By Kenneth Stepp
Fragility is a part of life. When we think of fragile things, we think of an egg, a bubble, a cloud maybe. Things, all things. But there are things that far outweigh these. The human heart is fragile. The human heart is a person, or the emotions of a person. The part that most of us hide and as we grow older, we learn to hide it better and better. When someone sees us, do they really see us. Are you smiling? Laughing? Do you seem to be without a care in the world? Over the last five years plus I have met some of the most amazing people. Like me, they found themselves alone in a world they never thought existed. Being single in today’s climate is not easy. So many games, fakes, scammers, addicts, and ne’er do wells. I find it exhausting myself. I walk a path that really looks more like a war zone. The damage we receive and cause is permanent in many cases.
“What you burnt, broke, and tore is still in my hands. I am the keeper of fragile things and I have kept of you what is indissoluble.” ― Anaïs Nin
My friends, the new ones I’ve made along the way. They have shared so many stories with me. Abuse, theft, and very bad behavior on the part of so many have highlighted to me just how fragile life is. How fragile we are. For myself, I appear to be anything but fragile. An ex professional fighter, big, strong, smart, and accomplished. Yet I find myself sitting on my sofa, alone, confused, and yes, in tears often. When did life take this turn? One day we are raising a family, we are loved, we are the typical American dream, some of us even had the white picket fence. But one day it happens, one day, it’s just us. The memories of the love we had, or at least thought we had, becomes lighter as it fades into our history book. Memories are treasures and can be fragile too.
“if only these treasures were not so fragile as they are precious and beautiful.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
These days I struggle. I have good days, bad days, terrible days, and great days. I awake every morning hoping for the best. I suppose it’s all we can do. Since I’m a man, straight, and single. I mostly meet women along the way. Most were happily married at one time. Their days back then were consistent even drab and dull at times. And they would all go back in time and do it all over again. Or at least most would. I can tell you that they, for the most part, have developed a very tough outer shell. They seem strong, even sound strong. There are so many memes across the internet that speak to the strength of these women. Is it possible they are searching for a man who can see their inner softness? The sweet girl wanting to be held? Does she want a man that will wrap his arms around and say, everything will be ok? And mean it, fight for it, and stick around to do it? She deserves that you know. A man does that and he deserves to find her as well. We tend to complicate things with ego and emotion. Two people are so much stronger and safer than one.
“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” ― Vesta M. Kelly
I am being a thermometer right now. A thermometer tells you there is a problem and a thermostat tells you a problem exists but fixes it. The longer I am on this journey the more I know I do not know. I can see things coming, I can know I’m in quick sand and sinking. I can watch my friends struggle and suffer, yet answers fail. Love has confused me, or the search for it has. Having been sure I’d found it only to have it disappear is hard to think about most days. I guess my goal is to have that certainty again, to feel safe with someone, to know I’m loved, not wish for it in secret, I have lost a few friends along the way too. Their flame simply stopped burning, what once seemed bright, just seemed that way. They taught me how fragile we are, all of us. They taught me that there is only so much a person can endure. We are all so human and that by itself makes us all fragile. Keep that upper lip stiff, keep shout from the rooftops how strong and independent you are. I see you…I see through your walls. I see you…
“Some blows fall too heavy upon those too fragile.”
― George Saunders