On Silence and Loneliness: In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

I can’t help myself. Embracing solitude in anxiety and comfort is greater than remaining habitual. But as humans, we do both. Extract the good from the bad. Accept it. And still remain confined to what feels familiar and ours. I felt this conversation clinging to me when I was reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which is wired to her emotions as my own. Revisiting her The Bell Jar, I found myself taking down notes page after page, not to review, but to deeply connect to and understand her work. And modernity doesn’t meditate on such loneliness the way this book does. These sentences, for example, extract the singular meaning of what makes humans vicious yet so purely beautiful:

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”

Some of us feel loneliness in the lack of physical contact, some in conversations, and some in emotional and sexual intimacy. And there are some souls that feel it all; all at once and for a long time. This stretch of time refines our sense of being, doesn’t it? And while this happens — we lose things too. We lose our ability to familiarize with words that we used to manifest so conveniently. Words like hope, happiness, responsibility, strength, love, and loss. For me, my loneliness is the embodiment of invisible objects awakened for silent protests of intimacies that go beyond my understanding.

Somewhere in the space between the present and the future, this silence has consumed me. But here’s the interpretation of it: it’s not something that has happened, is happening, or will happen. It’s the kind of lacuna that exists as is as a part of me. If there’s a word for self-reflection — for the feelings that appear and re-appear in a sequence of time — each time it devotes its significance to my own prelude to existing and living: then this is it. My loneliness is my vessel of familiarity, of being erratic, and of having to succumb to cause and effect in the happenings of my life. And suddenly, my own silence occurred to me as if I was thrown back into placid reflections. Reflections as inescapable as breathing and as delicate as dust that I can’t help but embrace time’s inevitable passing. I am sure of what my loneliness means to me — and The Bell Jar reminds of its unwavering significance. What is loneliness? Is it yours as much as it is mine, or is it the measure of what we don’t say? I am not sure — but of what I am is, for me, a breath of fresh air.

Drawing Breath

The sun does down,
the moon dips.
The clouds scatter
while the birds
chase trees to sit.

The rivers tell a tale
of how fast they run.
The roots never whine
of being under and done.
The flower blossoms,
the soil gets stronger.
The winds race
and the hills embrace.

What’s left is how
they choose to grow.
What matters is how
unready they take the fall.
Unexpectedly, there’s more to come.

So rise with gratitude
only to fall without a sigh.
So be yourself
and imitate
the nature’s way of life.

Wicked Masks We Wear

How’s the pain?
The gain.
The vain.
Of trying,
maybe not.
Of failing,
but how?

What a wicked mask to wear.
Another right you make wrong.
You’re done
maybe then.
You’re here
sometimes then?

Thanks to you
you’ve come this far.
Struggling for breath
fighting the scars.
Don’t let them stay.
Never mistake its charm.
For it is what it is
that’s how you’ve learned to calm.

Uninterruptible Awakening

Uninterruptible awakening
the clarity has made
our wisdom go dark.
What was yesterday
will be our tomorrow,
but what’s today
is the purest moment we have.

Don’t let what frightens
you let you sleep
you must stay awake.
Forge your name
with tears and blood
until your veins feel lost.

Tired is for the weak
haven’t you heard them scream?

Surviving comes easy,
but this feels forced
you feel trapped
and you don’t
find your reality.

Complete The Circle

Expression I have long considered mortal and short-lived.
I have craved withdrawal from myself as much as
I have struggled to contract my wants.

Now, I demand the pictures that frame me small.
I draw from the imagination that forces me to see the truth.
Pure everything till my ends allow.

I choose to complete the circle.
Not because I’m alone, angry, or powerless.
Because the things that once existed no longer fit to make me brave.

It is the beginning of the end of my romance.
I drown with a raging desire for fantasy
with a reality that doesn’t understand my love.

A love so kind and filled with unanimity that
my identity touches a crack on a spotless land.
A stream in the middle of nowhere;
flowing in directions that have no boundaries to fill.

To animate this relationship with myself,
I must expand my horizons and look beyond finite.
Instead of standing under the glass myself to learn my intricacies,
I must fall under the millions that shine over me.

Lay under the fire, feel the burn, and become a subject of stillness
to comfort the role that society illustrates.
How many times this sentiment arises and
how many times do I blink and lose sight of it all?

This will make me strong. Make me live. Make me affect.
Yes, these emotions are brief,
but night comes and the pain makes it last forever.