Worth. Oh what a loaded word. There are examples of what worth can mean everywhere in this world. If you are talking about an object, generally the word worth means how much money is equated with the object. If you were talking about architecture, worth may mean the structural integrity, or possible the emotional investment, or even what is the artistic value of the building.
Webster’s dictionary says the meaning of worth is as such:
Main Entry: 2worth
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English worth worthy, of (a specified) value; akin to Old High German werd worthy, worth
Date: before 12th century
1 archaic : having monetary or material value
2 archaic : estimable
1 archaic : having monetary or material value
— for all one is worth : to the fullest extent of one's value or ability
Main Entry: 3worth
Date: before 12th century
1 a : monetary value <farmhouse and lands of little worth> b : the equivalent of a specified amount or figure <a dollar's worth of gas>
2 : the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held <a literary heritage of great worth>
3 a : moral or personal value <trying to teach human worth> b : merit, excellence <a field in which we have proved our worth>
I find myself speaking to the moral or personal value of the term worth. I feel like this word is used quite frequently in reference to a human being. Many people in the world divide up the different races, religions, sexual identities, and put them into different columns associated with different “worth” values.
How does someone decided how much someone is worth? This is the same mentality since the beginning of time. Slaves and women had a “worth” in the sense of dollars and cents for a long time, and some could argue that it very much is still that way in many, many parts of the world.
To me, my entire life, I have defined worth in the terms of myself and whether or not I was “good enough”. Good enough covers many areas if not all of my life. Am I good enough to be a good daughter, grand-daughter, sister, wife, employee, friend, leader. Pretty much this question, though unconscious, continues to run through my mind daily, constantly measuring myself against some impossible standard that I have decided would make me “good enough”. Even as I write this, I am asking my wife if this is good enough to post. I tell you, it seems hopeless for me at times.
I feel that this question of “good enough” began for me as a child. The majority of my life it was just my Mother and I. Though now I see that most of the emotional upheaval if not all while I was growing up really had to do with her own very poor self-esteem, I always felt as if I was the cause of all her unhappiness. I pushed myself to be perfect in everyway. When I got my first B in Sophomore advanced Algebra, I went home and sobbed for hours, certain that I had totally ruined my Mom’s day, simply because I had let her down, and had not, what I perceived, worked hard enough to earn an A.
My Mom would tell you to this day that she never expected perfect from me, but I disagree one hundred percent. Not only was it just her and I, but she leaned on me like an adult, I was her best friend. I knew about all our financial problems, I built her back up after a long day, I took care of things at home while she worked multiple jobs, I would avoid letting her know what bad things may be going on in my life to keep her stress down. I look back now and think how amazing it was that I kept it as together as I did. All of this was even more complicated by the fact that my Mom had health issues and it was perceived by me that she could drop dead at any moment, leaving me completely alone in this world. Also, I had become very self aware that most likely I was gay, and knew, even without her verbalizing it, that this was not acceptable to her, or the world through her eyes. I was not allowed to be me. My feelings didn’t matter. I built up such a high thick wall, that it’s been impossible for years for anyone to even chip one brick.
Into my adult life, I continued to be the one there for my Mom, even though she has married, and I also have twin little sisters now. She would call me, and it’d be one to two hours of me reassuring her that she’d done the right thing in whatever situation, and listen to her complain pretty much about all aspects of her life. Along with this, I began living a secret life of relationships with other women. Those women tended to be a lot like my Mom, never caring how I felt, making it there job to keep me as low as possible, and the sad sick fact was that I stayed for many years, it felt comfortable, I could handle that place.
Finally, I met a woman who is worth more then anything I could find, gain, make, anything in this world to me. She treats me with respect, she actually cares about what is going on in my life…..what’s this, what is this strange feeling. Too scary, must run away! That’s exactly what I did for a year and a half of our relationship, but she has kept on trucking….she has more strength, more love, then I feel I could ever deserve. I love this woman. Through loving this woman, I have began to truly see, how wrong it’s been for me to feel so worthless, so not “good enough” my entire life.
After coming out to my Mom, because I could not hide this most wonderful woman and the life that we had made together any longer….things seemed okay for a little while. My Mom would make her digs at my wife a little here, and a little there. Finally my Mom blew one evening, yelling and screaming at my Wife and I, in front of my 11 year old sisters. It was awful. I shut down, but my amazing wife did her best to stand up for me and her. More then what anyone could ask. I was so tremendously hurt, that for the first time in my life I decided to say just that to my Mom. I wrote her a letter, I told her how hurt I was, and just how worthless I felt. Her response was more horrific then I think I could completely describe. I’ll shorten it for ya…. “Well, I still have two other daughters to take care of, so if you die, that’s your decision…and oh ya, I don’t want you around your sisters pretty much ever”. I will give you a minute to really read that over, really dissect that. Here is a woman, and educated woman, a teacher….one who lost her brother to suicide not even two years ago. That’s it, the one daughter she claimed was her heart, throw her away, she’s not “good enough”.
That spoke volumes to me….it sent me into a spiraling depression, in which I took out my anger and my pain on the one woman who I loved the most, and who is the only one who has ever truly loved me for me, just as I am, who thinks I am always “good enough”.
I’m finally waking up from that depression, I’m giving the feeling of not good enough a name, I speaking about it, I’m calling it out of that deep dark closet, and I’m ready to kick it’s ass, along with those who continue to see me as some how short of their imaginary bar or yard stick they have set for me.
Hello world, this is me, and damnit, I’m good enough, better then that, I’m awesome! So kiss my ass and get in line if you disagree. I explain myself to no one, and I live as me…I’m going to have my happily ever after!
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