“But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid? The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously the image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Milan Kundera is one of my 'all-time' favorite authors. At the risk of sounding like a pretentious sycophant claiming to be enlightened by the power of literature, I can honestly say that reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being altered my very essence. Please do not mistake my intellectual epiphany for some frivolous Eat, Pray, Love-type journey of so-called self-discovery, which is actually little more than a thinly veiled romance novel masquerading as a proclamation of empowerment. No. Reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being was not that kind of experience. The war-torn political wasteland of the 1968 Prague Spring seemed to serve as a metaphor for my eternal neurosis. Yet, what has haunted me most since opening the cover and absorbing the words for the first time, is the unshakable realization that I am, and probably will always be, a heavy person. Despite my constant efforts to let lightness into my life, I am continually weighed down by my perpetual anxiety. I am beginning to accept that I will always be more like Tereza than Sabina - endlessly heavy, freed only fleetingly by a chance encounter with a bowler hat and the unconditional love of a dog named Karenin.
Love & light,
M ♥ xx