1.Who are you?
My name is Essie. N. Sibanda. I was born in Harare Zimbabwe by an adventurous wise Malawian immigrant father and an intelligent resourceful local mother. I am a general nurse, midwife and a public health specialist practitioner currently working in occupational health. I have always had this big dream which has nothing to do with nursing. The vision within me is bigger than where I am at. It marries into what I am doing as a writer and a published author. The dream shall come to pass at an appointed time.
2.What does “I AM Enough” and/or “Journey2Enough” mean to you?
“I AM Enough”, this is a mantra I have sang to myself daily over the past 6 years when I woke up from the doldrums of depression. I was stagnant from expectation. I was in perennial grief due to loss of motherhood. When enlightenment happened to me, I started understanding that I am enough. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The same true word says to me; the Spirit of God was upon the Son of God so that He could come, “to console the mourners in Zion to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for a spirit of despair”. The spirit of despair is what makes us look at ourselves and say we are not enough. “Journey2Enough” is still a journey for me and I am working hard to leave a lasting legacy for girls and boys. They should know that despite anything that may have happened to them, as they are now, today, they are enough as I can say today, “I AM Enough”
3.Ancient research and psychology have shown that our source of inadequacy or our wound, starts very early in our childhood. What would you say was the source of your inadequacy when you were growing up? How has it manifested in your adulthood?
As a child of an immigrant, the environment where I grew up always reminded us that we were outsiders. What caused me the wound is the fact that people always reminded us that we will never come to anything. We worked extra hard to fit in and be on top even though we knew that we started our lives miles behind the locals. In school one male teacher whispered in my ear that good grades are wasted on an immigrant girl child. This made me strive in everything I did. In adulthood, this struggle to be accepted continued especially when I supposedly “married outside my league”. I have worked in top hospitals in the United Kingdom and I still found that I had to work hard to prove that I am a worthy contender. The wound appears to be triggered again.
4.How have you conquered it?
The wound grew deeper when I believed I had managed to get a job I was good at, became the first youngest manager of a private hospital and then bang, I couldn’t realise motherhood. I started to believe that I was never going to amount to anything which led low self-esteem to depression and stagnation despite the fact that my father had always told me that we were a royal household. “It might not show when they look at me. But, truly we are from a royal family so you are a princess”, my father always told me. When faith found me things changed, I was transformed and I was re-born and started living. I am grateful daily and I remind myself on my daily mantra, “I AM Enough”. There is nothing called “conquering it”, I self-care, self-love and it is work in progress and the “journey2enough” is continuous.
5. I believe we live in a world that is riddled with what I call the comparison pandemic that magnifies our inadequacies rather than magnify what we already have, how do you relate to this comparison pandemic?
The comparison pandemic plagued my life when I was battling infertility. When other women talked about their babies or children, I sank deeper into myself, feeling small and useless as a woman. I had never grown up with the comparison problem because I was always winning. Unfortunately, when I stopped winning in womanhood, I began to compare myself and being angry at situations where women aborted their unwanted pregnancies and got pregnant again when they wanted to. When we compare ourselves to others we lose the gifts within ourselves and stop ourselves from the peace and joy of living in the now. Comparison comes because the environment dictates and has a different measure of success. I am now more than enough to know that I am content with what I have and who “I AM”
6.What do you practice if you do, to magnify what you have rather than contribute to the “I am not good enough narrative”?
For a believer who walks in faith I practice gratitude every day. When I am allowed to make it to the other side of midnight I am grateful for the gift of breath. It is very easy for us to plan what we do tomorrow and think that we are guaranteed tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come. For me, the gift of life is worth praising my Creator for. I am given a chance to re-start on a clean slate with His mercies which are new every morning. Our lives are lived on two pages, “what I have” and what “I don’t have”. It is easy for us to look at the “I don’t have page” because that is how we are, as egocentric beings. We are always asking for what we want. I had to unlearn being in need all the time so that I can be grateful for what is already in my possession. I am grateful for the gifts within my family whom I am learning to cherish. So, I practice gratitude and I am content in what I have been allowed to witness and have on a daily basis. I now live “in the now”. The past has caused me pain or I have caused yesterday pain. Looking to the future is great but, I don’t have control over tomorrow. And now, I am grateful for I have that moment to marvel and cherish.
