The Bell Jar
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
This is my all time favorite quote. I remember reading it for the first time, and it resonated so heavily with me. There are so many quotes from this entire book I would love to share. The way she tells her story and presents her mental illness is so enlightening and it breaks your heart reading it.
I am high as a balloon. I float way above the earth, catching rides on the wind. It is both terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Sometimes, I want to come back down to the earth, but I am floating. I know if I come down I have to pop, I have to crash...crash...crash into the ground. I know that the impact of the fall will cause the earth to shatter around me and leave me deep in a hole. The walls rise up on all sides of me, the blue sky I once flew in just a tiny pinprick above my head. Darkness surrounds me. I try to reach the sky, even just the level ground, but my hands only slide off the slippery mud of the walls. I scratch and claw, dirt caking under my fingernails. I back away from the wall and, suddenly, something in me snaps. I hear a voice screaming from far away. Someone has come to get me out! But...I realize the voice is my own. I feel a million miles away from my body. I hear my thoughts, sounding like a stranger in my far off head.
I've lost my mind.
I've lost my marbles.
She's lost her marbles.
Where are they?
Where am I?
Floating back in the clouds.
I am staring at the wall, unmoving. If I could just get out of this bed. Thoughts swirling around my head like a cyclone. As I think of what this day will bring, I begin to lose the courage to face it. The courage to even get out of this bed, or out of this room. If I stand up, it shows acceptance of the challenge that this day poses to me and I can't let that happen. I can't move for the fear that grips my body. So, I freeze, my eyes fixed on the wall.
Then the blank spot on the wall is replaced by a sheet of paper. Someone has written on it, and I focus my eyes to see what it says.
"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting the rest of our lives."
I know it can seem hard sometimes, but that is when the best thing to do is push yourself ouside of your comfort zones. Get out there and go be yourself. Your actions are what define you, not your DNA.
I love you, and I believe in you.
My toe begins to twitch.