kasey chambers at 3:11 am

You said you were afraid of failure, then told me I was too.

“Nope. Rejection,” I corrected you.  “Not abandonment or failure.  Rejection.”  I was firm on this shade of emotional pewter; I’d spent a day in it, wearing yellow ducky boots.

You were solid on the failure idea, and I was quite wrong.  “Failure and rejection are codependent,” you said without saying codependent. 

“You must think so because you’re a boy.  As a woman, I’ve never seen rejection linked to failure.  I’ve felt rejected because I’m a girl, not due to my failure at being a boy.”

“Enough,” you said, “You’re afraid you won’t be enough of anything.” 

Not pretty enough.  Witty.  Loving.  Patient.  Enough.  No matter how I try, my biggest fear is that my heart has been too broken, and you see that in the text messages, in my silence, in my sigh.  I’m just a little scared puppy girl.  You see through me, right down to my inner Kasey Chambers, the cut you heard in Tower Records from the only song on the album you liked.

I sat on you like a teenager, placed your hand on my breast.  It felt like walking down a street, where I called your name, but you wouldn’t turn around. 

After sex, a cry kind of happened.  You might have heard.  It was fast.  “I hate that I’m so broken,” came out.  I want to be better, to have a handle on all of the mess that stirs in the middle of the night, when I cry out in my sleep for a dishtowel or manila envelopes.  It’s hard to make my habits disappear.  To stop holding everything I’m afraid will slip away.  The only things about which I worry are the ones I cannot control.  Transience.   

“What sweetie?”

“I shouldn’t be in a relationship.  I need to make sure I’m whole.  Why am I so insecure?”  I try to be enough, to me, for you.  I want to make you laugh and cry, enough.  And you see through me.

“If anyone is whole, it’s you, and you’re not broken.”  I’m under construction.  “Besides, I’m not letting you go anywhere.”

“Good.”  Then I stopped crying, and we fell asleep, my foot over yours.  It was more than enough.  I’ll catch you next time.



  1. "Not Pretty Enough" is as sad and wrenching a song as there is. I think it's her voice that puts it over the top. "The Captain" too — they both explore surrender, roles and self-image and self awareness. And "Not Pretty Enough" is the only good tune on that album, whatever it is. It's her voice and the honesty that gets you there. Puts you in that shrinking space in her little world and leaves you there like an inflatable clown punching bag and hangs you out to dry.

  2. Somehow this post seems to end on a more hopeful note than some of your other melancholy melodies. I like it.

  3. You take the Venus-Mars insghts to new heights. Thank you for continuing my education.

    Your sentence, "I try to be enough, to me, for you" made me wonder if "I try to be enough, to you, for me" might be more accurate.

    This was a good read. Even the second time, which for me is a litmus test for good writing.

  4. One day in the future, a young English teacher will photocopy this post for her ninth grade students during the "women's literature" section of the school year. They'll parse the sentences and dissect the word choices and the boys will giggle at the mention of your breasts…but hopefully these teenagers (the girls especially) will appreciate some of your insight and wisdom. And good writing.


  6. Stephanie, it occurred to me this weekend that you remind me of Erica Jong (another Barnard grad, if I'm not mistaken). And hopefully you take that as a compliment.

  7. Stephanie, we love so greatly that when its not reciprocated to that extent, the rejection hurts that much more. You're not broken, you're not under construction, you're just tired of being hurt because each time you might lose another part of what makes you…you. Its mean to say that we have to build walls to protect ourselves because you shouldn't have to protect yourself from love.

  8. One more thing, the stuff you say sometimes scares the shit out of me. I understand all too well. And I have to agree with what one of the other readers said, this post does end on a better note and that makes me happy for you.

  9. I love Kasey Chambers she speaks my heart when I can't formulate the words just as you do. Keep on keeping on

  10. Read a book called "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. It will speak to your soul. So much of what you write is echoed in that book. Every woman should read it.

  11. From someone who still has a broken heart—-I always go by this scripture:

    "He heals the broken hearted, binding up their wounds." ~Psalm 147:3 (NLT)

    And it somehow makes me feel a lot better. Have hope, faith, and know that you can love again completely.

  12. "I am under construction….", so powerful and honest and vulnerable, I love this. And I feel sad that I have not been….enough or he has not been…enough for me to write a story like this.

  13. Love the blog. Really heart felt and honest. I love that type of honesty. That honesty that we are lacking in the world today. Keep it real girl. ANd keep us going..

  14. I am addicted to your blog. Spend more time reading it and exploring your site than I probably should considering that I do it at work. However noticed that you do a lot of crying. The ability to analyze your inner self and demons is a great skill however it would be nice to read about more happy moments and happy thoughts than all this melancholy.Seems to me that mysery becomes more mysery.

  15. Evocative post, like so much of your writing.

    I suspect the world would be a much different place if we put more currency in our own perceptions of ourselves – and less in the perceptions others have toward us.

  16. New to your blog LOVE IT!, hope I said LOVE it. Anyhow, my question is when you refer to this man that you want to be so perfect for is your "future" husband you are refering too. Correct?

  17. I always think of two things when I read your posts:
    1. How I don't relate at all, to anything you say and how sad it is that there are so many people out there that do (meaning they are equally screwed up).

    2. How is it you even HAVE a relationship? Your guy must be in worse shape than you if he thinks YOU are a prize.

    It's all so pathetic.

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