7.Research has shown that women suffer from “craving of being liked” as compared to men who will rock up and do what needs to be done without considering repercussions, have you experienced that? The likability challenge? And how have you dealt with it?
I never had a craving for being liked probably because I was never a likeable person. From childhood, I believed that no one liked me. I have always had a “stinging tongue”, I said and say things as they are. No one likes someone who is a sharp shooter as I have been told in some circles that I lack diplomacy. I had a handful of women associates and most probably one true friend. I have those intimate girls who have become my sisters. Not so many girls can accommodate a girl who was supposedly “too intelligent even for boys to be comfortable with”. And you have to be sure that your parents would want you to bring “those immigrant children in their households”. In adulthood, I realised that I could create my own community of people who are there for me and these come from all walks of life. In work, I have not worked in a powerful position which I can say I wanted people to like me, because I just executed my role efficiently such that people could improve themselves from modelling what I gave.
8.What would you say to someone sitting at home and is feeling inadequate in whatever sphere of their life? Because what we know is that the feeling of inadequacy has levels and spheres. You could be making it in your professional life but something in your personal life is not going so well and is making you feel like you are not enough? How does one transfer that feeling of being whole from one sphere to the next?
I am a good example of doing well professionally and failing to realise motherhood which is a natural biological function. That left me feeling desperately inadequate. What I will say to you is this, your life has a purpose for which it was created for. It doesn’t matter what the community around you are telling you, they did not create you. The one that created you says you are a big idea on His mind, and you are precious in His eyes. This is most important. Now, dig deep within your soul and search for what you are enthusiastic about then do that with all your mind. When you put your energy in that purpose, it does not give your mind idle time which gives negative thoughts a place to trigger negativity. The feelings of not being worth is triggered by you comparing yourself with someone next door or your friend. This creates a void which has a vacuum of negative vibes and as such that void needs to be filled for you to feel whole. If you create a negative vacuum and dwell on that what happens in your mind determines the outcome of your life. Plant positive seeds in the garden of your mind out of it sprouts the issues of life.
9.What is the one thing that you live by that helps you snap out of feeling inadequate?
Daily mantra, I am grateful that I am enough as a Being, I am pure spirit, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, my mind is the centre of divine intelligence of which I am part of. I am created in the image of perfection and greatness and nothing that has hit my flesh changes that.
10.What does courage mean to you?
Courage is my father. My father personifies courage and I followed in his footsteps. Courage is leaving home, leaving all you know and understand then bring yourself into a lions’ den of total strangers who don’t understand you, your culture and your language. They might not even like what you are but, need what you give.
11.What have you learnt in your journey that has contributed to your journey to enough?
I have learnt that I should seek to understand first before making judgement or speak. The more I can put myself in someone’s shoes to feel their pain or challenge the more we are able to bring a solution focussed on them rather than me. Fostering meaningful relationships is my motto and I totally believe we have to work from the point of view of the person or community we are serving. Learning is an ongoing and continuous process, each incident, accident, experience and even pain causes us to reflect and learn from it. Finally, I also learnt that encouragement comes from not leaning on my own understanding but, that inspiration is found from the Spirit within ourselves.
12.What would you say to your younger self?
You are allowed to make mistakes because we learn best from negative experience. Don’t worry about yesterday for yesterday went to sleep, she can only advise you of how to navigate the future. There is no point in dwelling on the mishaps and heartbreaks of her history because you cannot spend time on things you are unable to change. The world will judge your wrongs but, either way so be yourself. You gain wisdom from those instances where you fell and were lifted up by someone. Now, it is your turn to extend your hand to someone who has fallen down and needs lifting and support.
13.What is your hope for this movement?
The movement has opened dialogue, I hope that it brings the dialogue into culture because that is where the inadequacy starts from. And finally, my hope for “journey2enough” is that we catch them young, boys and girls then spread the word that way we empower them to realise that they are enough. We are all created by a “Master Craftsman” who moulded us in love and grace. I know and I am sure that being created in perfection means I am assured that I am who He says I am, perfection personified. This made me understand that I am more than enough because, I AM enough.