Easily defeated

A few years ago, a friend of mine was struggling with cancer, and one day, when I asked how their energy was, they responded, I’m not as defeated as you, Eli, but I’m more dissociated. And then we talked about other things, and I knew I didn’t really know what to say about a long struggle with cancer, so instead we talked about what Faye was playing…

I’m not as chronically down and dark as I used to be, even two years ago. But I still keep thinking about what it would mean to be a defeated person. It’s not wrong; I still feel so easily discouraged. So many things seem not worth holding out for, since the universe is so exhausting, so depleting, and in the face of my own inadequacies, I’m not sure if I’m being soft or just weak. Sometimes I read eloquent defenses of radical softness, but I can’t help thinking there’s something ironic about being assertive about softness. Sometimes I feel defeated in ways that defy all rescue or repair, defeated in ways that resist softness and optimism.

But maybe I’m also not as defeated as I once was.

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