Sylvia Plath’s dark autobiography, The Bell Jar piqued my curiosity after reading the recent news article about the discovery of her husband Ted Hughes’ “last letter” to Sylvia. If you are a fan of Plath’s work, then you probably know all about her tormented relationship (with the adulterous Hughes), which later led to her suicide. As interested as I am in reading about tragedy as the next person, I do not go through it without feeling some kind of sympathetic pain, and Sylvia’s life’s story is one of that sort. Normally, people like the idea of violence and depression when they are images and stories they feel distant from, but when things get closer to personal reality, they run for the hills the instant it starts to hit close to home. Syliva’s poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song” is one that I am both fascinated with and personally terrified by. I don’t think I have the strength and the sanity to keep reading the autobiography of someone whose solution to life’s problems was suicide. I get vicariously vulnerable when exposed to her estranged personality and critical cynicism, because I know that I would probably have a bent towards being the same way if I were apart from Christ.
As much as I would like heaven to be the quick solution to all my problems, I know that I would never resort to suicide to get there on a fast track. As insignificant as I may think I am, I still need to carry out what I believe my purpose is. I have a big God to serve and specific people to bless, and I shouldn’t be drowning myself in pity and selfish ambitions. Apart from a knowledge of God and a personal relationship with Christ, our sins lead to death. I cannot imagine a life without the faith to believe that there is more to life than our minuscule laments. That would be no way to live, and I wish that Sylvia had had that knowledge before she took her life. She was such an explosively bright and intuitive writer who could’ve helped other women with similar hurts through her poems, but instead she imploded like a black hole.
Thankfully, my husband is faithful and is open to me about his confessions, but The Bell Jar is just adding to the poison in my mind by making me rejoice in tragedy without hope, while feeding paranoia. I think it’s really important for couples to have regular accountability talks in order to pray for and help each other with problems. You might think that ignorance is bliss and would rather not know about other people’s problems in order to not feel hurt or responsible, but that is an incredibly self-gratifying, foolish, and insidiously dangerous philosophy. Shame on people who think that way!
If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
In case you missed it on my Twitter or Facebook accounts, I revived my old Formspring that I never used. Feel free to ask me anything (anonymous or not), but make sure to keep your questions clean and nice! I’ll try to answer everything as much as I can. You can ask questions there or in the good ol’ comments section if you want.
What I wore: Plaid poncho from Harvé Benard given to me by my mother-in-law | leggings from Burlington Coat Factory | rusty, vintage jewelry from Ebay