A Drop In The Ocean

by Susan Pogorzelski on March 28, 2011 · 4 comments

And now I see I can be me
In everything I do
– Michelle Branch, “Drop In The Ocean”


We were driving down the back country roads on a sunny summer day two years ago, the open windows blowing the warm air through the car, my sunglasses creating an orange haze over the cornfields and farmhouses. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him pause from watching the road to glance over at me; he reached over and placed a hand on the top of my head, shaking me gently.

“Get out of there,” he teased. “You’re thinking too much.”

He was right. Only the thinking came from the feeling. And I was doing too much of that, too.

I’ve spent three years on this blog trying to figure out who I am, attempting to verbalize the depths of how I love, what I fear, what I dream, and, most importantly, the ever-elusive why.

Why am I unable to shake the things that affect me so deeply for days on end, withdrawing into myself until I feel like myself again? Why can I so naturally comfort others, feel that innate desire to help others and be so grateful for it, all the while understanding without experiencing, knowing without knowing?   

And why am I writing and re-writing these sentences, so afraid to put them into words, knowing that even these words won’t do it justice, wondering if I’ll ever be able to explain any of it as I should.


It encompasses every single part of me, though I didn’t have a word to define it, though I couldn’t fathom just what it meant, until last year. It’s so much more than an act of empathy; it’s so much more than any definition could describe, and it’s so much more than what you are.

It’s who you are.

It’s who I am.

Who I’ve always been, though I just never had the words for it before.

It’s the sensitivity, the compassion, the wordless knowing.

The intuition.

And still that scarcely even begins to describe it.

And I barely know how to begin to explain it, which is why I’ve kept this so close at heart, which is why I’ve been so scared to even try. Yes, I’m scared. I’m scared now, I’m scared writing this. I’m scared that no matter what I write or how I write it, it won’t be enough and it will all be just wasted words. I wish I could show you who I am, just as I struggle to understand who that is…

I wish, when I say that I feel so deeply, I could express just how deeply those feelings go.

I wish, when I say that I rely on intuition, I can tell you just what that means — to know without knowing, to believe without seeing, to understand without ever experiencing.

I wish I could tell you how I long to stop trying to understand the workings of the world, to stop wondering about the how and the why, to stop trying to figure out the meaning in the rhyme and the meaning in this time. I wish I could tell you just how much I long to live in the moment and out of my head and heart. I wish I could explain how I’m constantly trying to decipher where I belong and how I belong…

When I don’t always feel like I do belong.

I wish I could explain why I find myself withdrawing into moments of isolation, not just craving time for reflection and solitude, but physically and mentally needing it. Because without this reflection, I lose sight of who I am and what I’m doing and what it means and where I’m going. It’s the only time I have when I can catch my breath, to try to rid myself of the heaviness that sometimes weighs me down.

I wish I could describe the relief when that weight is lifted and the loneliness that engulfs you when it’s not.

I wish I could describe the beauty, the joy, and the sense of connection I feel with everything around me when I’m at my best..

…and the detachment and depression and lack of faith – in anything – when I’m at my worst.

I so wish I could tell you the depths of all of this, how paralyzing it can sometimes be.

I wish I could tell you…

I wish.

It’s like a drop in the ocean — only one more emotion — but that drop can be enough to drown you.

And so you find something to hold onto, something to bring you back to you, to remind you of you.

This is why I write. It’s why I needed this blog, though I didn’t know then what it would mean now. In more ways than one, as melodramatic as it may seem, this outlet has saved me, been the thing to ground me as I sort through the heaviness, shedding the weight of that moment’s emotion, often shedding others’ emotions that I don’t even realize I’m assuming for myself.

I write fiction because fiction is my mask — my place where I can speak a truth under a guise of setting and plot and character. But this blog…This blog is that personalized space where I can be open, where I can be honest — with you and with myself. This blog is that place where, if I didn’t express what resided in my heart, I might suffocate from the words that aren’t spoken.

Maybe I crave some kind of validation of who I am. Maybe I share so much because of that flaw wherein I yearn for understanding from others. Maybe because there’s so much I can’t understand yet, by writing these words, someone else might.

Maybe living so introspectively has become so hard, that by having just one other person relate, to say, “yes, me too,” then I can be comforted in the fact that I’m not so alone.

When sometime you feel so alone.

Maybe I can feel accepted, when I’ve just barely begun to accept myself.


When I started really paying attention, when I started taking this development class, and, the other night, after such a powerful, overwhelming, and indescribably beautiful experience, I began to realize just how much a part of me this empathy was and that to deny it was to deny a part of myself — that’s how closely a simple label or definition can be linked with who you intrinsically are.

I was scared to post that entry then; I’m afraid to post this one, today. I wish I could tell you why. I wish I could tell you that I understand any of it any better. And, most of all, I wish I could tell you that I have a good reason for sharing this now.

I don’t.

Except to say this is a part of my life…

It was then, though I didn’t know it.

It is now, more than ever.

Just as I always will be, so will this be a part of me.  

I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way…

Jewel –

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Raven March 28, 2011

Hello Susan,

I think empathy is what connects us all – but not everyone is so concerned about connection the way you are. It’s an unusual gift to have. Being sensitive is at once a strength and a weakness for someone like you (ack – like US!). Your desire to help others is directly affected by your ability to be so good at “walking in other people’s shoes.” You literally feel the heartache (or the joy) – but at the same time, that can be way too much to deal with.
And, it’s important that you use the alone time you mention as an opportunity to build up your reserves, rest, refresh and replenish your strength to start the day over. It’s practically a must if you want to get back out there doing what you do (writing what you write).

So thank you for being you (you are all the more beautiful for it.


P.S. Sometimes, even when I don’t feel sad, I just have a good cry. It’s cathartic, makes me feel better and I appreciate everything more afterwards. Ever tried that? 🙂


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