The Pizza Complex: You Are More Than Enough, You Are Perfectly You

It’s a tale as old as time, resounding everywhere from lecture halls to personal relationships. It’s that voice in the back of your head that keeps saying you're not smart enough. It’s present in classes, when you can’t seem to find the answer. It’s there when relationships — or situationships, for that matter — simply don’t work out. It’s an awful sentiment, feeling like you are not enough.

Some people call it the imposter syndrome; I have personally named it the “pizza complex;” and, before you think that I’m being terribly far-fetched, I can promise that feeling like a flat, gooey, cheese-filled pizza is pretty common. Just try to hear me out.

When it’s 3 a.m. and that early-in-the-morning hunger starts kicking in, what is the food staple that you go for? Pizza. It’s not just any pizza either; it’s certainly going to be greasy, easy-to-acquire, fast-to-arrive pizza from your favorite franchise. This pizza is not a meal — sorry to the hardcore Domino’s fans. It’s the means to calm your stomach when you cannot — or refuse to — wait for food with better quality.

On the other hand, when you feel like treating yourself, you will most likely not choose a pizza from Domino’s. Rather, you will sit down at a restaurant to eat it. You will appreciate the time and care it takes to be made. My example for this would be a Puerto Rican mofongo, a typical dish made with mashed plantains and stuffed with a wide array of protein options. This food from heaven cannot be found everywhere; to indulge in it, you have to go to a restaurant on the Caribbean island and ask for a piña colada on the side.

Now here’s where the metaphor kicks in. It's the sad truth, but many times we allow people to treat us like we are pizza hailing from a franchise. We let them treat us like we are an unremarkable piece of pizza you can buy from any app. We keep telling ourselves that we deserve the ill-treatment because we are simply not good enough. We relinquish ourselves on the little love they provide, because, hey, at least easy-to-acquire pizza can get the tiniest bit of attention.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of the pizza complex is that sometimes it’s not even other people treating us like pizza, but ourselves. We cut ourselves short because we are afraid of failing, of getting the answer wrong or of being disillusioned. We call guarding our hearts a protection measure; but I will call it what it is: it’s the fear of not being good enough.

This is the fear that we are not mofongos. We are terrified to even venture out in case it turns out we are actually plain and old pizza. We are afraid that we might fail, so we don’t even give it a shot. But enough is enough; the fear of not being good enough is only a mask that blurs all our potential and abilities.

Now that the year has begun, I invite you to make 2020 the year we all realize that we are mofongos instead of pizzas—that we deserve opportunities, that we deserve to be treated as such. This year, raise your hand if you know the answer, shoot your shot if you think it’s worth it and leave that boy if he can’t treat you like a queen. It’s the time to look at ourselves in the mirror and proudly say: “You are more than enough. You are perfectly you.”


Photo 1 provided by the author, 2