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I feel fragile.

It has been following me for weeks, popping up periodically, calling me to attend to the ease by which my bodily integrity could be dismantled.

Perhaps it’s the cumulative affect of dark skies; the melancholy of late winter; the great grey beast of SAD trying to wrap its detecting fingers around my tender heart. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have been a cave-dwelling hermit, a sedentarite moving just enough to get by while mostly staying in, hibernating with books and leaning over my computer channeling my best efforts to redesign my career so it can feed me without worry.

Perhaps it’s the supple echo of trauma still clinging on to my soul despite the knowing sense that I have passed through the thick of that storm.

Perhaps it’s age. I am young at 31 years old, still a novice in this world and far from the wise maturity I will earn in my 70s, but it is also undeniable that the invincibility of my early twenties has deteriorated. All-night parties and high-risk adventures have become early bedtimes for essential eight hour sleeps and diligent risk calculations before any headfirst exploits. I feel the injuries of my past constantly requesting my presence of care. I feel the essential need for a quality diet lest I suffer the inescapable consequences. I drink more caffeine than I maybe should, just to keep my head straight.

Perhaps it’s that I live immersed my family unit, including my two young nephews. I am faced daily with the incredible preciousness of the lives of those little boys, and the role of each of us play in their development and wellbeing. I see their tender, innocent hearts and feel the force of instinct that demands my vigilant assurance of their physical and emotional safety. A deep vigilance, and primal, reinforced every time I am taken off guard by a swell of inconceivably profound love for them emerging at otherwise insignificant moments: a smile, a giggle, a funny dance move, or hearing “hi uncle” as they walk in the door. A vigilance inspired by a love that requires me to be the absolute best I can be, for them.

Perhaps it is a combination of all those things and more, I don’t know, but I feel fragile nonetheless.

I have come to intimately recognize how little force it would take for a cyclist or motorist to crumple my bones, shatter my back, and collapse my organs. I feel how little force it would take to traumatize my brain and permanently alter my physical and cognitive function. I am intimately aware of the friends my age who have died or been diagnosed with cancers, brain tumors, and probably incurable degenerative diseases.

The next fall, the next headache, the next flu… I can do my best to eat clean food, move dynamically, embody emotionally mature stoicism and practice compassion and gratitude for the little things. But human life is fragile, delicate, precious, and temporary; any moment can be its last.

And it is this fragility, it is this understanding of preciousness, of brevity and of the lightening fast changes that can bring it to its close, that I understand its value. And I cherish it. With a tender heart of sadness and grief, earned in the recognition of how little and yet how grand this blessing is, I cherish it.

I feel fragile, and I am so grateful for it.

You can help James Jesso continue writing via his Patreon Page


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