I’m O.K.

Posted | 13 comments

I’m O.K.

A “friend” recently told me that the writing I’m doing and teaching I’m planing is a waste of my time. He said that since I hadn’t really done anything of significance, since I didn’t have a few million dollars in the bank, since I couldn’t roll off a list of worldly accomplishments, that I really had nothing to say and that I probably should sit down and be quiet. In his opinion, I’m not very good writer or teacher and my talk about pulling my life out of the ashes of years of self-sabotage isn’t interesting. 

Of course, I was quickly able to add to his list of things at which I don’t excel. I’m chubby and my house is a mess and my 5k time hovers in the low 30’s. There’s laundry to do and floors that need to be finished and walls that need to be repainted. There’s the mess in the basement and more stuff to sort through and a new dog to train. There are always papers to file and stuff to put up and errands to run. 

After adding to his list of my many shortcomings, to be fair and balanced, I had to consider in a year that apparently looks like failure to the rest of the world, if I had actually accomplished anything. Here’s my partial accomplishment list. I’ve written and published at least one essay on this website each week. I’ve done and can still do a chin up anytime I want. I ran a half marathon. I set up this website (and two others). With assistance, I actually wrote a line of code. I’ve sorted through and gotten rid of tons of stuff. I’ve hauled people places. I’ve cooked and cleaned. I’ve supported friends and family members through difficult circumstances. I’ve been there. I’ve shown up. I’ve loved. 

Yes, I wish I had a body of work that could be lauded and praised. It would be fun to regale you with my grand adventures as I traipsed around the world and impress you with all the famous people I met along the way. Millions in the bank would be nice as well.

But I made different choices. When I chose to get married, I chose to be a partner to my husband, equally yoked, carefully considering and addressing both of our needs. When I chose to have children, I chose to be available for them even when it meant I had to let go of work I loved because it pulled me away from home too many hours. When choose where to invest my time, money, and energy, I chose to invest in my family and friends.

Could I have done more? Probably. Could I have done things different? Definitely. Did I do my best in every situation? Not by a long shot, but it wasn’t for lack of effort or love. It was just lack of knowledge and skill and in most cases self-confidence.

I can’t change the past. All I have left is the rest of this life. I’m not going to abandon my family to chase some girlish dreams. I’m not going to cut my losses and start over. I’m committed to the people I love and their needs. I’m committed to what I’ve started here. I’m also committed to moving forward with purpose and intention.

 I’ll be the first to admit that my writing needs to improve, and maybe, I am a lousy teacher. All I can do at this point is to continue to learn what I want and need to know and continue to plan for the next phase. While I have no clear idea what my future holds, I am blessed with inspiring people and exciting possibilities to fill my heart and mind. 

To those looking from the outside in, to those who’ve not taken the time to get to know me, my “friend’s” assessment may appear right. Maybe, I’m not a success in any of the ways that the world deems worthy. Maybe, to many, my life looks like a big steamy pile of failure. Maybe, it has been nothing more then a big waste of time. But when my husband smiles at me, when my children call my name, when a friend offers a hug or a kind word, I know it’s all been worth it.

The person I was is gone. The person I’m going to be isn’t here yet. I’m o.k. being in that in-between-place, for now. I’m o.k. with sucking at things. I’m o.k. with failing, retooling, and trying again. As long as I’m learning and moving forward, I’m o.k.


  1. Denise, this post is BRILLIANT!!! I must admit to having not read your blog before, but after reading this piece, I shall be popping in for a “look around” more often. As for your friend’s opinion – I wonder where within himself he feels so lacking as to have to resort to trying to bring you down. I think his comments say heaps more about him as a person than they do about your talents and accomplishments. Success is not measured by what we have or how much money we earn, it’s measured by how well we get back up after a fall, and by how happy we feel within ourselves. In this manner, you seem pretty successful to me. Love your work! xxxx

    • Thanks, Cyndi. Please come back and visit anytime. Yes, I’ve definitely decided to not measure my success by what the masses determine. In my friend’s defense, he truly meant well and was not being malicious. He just has a different vision of what my life should look like.

