You Will Not Be Forgotten

by Susan Pogorzelski on September 17, 2009 · 12 comments

And when the day has all but ended
And our echo starts to fade
No you will not be alone then
And you will not be afraid

Rob Thomas, “Now Comes The Night

holding hands by annstheclaf (flickr)

I have four freelance deadlines coming up. Commitments I’m trying to honor pack my weekends; playing catch up during the evenings by working on articles or the blogs or trying to find inspiration for my writing leads me well into the evenings. I try to go to bed by 10:30 so that I get enough sleep for work the next day, as without caffeine, sleep is pretty much all that keeps me functioning.

But things have been hazy lately. Judgment is cloudy, logic is foggy, and my emotions are running high. This evening, my mom asked me to fulfill a simple request. I responded by breaking down into tears.

I don’t know how to do it. I watch friends follow this same routine seemingly effortlessly — staying up well into the night while working a 40 hour day job, juggling life and love and work and play seamlessly.

I wish that I could. For awhile, I thought I was. It seemed like all of my hard work was finally paying off as I welcomed the opportunities that resulted, so thrilled and grateful for them. But what I’m struggling with now is something more difficult than the workload.

I’m pushing myself too far, not knowing my limits — or maybe not wanting to admit them — so that I’m becoming a jumble of nerves and stress, emotions running rampant. I’m finding that the more I try to hold things together, the more I try to take a deep breath and schedule and prioritize, the further frayed everything becomes.

I’m trying to do it all, trying so hard to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend…I’m working so hard to be a professional, a writer, that I’m forgetting what it’s like to be me.

I’m forgetting how to be.

I don’t know how to find that peace again, that strength. I keep a purple post-it note on my cubical wall at work with a simple reminder of where I’ve been and where I’m going. One word, one simple word, used to be all it took to remind myself of my purpose, my worth, my strength. One word, one place, was all I needed to remind me of how much I have grown and changed and learned. “Remember France” became my mantra, and that was all it took to remind me of how far I’ve come.

It’s been almost a year since that journey. And while so much has changed, I fear, now, that so much has still remained the same. I wonder if I’m not back to that same place I was before I left, before I experienced all that I had. I find myself second-guessing decisions, second-guessing my abilities, second-guessing myself.

Any trace of that confident, even, dare I say, empowered woman has vanished today, in this moment. Instead I’m left with a feeling of too much, and maybe not enough. There’s too much going on, and yet I’m still not working hard enough. I have so many opportunities, and yet I should be doing more. I have people around me who love me, and yet I’m not loving them enough.

I feel so mixed up right now, in this moment. It’s a moment that I’m sure will pass — it’s the reason I write and blog, after all. But right now, my stomach lies in knots as the stresses of life take hold. I don’t quite know how to sort it all out this time, how to quell the impatience and irritation I feel towards people, even loved ones…especially loved ones. These negative feelings are so foreign to me, and the guilt I have for them makes it ever that much worse.

Want to know a secret? What it took me this whole, long blog post to figure out?

I think I’m afraid to stop pushing myself so hard, I’m afraid to give myself a break because, I think, I’m a bit afraid of being forgotten.

Of being left behind. Of missing out on opportunities, possibilities, chances. Of being of the “out of sight, out of mind” variety.

I’m not afraid of losing at something. I’m afraid of losing that something — the people I care about most. I’m afraid that if I’m not there for them, they won’t be there for me. I’m afraid that if I’m not the best daughter/sister/friend/professional/writer/whatever, they’ll move on to that something better, something more.

I push myself so hard because I’m afraid of not being good enough. And I’m afraid of the day when I’ll have to watch someone figuratively or literally, by choice or by chance, leave me again.

It’s all up to me to combat that. I need to cut myself a break, I know. And it’s no one’s fault but my own; I really do know that, too.

But I still don’t know how to face it.

And so, instead, I pretend it’s not there, pushing myself even more, even harder.

Neglecting myself, subconsciously protecting myself, so that others can’t have the opportunity to do it first.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike September 17, 2009

I understand what your going through. I push myself too hard for too long. I work hard at doing the best videos I can, being the best editor I can be. I forgo sleep & run on caffine. You are an amazing writer. As hard as it feels sometimes, believe in that. From what I know of you, you are also a fantastic friend. These moments will pass. I know someone telling you that doesn’t help, but its all I can do. Your work will pay off. Until then just remember, your not pushing your self inspite of your talent & abiltes, but because of them. That drive to be the best is what focuses you on your work. Your friends, your family. They understand. Keep working. Keep living. Everything will become what it is ment to be. And for you? All I see are sunshine & puppies. :)

Mike

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Positively Present September 17, 2009

What an open and honest post. Thank you so much for writing this… I could really relate! Recently I just read the book What Happy Women Know and one of the things that happy women know is that good enough is always good enough. When you do the best you can, that will always be enough for those who love and care about you. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself or your life to make those around you happy. You should check out the book if you have a chance. It’s a great one and it taught me a lot about myself and about life!

