I am Enough: How a Bar of Soap Triggered an Existential Crises

I am Enough: How a Bar of Soap Triggered an Existential Crises


One night, my sister and I were next to the sink. She was fixing her lip color in the mirror.

I needed to wash my hands but couldn’t find soap.

 “There’s no soap.” I remarked confused. “Did you shower without soap?”

I noticed an empty bottle of soap on the sink.

 “Yeah” she said with a shrug, “it was difficult, but I managed.”

 “You know, “ I said hotly, “there are more soaps in the store.”

 “I knew no one in the house would have made an effort to get soap for me, even if I had asked.”


I sat there blankly, a  thunderbolt jolted my heart.

She said it so… indifferently.  

The words echoed in my head, haunting me to date.

My sister not showering with soap is not the problem. It happens.

The problem lies in the impression my family and I had given her.

She thinks we, which includes me, wouldn’t put any effort into helping her…

.. not even for soap.

I blamed myself instantly. Remembering a moment from my childhood.

The Towel Incident 

I grew up with no siblings for nine years. It was my mum, dad and me.

By the time I reached puberty, I was pretty much on my own.  My mum wasn’t around a lot, and I had always learned things on my own.

I remember one day, being stuck in the bathroom wanting to ask my mother to get me a towel from my cupboard. 

I didn’t recoiling at the thought of her annoyed face if I asked her to get out of her comfortable spot.

So, I never asked ,but that memory of how difficult it was to clean myself without one lingered.

It was enough of a bad experience that I had promised myself  that I would be a better parent, sibling, adult, and partner for the people around me from that day forward.

Fast forward to this moment, and here I was learning my sister felt the same way I did ten years later.

My brain started to unravel:

What went wrong?  

I want to be the kind of person who is there for others. How did things go wrong between my sister and me?

Am I the type of person who just pretends to be nice but really isn’t?


 I know I’m not the first person to have a moment that rocked me to my core.

 I am a human being.

After blaming myself, my brain instantly went to defensive mode.

Even if I try my best, it may not be  enough for others. I haven’t been a terrible sister.  I’ve been there since she was born helping her through thick and thin. 

And then the anger set in..

I was so upset in that moment that she didn’t  remember the things I had done for her, and chose to focus on what I didn’t do.

And then it hit me: I had done the same.

I thought of my mother.

Here I was forgetting every effort she put into keeping me safe, warm, and comfortable in the house.

Yet I dared to think she wasn’t enough because she didn’t get me that towel one time. 

Why did that moment stick?  How petty is my thinking?


What I learned from my existential crises 

Sometimes we set our friends and family up to unrealistic standards.

Sometimes they do the same for us.

But you have one goal:  To walk your path the way YOU deem reasonable.

You can only do the best you can.

For me that means to keep the lines of communication open with my sister. To remind her that I’m always here for her, and to be a role model for her in the future.

And to give myself and those around me a break.

After all, we’re all doing the best we can.



Did this story reasonate with you? Would you have done sometihng differnet? Have any advice? Comment below.

Alishba Saleem


1 comment

You often forget that in trying to make yourself better for others (because you didn’t have anyone reliable at that time), you often neglect your own qualities.
Miss Qureshi

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