[What I had for breakfast today: jasmine rice, an egg, lots of kale, and Adam's kimchi.]
"Mama," said Kamal the other day, "you draw a picture, and I'll color it in."
"Okay," I agreed. "But, honey, you know, I'm not very good at drawing."
Kamal laughed as though I'd said the funniest thing ever. "That's exactly what Daddy said! But then he drew a really good picture! Quick, come look, I hung it on my bedroom wall."
He took my hand and pulled me into his room, where he beamed at the drawing he'd proudly taped to the wall. "See?" he said, pointing at stick-figure animals and ambiguous clouds. "Daddy's SO good at drawing! Look how good it is!"
And so I produced an equally ambiguous drawing, and Kamal commended it just as expansively as he'd commended Adam's. "Mama, I love it, it's beautiful," he glowed.
So I thought I was bad at drawing. I've always thought I was bad at drawing. But Kamal thinks I'm so artistically gifted that my self-criticisms are absurd enough to be hilarious. I'm not good enough for me, but I'm good enough for him. And--well, I'm not trying to land a job in animation or as a police composite sketch artist or as a graphic designer. I am trying to be an involved mother, though, and apparently I draw well enough to do that.
What are you good enough at that you always thought you were terrible at? What are you hiding under layers of self-criticism? Do you not dance at weddings because you're not the fantastic dancer you wish you were, even though your friends would love dancing with you no matter what your moves are? Do you skip the shivery pleasure of diving into a lake at the end of a hike because you just don't feel skinny enough, even though none of your hiking buddies would judge you and some of them probably envy your strong legs and curvy hips? Could you be singing louder? Could you be submitting to more publications? Could you be happier, more realized, more present in your life if you let yourself decide that you are enough, just the way you are? Could you look at yourself and see how you're so much more than adequate, how truly you nourish the people who love you, how you don't have to be Miss America or Martha Stewart or Monet to deserve accolades and affection and joy?
Thanks to Kamal, I could. I could quiet all the critical voices, pick up a pen, and draw a rainbow with my little boy. I am not Monet; I am Mama, and I am really, really good at being that.