Life and Love and Why

by Susan Pogorzelski on August 1, 2010 · 12 comments

‘Cause my futile thinking’s
Not gonna solve nothing tonight…

Switchfoot, “Life and Love and Why”

It’s 10:55 on Sunday night. Riley’s curled up next to me, his body lifting and lowering in a steady rhythm as he sleeps. Every once in awhile, he lifts his head to look at me — I assume silently questioning whether or not I’ll finally turn out the light and go to sleep, too.

Not yet, I think. Not now.

Tomorrow’s Monday morning — another early day at work to look forward to; a day of answering calls and emails and gladly helping customers, a day of sharing stories and smiles and jokes with co-workers. Another day of waiting. Another day of wishing. Another day of thinking that soon I will be happy and wondering why on earth I can’t just admit that I’m happy right in this very moment.

Not yet, I think.

Not now.

It’s still Sunday night, and while I should be sleeping, instead I’m wide awake, facing every flaw, every insecurity, every break in this armor that I had so carefully crafted as some superficial form of personal protection.

The devil on my shoulder whispers its poison and the thought soaks through my skin and invades my mind:

Do you deserve it?

Do you?

Do you deserve to be happy? Do you deserve the people you have in your life? Do you deserve the success you’ve seen, the community you’ve found, the dreams you’re chasing?

Do you actually think you deserve to find love again?

The truth is — I don’t think I do. And maybe that’s why I’m so afraid of it all, why I’m not ready to admit that I could possibly be happy. Maybe that’s why I cling so tightly to it when I find it — any of it. Because there’s a fear that if I for a second think that I deserve anything, the Universe will turn around and say, “oops, wrong girl.” Because I know how fleeting it can be, and I don’t want to let that feeling go.

So that devil on my shoulder whispers that I’m not worth it, and I begin to believe her. And the guard goes up and I pull away from those I feel closest to. And my dreams surrender and fade away, and I let them go, watch them go, wandering farther and farther out of reach. And as they become just another faraway dream, I try to convince myself of their impossibilities in the first place.

And I begin to think again: Soon. Soon, I’ll be happy. But not yet. Not now.

It’s 11:35. Riley’s now snoring beside me as I watch the clock on the computer change to 11:36. Questions run through my mind as those insecurities scream, as I face these flaws. I wonder where that strength is that people claim they see in me; I wonder where that confidence has gone, that knowledge that I am who I’m meant to be. I wonder why I still remain so guarded when I want to get so close, why I keep trying to form those bonds when I know they’re not reciprocated. I wonder why I keep believing in second chances, why I keep hoping against the odds, why I fight so hard to understand the world and my place in it.

I wonder if I’ll ever be accepted by the world as I am — these thoughts, these flaws, these vulnerabilities and all. I wonder if I’m ready to accept myself.

I wonder why the former matters so much.

I wonder if I haven’t already begun to do the latter.

Someone once said that being kind doesn’t guarantee you anything. And loving so deeply won’t stop you from losing the people or things you care about. And being true to yourself doesn’t mean that everyone will be truthful with you.

But that’s not going to stop me from being kind and compassionate towards others. And it won’t stop me from loving as deeply as I do. And I will always, always be true to myself and proud of the person I’ve become.

It’s 11:54 now. Now, there’s another voice speaking stronger than the other one, rising up from deep within myself, healing the poison and kicking out the bad thoughts, reminding me of what I may have doubted tonight in a weak and darker moment:

Now. I am happy now. Because I’m learning to be happy with myself. And while I may not deserve everything that I have, that’s never going to stop me from being so grateful for what I do.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Bret August 1, 2010

I know the feeling. I’ve spent the past hour pouring words into a journal. Random words, random thoughts, just to see if there’s any meaning trapped anywhere in here. Night can be a brutal time for self-reflection and evaluation, when it’s quiet and dark and everything seems to still and permanent. But there is no permanence, and there’s the fleeting moments and the indoctrination that happiness is something that comes from outside and lasts a certain time and vanishes.

We are. And we think. And that is so much to be thankful for in itself. Love, happiness, grief. It all flows between one another, giving us shades of each and shadows of past memories. But I do hope, as you say, that in this moment, you can appreciate the absurdity and the amazement of the moment and be glad for it all.


Susan Pogorzelski August 16, 2010

Bret: Have I ever told you that I love the writer in you? And I love this comment –I kind of want to print it out and tape it to my wall to remember that every emotion during the nighttime seems amplified, where every flaw comes to the surface and is as visible as if you were looking in a mirror, and every self-doubt is only a whisper and my self-worth has a voice that speaks stronger.