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Kristina September 17, 2009

Oh Susan, we would never forget you!!! But you push yourself for that same reason some of us do that same…or put “walls” up around their personality, never showing emotions or their true selves, being standoffish in relationships….we don’t like pain, we don’t like dissapointment, or being forgotten. You are preaching to the choir, hun. We feel as you do.

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Akirah September 18, 2009

I can relate, girlfriend. There are so many times when I find myself overwhelmed because I am trying to do way too much. But I guess I desire to feel important as well. And I know that if I’m doing a lot for a lot of people, I’ll be more likely to feel important. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about about what I need to do in order to take care of myself. Self-care is important!

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Akhila September 18, 2009

What a wonderful, honest and raw post. This is very beautiful and… I think it’s great that you are able to be so open here, online.

You know, I think a lot of us can relate. We are often trying to do way too much and pressure ourselves, when it’s not necessary. I do this to myself – my to do list is constantly far too long… and I always pack far too much into 24 hours. But the truth is, just do your best and leave the rest up to the universe. Once you know you’ve done your best, you can relax. Take care of yourself while you’re at it, and don’t neglect your personal well-being for professional satisfaction.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. We live in a society where this amount of hard work & ambition is normal – and it’s hard to be otherwise. But I think we have to constantly take a step back, reflect, and rejuvenate ourselves. We have to make sure there’s some sort of balance to our lives.

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Susan Pogorzelski - admin September 19, 2009

Mike: I think I told you before how much I appreciate your support and growing friendship, but I’ll say it again — thanks for your comments and thanks for your belief. I think you’re right in that our determination is also our motivation…I just sometimes wonder at what cost that will be. I wonder why we push ourselves so hard. Will it be worth it? I think you’re right in that what’s meant to be will be. Let’s hope that works out for both of us. Thanks for such an uplifting comment, Mike – it’s truly appreciated!

Dani: I just went to Amazon and ordered this, straight by your recommendation and the title alone. I’m also in the middle of reading Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley which has a similar concept in the power of positive thinking, in the power of yourself. Think I need to start paying attention to that more. As independent as I like to claim I am, it’s hard to admit that you want to matter. Because of that, I put an increasingly large amount of pressure on myself. Maybe it’s about time I do realize that good enough is good enough. Easier said than done, but I’m working on it. As always, Dani, I love your positive thinking. Thanks so much for your words (and the book recommendation!)

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Susan Pogorzelski - admin September 19, 2009

Kris: When I first read this comment, that first sentence, it almost made me cry (ok, maybe it really did), if only because that is the underlying issue that has been the hardest for me to face in my life. The unfortunate part is that I know so many of us feel the same.

I was talking to a friend a couple of months ago, who said that he works so hard because he wants to have an impact on the world, he wants to leave behind some kind of imprint, some reminder that he was here. I wonder if, somehow, that’s not what we all want — to be remembered in a world where we can so easily be forgotten. I know that to the people who matter, we never really are, but that thought is still there…And so we push ourselves to make sure that never happens, so that we can leave our mark.

It’s funny — unfortunate — the things we do as defense mechanisms. Here’s hoping that we can break down some of those walls, those fears that hold us back.

Kris, if I don’t say this often enough, you’ve been a remarkable support and a great friend and I’m forever grateful for having met you.

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Susan Pogorzelski - admin September 19, 2009

Akirah: I think you’re right. I think a part of the reason why we like to do things so much for people is because it has a direct impact on us — helping others helps us feel good. But then you wonder, at what cost to ourselves? Maybe being there for yourself and helping yourself first is the key to all of it. I don’t know, I don’t have any answers. Honestly, just a whole lot more questions. You’re absolutely right, though — self-care is important. I hope to remember that. More importantly, I hope to listen to it. Thanks for your comment, Akirah!

Akhila: I love everything you say in your comment because all of it rings true. I think part of the problem is that I do my best, but I never think that’s enough. And so, by my own fault, I put so much pressure on myself that I push myself harder, then becoming overwhelmed, thus neglecting my own well-being. You say that we live in a society where this level of ambition and hard work is normal, and I think that brings up an interesting point, to say the least. While it’s a good trait, it makes you wonder how damaging it could also be. Interesting thoughts, Akhila, that I’d love to think about some more for another post. Thanks for the comments.

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Elisa September 19, 2009

The difficult thing that happens when you start to compare yourself to others is that you will never “measure up.” The circumstances of their lives are different, their personalities/limitations/expectations are different, they are different people. And frequently they are not as open and raw and honest about their lives as a whole.

It’s like the girl in high school that you thought had it ALL but in reality she was miserable and living a fake existence. You are just starting to get back into a routine that may have been familiar and feels the same but it’s not. Cause like those others we all look at YOU are different now. You conquered France on your own, girl! A few deadlines, some research, writing projects…they are NOTHING compared to what you’ve done, what you’ve learned about yourself and the person you’ve become.

It’ll be an adjustment to figure out how to do it differently when it feels so much the same and rudimentary. But truly, that’s how people sustain and flourish. It might be the same, but they find ways to look at it differently. I just watched this on Scrubs (effing love that show, BTW) while I was commenting, made me smile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcsrnT7Tv1o

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