved uncontrollably by another and feel so damn wanted that I would never change myself for the world.
And I am so enough that I can confidently leave this university and hopefully love others for just how enough they are. So, at the end of the day, whenever you feel stressed to the point of exhaustion, whenever you feel like there is so much going on that life is unbearable and whenever you don’t think that you have enough to offer, take Sierra’s words to heart. I say to you: You are enough. You are so enough. It’s unbelievable how enough you are.