“We are. And we think. and that is so much to be thankful for in itself.”

I love this, Bret. I tend to think that the depths of which I think and feel is something of a weakness, but through your words, you’re reminding me that this is who I am. And I should be grateful for who I am, that I am capable of feeling so much…Because though I sometimes feel the hurt acutely, so, too, can I feel the love and happiness. Pretty amazing.

I miss our deep talks. We’ll have to really catch up soon, ok? Hope you’re happy and well!


Positively Present August 2, 2010

You absolutely deserve to be happy! Everyone does! When I find myself unable to sleep (or function) because I’m thinking so much, I remind myself to live in the present moment. When I focus on what’s happening right now, I don’t let myself get caught up in the past or the future and I find that I can accept happiness much more readily. Great post, Susan!


Susan Pogorzelski August 16, 2010

Dani: Thanks…It’s funny, part of me knows this, tells me how ridiculous it is to think otherwise. And yet there is that part that says I’m not doing enough, not working hard enough, not caring enough about people to be worthy of my own happiness. And as hard as it is to really believe that, it’s also hard to ignore it. I admire you, Dani — you have no idea how much. I look to the past to learn and I tend to sometimes look towards the future in trepidation. Excitement, yes, but also a little bit of fear. I’m trying to work on living in the present, but, I gotta admit, it’s sometimes easier said than done.

But I’m working on it. And I’m working on ignoring that devil on my shoulder. She talks to much anyway 😉

Thanks, Dani. For much more than the comment.


Ryan Paugh August 2, 2010

The world isn’t going to accept you for who you are until you’ve finally accepted yourself for who you are. So I’m glad that you’re taking that first step.


Susan Pogorzelski August 16, 2010

Ryan: You’re absolutely right. Absolutely right…It’s been a long road for me to accept myself as I am again, to believe that I deserve anything good — it’s a road I’m still walking on, which is why I think some of that self-doubt still sneaks in there every once in awhile. But I ‘ve come a really, really long way, and I realize that now. No more anxiety. No more self-loathing. No more darkness. Just some whispers of doubt that remind me of how strong I am, how far I’ve come.

I think this is going to be one of those lessons that I spend my life working on — it’s easy for me to love others and it’s easy for me to believe in them. But myself? No matter how much confidence I have, no matter how much I believe in myself as a person, there’s always going to be a small part of myself that wonders if I can’t do better, be better. It’s a battle I think I’ll always fight, and a battle I’m determined to always win.

Thanks for reminding me, in just your few words, how I’ve changed between then and now. And thanks for strengthening my resolve to stay true to myself. I’m surprised, actually, by what your comment stirred, but sometimes the fewest words have the most impact 😉


Amanda Linehan August 2, 2010

Hi Susan,

“Now” is a funny thing. To think that maybe you already have everything “now” is a strange thought to have, but I’m beginning to believe it might be true. I feel like I’ve spent so much time thinking I have to get somewhere, that I miss everything I have “now.” Happy to see this post pop up in my Twitter feed. 🙂


Susan Pogorzelski August 16, 2010

Amanda: I think this is exactly what it means to live in the present — which is something I’ve always had a hard time doing, as I wrote to Dani above. I would always think, “soon — soon, I’ll be happy. Soon, I’ll be able to do this and that.” Soon…Always soon and never now.

I wonder why that is. Why is it so much easier to imagine the future than to live in the present? To long for that future than to appreciate what you have now? We already are happy. We already are somewhere. Our present is the past’s future, so what makes it so hard to appreciate that, to be happy now, with what we have?

So many questions! Great food for thought, Amanda, thanks!


Walter August 2, 2010

Why is it that our minds have so many expectations about the things in life? We want to be happy yet we don’t understand that happiness cannot be without sadness. The mind focuses on what it think is comfortable while fear those that present struggle and pain.

I believe that we have the capability to see beyond the limits of our minds. Accepting what IS without resistance will bring us closer to the truth. 🙂


Susan Pogorzelski August 16, 2010

Walter: You bring up an incredibly valid point — we want to be happy but we can’t accept our sadness. And yet, maybe we wouldn’t know happiness without the counter of sadness. Personally, I (incorrectly) tend to focus on the one while ignoring the other, believing that that happiness is fleeting and that the sadness is lasting. I’m turning that around — little by little, I’m realizing that that happiness is what is deserved, it’s what’s lasting and the sadness is only temporary.

You can’t know one without the other…

Great thoughts, Walter! Thanks for sharing!


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