  2. Hey Denise, It seems you probably need better friends. 😉 Not sure if you are a Christian but we recently had a series of bible studies that addressed our purpose on Earth and they centered on the belief that there is not anything on this Earth that only you can do….EXCEPT be a child, sibling, parent or loved one to your family….you have already figured it out. I love my imperfect life and those of us in it. 😉

    • I love my imperfect life too, Joe. Every single time I’ve had the option of choosing family/friend or something more worldly it’s always been the former for me. I’m not saying that everyone should follow suit. We do need to respect and support each other’s choices. My friend’s comment only renewed my commitment to becoming a better writer and teacher. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Oh my gosh! Who is that so called friend who doesn’t even know you? You have always been so organized and so good at anything and everything you do! And to my dismay, I have never seen your house look anything but beautiful, which always make me feel like a total slob! I say kick that “friend “right out of your life. Who needs someone like that around? Goodness knows we have enough critical voices running around in our own heads without having someone add that kind of commentary.

    • The beauty in this incident was that after a brief foray into beating myself up, I had the presence of mind to actually step back and take my own assessment. I’m sincerely happy with the choices I’ve made up to this point and know that if I had to go back and do it all over again, I’d make the same choices. Now, I’m on to the second act. I’d like this next part to look/be/fee different. So, maybe I will go and do something of note and if I get to travel the world and meet cool people in the process you will hear about it. If not, you’ll hear about that too.

  4. First, from this story I’d say the only true failure in your life is the failure to excommunicate from this ass you refer to as a “friend”.

    Next, I truly laughed out loud at the idea of you actually considering yourself chubby. I know we all have issue with our bodies, but you are NOT AT ALL chubby!

    Lastly, this ass obviously does not have the ability to see from the perspective of others as your writing has been of plenty significance. Maybe not to him in his narrow-minded pompous opinion, but to me and to a few others who have actually stated so in responses to what you have written. When readers like me see similarities in themselves to you and your experiences and epiphanies, we can find an exterior perspective to our own lives that help us to deal with our own self doubts/situations/whatevers, and we have actually lived more fulfilling lives with those new-found viewpoints. People feeling better and living better lives because of your writing is significant any way you look at it. Sure, there is a gradient scale to everything. Perfection can work as an insidious, ugly force that actually does make people sit down and be quiet rather than do anything at all. It’s truly admirable that you are on the scale with what you are doing than off the scale as he suggests. I’m part of this thing you call a world, and I don’t see you like he sees you in the slightest! You are more than okay, and I really do admire you, Denise!

  5. Denise, you hit the nail on the head when you said “the person I was is gone.” I came to that same realization recently… and how futile it is to attempt to recreate what “once was.” (LOADS of pressure gone in a heartbeat!) We are who we are NOW — the result of choices, decisions, and circumstances we made or encountered along the way — and lived to tell about it! That, to me, is success. Please keep telling (and writing) about it.

  6. You are more than okay, Denise! You’re awesome! You’ve been a great teacher to me through your writing. Whether you have a ton of money or recognition doesn’t matter… you’re life is chock-full of “riches” that money could never buy! By the way, I’m not so sure that “friend” was really being a friend. Just sayin’.

    • …but such a wonderful nudge to proclaiming self-worth!

  7. Wow, how perfect for me today! I was feeling like I wasn’t good enough and that maybe my work isn’t doing enough, reaching enough people, doing enough good but then I stopped and realized, through reading your post, that yes, I am ok… I am doing good things and though I may not be doing some huge amazing thing, I do little things that add up to being pretty amazing:) I am a mom, a wife and a speaker… though I may be far from perfect I am doing the best I can do and I do believe that is enough. For me, your writing hit a very important spot… it isn’t necessarily the quality of the writing but the spirit that is written that will touch lives and change lives too! Thank you for continuing to write because I need to read this today!!! And you are more than ok:)

  8. I love this post, Denise. I see such an amazing “stand” for who you are in the world and what you value. I have been following your posts since you launched this blog and they are rich. Your writing, your transparency, your heart. I don’t know anything about this “friend” but his feedback tells me more about HIM than about you and your path. Keep writing. Keep sharing. The world is better for it. xxxooo

  9. This is so beautifully said and I “second that emotion.” Keep up the good work and continue to acknowledge your progress, practice gratitude for all that is good and LOVE YOURSELF everyday!

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