March 27, 2014

Why I’m Not Avoiding the Void. ~ Skylar Liberty Rose


The void is dark. Like a dimly lit cave. It’s a place inside me where I hang out with myself. Nobody else is invited. It’s a party for one minus the fun.

I go there once every now and again. Not necessarily with any warning. I usually wake up already in situ as though somehow in my sleep I have been transported. As if a greater being within me has decided it’s time to revisit the obscurity.

The void is the sister of depression and the brother of despair. Not the same, but definitely related.

It’s not especially hot in the void but it can be stifling. Sometimes it feels like a muggy day where I can’t quite catch my breath. I’m inhaling but the air doesn’t seem to be enough to fill my lungs. There is an element of panic although it’s somewhat muted. Like everything else. There are no extremes in the void. It’s a place where all things are subdued.

In the void I have an array of deadened emotions. I often feel overwhelmingly bleak. I’m in a fog and my only heightened sense is a feeling of separation from everyone else. It’s that scene in a movie where a character internalises. The sound becomes muffled and distant. Everything seems far, far away. External noise and motion still take place, but the disconnect is evident. It’s almost a relief for the introvert in me. I can hide.

It’s a nothingness—a no man’s land.

It’s a wide empty space. It’s a small cell.

It’s somewhere in between a waiting room and solitary confinement.

It’s a veil of sorts. My visibility is only partially impaired, but I know the barrier is there. It’s easier for me to see out than it is for others to peer in.

It’s not so much a feeling of swimming against the tide but more one of treading water. Staying afloat but not really moving much in any particular direction. The desire to allow myself to fully submerge entices me but I manage to let the notion slide away without laying claim to me.

Optimism doesn’t visit the void but despondency likes to drop by and kick it.

My natural instinct when I‘m in the void is to stick to solitude. I want to halt communication. Press pause. Yet often the easiest way to lift myself out of the haze is to interact. Still, I resist the antidote. The price of the cure feels too high, the prospect of outward contact too draining.

Books such as The Secret tell me that I can change my inner state of being in seconds. A shift in perception and thought process is all that is required. Much of the time this resonates deeply with me. But sometimes I pass. I don’t believe in programming myself to robotically follow any set of rules carte blanche. Besides, maybe my secret is different from your secret. It’s not always a case of one size fits all.

I almost feel at ease with the void now. It’s close to the familiarity of greeting a somewhat distant friend. I’m not brimming with excitement at the prospect of a reunion but I’m not filled with dread either. It’s more of a nod of recognition. Tipping the hat. Ah hello, it’s you again.

The truth is I don’t want to escape the rendezvous. I don’t want to suppress what I feel I need to experience. The void isn’t a bad place, just a different one. A bubble-like state of being that my mind puts itself in from time to time. It’s a temporary check out.

Most of us, especially females, have a tendency to over analyse. All things must be explained. We never allow ourselves the experience of the feeling without fretting over the meaning. We never just sit with the emotion and observe its state. Avoidance techniques seem preferable.

We cover.

We mask.

We camouflage.

But if I fear the void then I automatically give it power. It becomes ugly and grotesque. It feels distorted and torturous. It creates a divide inside me. I feel scattered in my own skin.

Better that I just acknowledge its existence, knowing that I won’t be there too long. It’s just a place I occupy periodically. An occasional residence where I take a rest from reality.

When I leave I say a little farewell—until next time.

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Editorial Assistant: Kathryn Rutz / Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant journal archives

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