The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

by Emon Hassan on May 5, 2008

You know when you complain about life being unfair and you pity yourself for not having what it takes to deal with it. You complain about others having a better life, better job, better house, better health, better sex; you pity the fool that you have become.

You look in the mirror and you don’t see yourself. You agonize over a single gray hair. You wish your legs were longer and that pair of jeans would hug you just the right way. You wish your biceps and triceps and abdomen were the envy of your friends, neighbors, co-workers, lovers, haters and you wish they never have any of them.

You fret over a wrinkle, a pimple, a scar that picked the prettiest part of your body; an ache that won’t leave, nor leave it be. You wish things were different – all for the best, never for the better. You’re scared of commitment, scared when someone commits to you, scared of life passing you by and waving you past the green light when you’ve always felt like the yellow light. You’re scared because you’re not prepared and you’re scared because you feel you’ll never be. You’re scared of being old, you’re scared of living alone, you’re scared of old age reminding you of old age. You’re scared of living in too much reality. Reality scares your fantasies, it scares your existence as a dream maker. Your dreams are full of scary monsters who were once your very own actions, plans, words, and promises.
Then one day, everything is taken away from you and you wish you had just one little opportunity to turn the ‘scare’ button, ‘fret’ button, ‘complain’ button off and live.

This film is exactly what I needed to experience this weekend. I was feeling real shitty. If a man, after being denied everything except the blink of one eye, can decide not to pity himself anymore and make the best of it, I ought to be ashamed of myself for considering pity pills.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, to me, is about acceptance. Accept who you are, what you are, where you are, and how you are, and you’ll begin to enjoy life a lot more. I will, you will, Jean-Dominique Bauby had, Schnabel has. Sure, things hurt, people hurt, and things about life do too. And you’re right to feel sad when they do.

Just don’t buy a round-trip ticket on that misery express. Hop on, get to your destination, and hop off.

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