Fragility is not always esteemed a virtuous quality. We value strength. We tire of people harping on their loss. Deplore public displays of existential anguish. Though we’re sensitive to external forces – natural, socio-economic and political disasters – that can ravage lives. Some of us even practice charity. Some reach out to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram people to sensitize them to the travesties of others. And we may weep for them. Yet, those inner turmoils, especially in the absence of identifiable forces, are entertained only so long as they sync with that invisible timeline of respectable comportment. “Get over it.” “Move on.” “Get a grip.” If you absolutely have to suffer, do it quietly, with composure. Have some self-respect. Be Stoic-like and turn that rational propensity for clarity unto self and address your life, your life-circumstance, as one emancipated from wildly unrestrained emotions that govern your anguish. This onerous and ubiquitous sighting of objective vision asks that we suppress, oppress, obliterate, annihilate what is uniquely, and concretely you. For sure an objective onlooker could identify causes of both the extrinsic and intrinsic variety; a trained scientist of the human condition – a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, neuroscientist, even psychologist, take your pick – could tell you all sorts of objective facts about your suffering. A psychiatrist, along with the neuroscientist, may tell you that there is a chemical imbalance in your brain – something about the neurotransmitters found in depressed people. A psychotherapist may tell you that certain cognitive and emotional (in the case that the emotions are not considered cognitive states) states are the cause. And all of these objective assignments may accurately illustrate your state of being. But none of them, I repeat none of them, can capture what it is to be uniquely in the throws of despair. These facts mean absolutely nothing to one in despair. None of these facts address me; fragile me. Looking upon this state of being, or any other, as one who suffers despair, is literally to supersede and cast as irrelevant the experiencing subject!!!! When invited to look upon my own anguish objectively, scientifically, if you like, and dispassionately, I can not be aware of myself as an existing individual. Indeed, I am asked to be an object unto self, and in effect, to forget myself.
And yet fragility is not weakness. One must be strong to actually endure the psychic upheaval of a fragile spirit. Something acutely experienced when one is subjectivity. And yet, even in subjectivity, most also anguish over being understood. Often this never comes as time is arrested in the fragmentary distillations formulated by those distant, and not so distant, others.
*At the recommendation of my daughter “13 Reasons Why” has been part of my days. I’ll admit to being a little like Clay. Hannah killed herself. She was a fragile soul; hypersensitive to the goings-on in the world and the manner in which her being was implicated, compromised, by others. Again, fragile me got missed. Careful you/we don’t end up on Hannah’s tapes.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – they’ve made us a society of stalkers, and some eagerly turn their little lives into a reality show! Basta! More than ever before, privately lived moments are all the more real, all the more authentic, all the more precious. There is something especially disingenuous and shallow about shouting to the virtual rooftops!