October 21, 1941 – Etty Hillesum

Tuesday, after dinner. 80 years ago today.

This day deserves the full entry:

“It is a slow and painful process, this striving after true inner freedom. Growing more and more certain that there is no help or assurance or refuge in others. That the others are just as uncertain and weak and helpless as you are.

You are always thrown back on to your own resources. There is nothing else. The rest is make-believe. But that fact has to be recognized over and over again. Especially since you are a woman. For woman always longs to lose herself in another. But that too is a fiction, albeit a beautiful one.

There is no matching of lives. At least not for me. Perhaps for a few moments. But do those moments justify a lifetime together? Can those few moments cement a shared existence? All they can do is give you a little strength. And perhaps a little happiness.

God knows, being alone is hard. For the world is inhospitable. In the past I used to dream of giving it to one person. But it was not to be. And when you reach such painful truths at the age of 27, you sometimes feel quite desperate and lonely and anxious, although independent and proud at the same time.

I have confidence in myself, and I shall manage by myself. The only measure you have is yourself. And the only responsibility you can shoulder in life is responsibility for yourself. But you must do it with all your strength.” And now to phone S.

~ Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork.


Thank you for stopping by The Jar! For more Etty quotes visit my IG: @erinmelissag

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