The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, and I
“Suicide does not kill people, depression does.”
The world appears free. People move with their daily chores. Someone is laughing in a street corner, someone else is chatting with a girl nearby. A couple is seated at the table, enjoying drinks, and talking about something; the girl laughs, and by the look of it one can imagine he just said something funny to her. Some people just whiz by on their bicycles, chatting. And a couple passes, hand in hand, talking to each other in low voices that is just not audible.
The lawn changes, transformed by the blades of grass that shine with the sun and swing with the wind. The leaves of the trees change colour as the seasons pass by. People change the expression written on their faces with the emotions that beat within their hearts. There is love, there is hatred, there is understanding and there is ego; there is hope and there is care, there is also dream and there is frustration. There is bitterness but there is also the satisfaction of victory. But, but…
Bitterness is not a medicine, loneliness is not a cure of internal suffering. A good company is neither replaceable nor can be found with searching: it needs to happen. The hands of time and the rhythm of the ticking must match in harmony for the correct alignment to take place. And when that does not happen one loses the right path, one loses hope, one loses the purpose of life.
I am caged within the confines of space-time, and my wanting or not wanting, wishing or not wishing, trying and struggling produce no meaningful meaning. Emptiness remains emptiness, bitterness remains bitterness, and loneliness behaves adamant.
But what appears on the surface and what feels within are two completely different things. The inside and the outside seem to merge together as if in a continuum whereas the invisible wall that separates the two is always present there, as an invisible barrier for the continuum to continue both within and without. And that is the bell jar.
And while Sylvia Plath confessed that she attempted suicide more than once, more than even two or three or four or five times, I have tasted that desperation only twice. And if I choose to pick up a third time, it will be over, I know for sure.
It is just an easy comparison: a fly trapped inside an inverted glass perhaps might feel the same way as a human trapped within the confines of circumstances beyond recognition, beyond comprehension, and beyond the power of one’s influence. Despite the unending struggles one has made, and one is still making, many things remain that simply do not change: some wounds never heal, some broken pieces can never be glued back together. And while Plath imagined her life confined within the transparent walls of a bell jar, I find mine as fluid and dynamic as the fish in fast running water. She could not escape out into freedom, I am finding it impossible to swim against the currents of bitterness. That is perhaps humanity in-between us that makes us the same: similar experiences shared across the stretch of space and time within the influence of similar circumstances. And just like a caged bird, I want to be free just as Sylvia Plath wanted to be, just as water always wants to be… and then escape. It does not matter where, but what counts is if…
[The image of the first edition of "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath has been taken from wikipedia, is fair use under United States copyright laws... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Jar and the direct link is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Belljarfirstedition.jpg .]