‘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.
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 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.