I Am Enough: Why Jessica Said Yes

Sarah’s Note: And last, but certainly not least, is Jessica. Jessica is a wife/mama/storyteller/light chaser. She’s a bad ass photographer and the Director of Image and Visual Branding at The Project. Asking Jess to be a part of this team was a different kind of proposal - sort of like proposing to your high school sweetheart after you’ve been living together for a decade. I didn’t have to work at all to know that this Project needed her to help make it real - she’s been making it real with me from the beginning.

I first met with Jessica in late 2017 to tell her about this rough idea in my mind, this little tug I had to create a virtual space for women to belong with substance and strength. I knew I needed pictures, but not just any pictures. I needed the kind I knew Jessica could capture. She said yes then, and kept saying yes all year when I would call her and ask… “Could we take just a few more because this woman just shared her story and …”

Yes. Yes. Yes. Over and over, she offered her time and her talent to make this Project real.

So, imagine my surprise when I asked Jessica to be on this team and her first answer was “I think you’re fucking insane.” Ya, she can be a little fiery, that one. But I’ll let her tell you all about that moment. She does it much better than I ever could.

Do you ever feel like you don’t quite belong?

My whole life I’ve felt that way. Like there was no where I could truly call my place. I sure wasn’t an academic in high school. Wasn’t popular. Didn’t smoke weed. Didn’t play an instrument. Didn’t do sports. Was never late but also skipped school. Tried Spanish club but couldn’t conjugate to save my life. Did plays but wasn’t dramatic enough to be a true theatre kid.

I was bullied. I was (am) awkward. I was (am) introverted.

Somehow I still had a few great groups of friends that I hung out with through the years, but that didn’t land me anywhere. I still floated.

Then in college I guess I kinda hung with the theatre majors. But sometimes not. Hanging out in the theatre 24/7 wasn’t really my thing. All through college, I wasn’t talented enough or smart enough or I partied too much, or not enough. I was just never enough.

Even now as a wife + mom + photographer, I feel like I’m not enough to truly belong anywhere.

Not pretty enough or smart enough or talented enough to be with the man I’m married to.

I’m crunchy according to some people because I cloth diaper, but not crunchy enough because we don’t do amber teething necklaces and arnica all the time. I’m not a playdate kind of mom. Or a fun vacation all the time mom. Or a homeschooling mom. Or a PTA mom or a funny hot mess mom or a hip mom or a, or a, or a…

Not talented enough to be a real photographer.

So when Sarah sat with me over coffee said, ‘You belong with us.’ I didn’t know how to react. I think it was similar to the way I reacted when my husband proposed. When he asked the big question and in a sense told me that I could belong with him. What?

I stuttered. And smiled awkwardly because that’s what I do when I get news I’m not ready for. I asked her if she was fucking insane and she said ‘maybe’. And I stuttered and yammered some more while she just sat there with a smile on her face, watching me light up.

I belong? How? What is my place? How can I possibly be enough for this project. What can I possible have to give that is enough for this project? More importantly, what do I have to offer to other women so that they know they are enough? Here I am, never thinking I’m enough and never knowing where I belong and I am supposed to help women find these things?

And that’s when it hit me. None of us really belong. We are all, always on a journey and rediscovering and just when we think we are where we need to be, we evolve. We grow. We are enough.

All I know is that now, right now, I belong where I am. Right here. And tears come to my eyes when I say (type) that out loud. I belong. Here. Now. I belong.

I am enough. For my husband. For my kids. For my work. For this project.

I. Am. Enough.

And I belong.

So that’s why I’m here. That’s why I said yes and why I would say it over and over and over again. To always remind myself that I am what I need to be. And it’s messy and awkward and beautifull.

Because I am enough.

Jessica Sheridan