F is for Fragile

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Don’t you hate it when people say that hurts, pains and disappointments are ‘character building’? When they say rejection ‘only makes you stronger’? When the surgery didn’t work…again…and they tell you ‘if there was no sorrow we wouldn’t know joy’?

Well, I do.

I hate it.

I hate it because when I’m in pain and when I’m in despair, I’m not interested in building my character. When I’m mourning and I’m angry, something tells me joy is a myth Walt Disney made up. And strength? It’s too late for strength.

I’m worn down, I’m empty, and I’m broken. There is nothing left of me. Nothing left to feel. Nothing left within that wants to hold on any longer. It’s just too late.

But what if there was no tragic ‘event’? What if there was no real failure? No actual surgery… nothing to blame, recover from or wrestle with?

What if your homelessness and poverty is within you?

What if the famine ravaged your soul?

What if the flood destroyed the home in your heart?

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What if the invisible affliction you struggle with is depression?

What if the thief in the night is mental illness?

What if the flood, famine or earthquake is the anxiety within you?

 

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From my personal experience, there is no short-term cause and solution. There is no isolated event to reflect on, learn from, and move on from. There are no bones to set and no wounds to stitch. You’re stuck in this infinite ‘middle-stage’. A grimy, hellish, completely messed up, perpetual nightmare. Nothing you think or feel is real, or in response to anything real or factual…or is it?

You’ve lost the ability to judge that.

Your reference point, teacher and closest friend is a warped mirror you somehow picked up at one of those awful circus galleries. One day you walked by it and heard it calling you, saw it taunting you and felt it take hold of you.

Hall of mirrors, Petrin Hill, Prague. 1998

You unknowingly gave it your frame of mind, your childhood memories and experiences, your fears and your insecurities. You surrendered the very mechanism that constructs your ability to understand, think, ration, perceive, trust, process, relate and learn. It set up camp deep inside you, hidden by layers and layers of lies, fake smiles and deathly silence.

You gave it your dreams, abilities, skills, beauty, confidence, hope and passion.

It knows you better than you know yourself.

It became your puppeteer way before you think it did. You had strings tying you in knots over and over again. You were robbed before you really had a hold on anything.

This world is where approximately 1 in 5 of us in the UK live.

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I can only draw from my own experience which therefore makes my knowledge of depression extremely limited. I’m sure what I’ve written here will already contradict someone else’s experience of depression – but it certainly does not discount or discredit it.

Depression is organic. It grows, infests and spreads its roots. Depression is tailored to fit around your every atom, your every whim, your every waking breathing sleeping eating praying walking working mourning laughing dancing falling crawling yearning failing growing overflowing minute. We give it names and categories to light our way around the darkness and the mess, but no two experiences of depression will be the same.

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The people who say those frustrating, irritating, unhelpful, cliched, meaningless words…. The Walt Disney characters who seem to hop, skip and jump with ignorance… The people who you ignore completely and kind of, well utterly, want to punch in the face? The people I mentioned at the start of this post?

Well…

I’m one of them.

I have grown because of my suffering. I have felt incredible depths of joy that wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t suffered. I am stronger, wiser and more resourceful because of it.

I really, truly, earnestly mean that. But I also meant everything before that. I’m not ‘healed’, ‘better’ or ‘ok’. I’m still wrestling with it, I’m still lost within it.

But today I could write about it.

 

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Today I have enough strength to choose to make myself vulnerable and share this part of me with you.

Today I can take a small step back and see things a little clearer.

Today I can add to the beauty…

 

We come with beautiful secrets

We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls

We come to every new morning

With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold 

Redemption comes in strange place, small spaces 

Calling out the best of who we are 

And I want to add to the beauty

To tell a better story

I want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside 

It comes in small inspirations

It brings redemption to life and work

To our lives and our work

 It comes in loving community

It comes in helping a soul find it’s worth 

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces

Calling out the best of who we are 

And I want to add to the beauty

To tell a better storyI want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside

This is grace, an invitation to be beautiful

This is grace, an invitation

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces

Calling out our best

And I want to add to the beauty

To tell a better storyI want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside

– Sara Groves

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5 thoughts on “F is for Fragile

  1. Becca Williams says:

    You are beautiful Kate. And this is perfect, raw and so so true.

    Love you

  2. Kate says:

    Thank you Becca. Love you too x

  3. EKMCronin says:

    Yup. I have nothing to add but I concur.

  4. jojot says:

    You’re brave and brilliant. This resonated in lots of ways. Thanks for sharing your heart xx

  5. Kate says:

    Thanks Jo x

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