I’ll be honest: there’s nothing more alluring than my oh-so satisfying vices. For some twisted reason, the universe dug a void into every living being on earth and left us here with no clue how to fill it. We’ll continue to search till we reach the ends of the earth for that something to fill the void.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my ever-growing void. I know exactly where it sits, some inches above my stomach, on the far right side of my heart, where it runs down and deep into my spine. Sometimes, if I’m helpless enough, it’ll reach the pit of my stomach and that’s when I’m really in trouble. Some people decide to run from the void, distract themselves until the day is done, and others live in it, helpless to the dark ruins growing inside of us.
We’re all helpless to it, though. We all have it. Whether you can see it in yourself or see it in others, the void is there and once you’re made aware of it, there’s no turning back. You’re really alive when you’ve gone toe to toe with your void.
The void is every bad thought you’ve ever had. It’s the awful feeling that makes your tummy upset. It’s the tiny voice in the back of your head telling you: well, maybe you aren’t actually good enough. Imposter syndrome, FOMO, depression, anxiety, and a whole casket of other things I wish had never existed, lives inside the void. Every experience that’s scarred you, every irresolvable quarrel inside you, every bruise that refuses to heal, it’s all imprinted on your void. Every lesson you’ve learned has been in pursuit of escaping the void.
I have a love/hate relationship with something so awful because I believe there’s good in everything as much as there is bad, and vice versa. That is to say, nothing is amazing but nothing is awful. We’re all somewhat about the same, and we all deserve to have value and be valued.
So, how do I value the void? For a long time, the void felt like home and it’s hard not to feel comfortable in it. It’s dark, daunting, quiet and on some level, there’s some peace in letting the void take control. When you let the bad parts override your good parts, you’re no longer fighting them. No doubt, you had a good run while it lasted but there you are, accepting defeat once again. You can rest now.
I’ve never been the competitive type. I lose to myself all the time. But the more I do, the more I come closer to understanding this tricky, annoying, little mess of a void inside me.
I could say the void was born inside my head, but it feels like everyone has one. Sure, it might look different on everyone, but I can still feel it there. It’s there written into every forced smile, it lingers in the awful air of silence, and it lurks behind every single thought, waiting to attack. The void is deeper in some more than others, yes, but I think it’s all just the same in the end. On some level, I have to regard the void as nature, because how else can anyone explain it?
When I feel the void, I feel me. I feel the raw and untouched layers of my identity hidden within the void, those parts of me that feel dangerous to show. The void inside me is sensitive and reminiscent and is home to all things that have ever mattered to me. The more I understand the void, the more I understand me, but has it always had to be this painful?
To live, has it always had to be this painful? The confusion bogs down every hopeful bone in my body and my patience is wearily thinning. There is no cure for the void. It’s inextricably part of our nature, and yet, we’re hard-wired to run from the void as fast as our hearts can handle.
I used to believe there was a cure. I used to think that all we had to do was face it, and it would go away. "Face your fears to eliminate its power over you", right? Being forced to face the void doesn’t rid it of its power over you. You only come to realise how little power you really have, even with yourself. That’s when things get scary. You don’t really know fear until then.
This might as well be a superpower, pulling myself so far away from the world and letting the void take complete control. I don’t know where I find the strength to build those walls up between me and the world. I can step out and watch myself ruin my own life, but I don’t have the strength to stop myself from doing it. I’m my own saboteur but I only realise after it’s too late.
I build the walls up for the rest of the world as much as I do for myself.
I have the power to hurt others and that scares me. There’s already so much pain in the world, and I can’t bear the idea of adding to it. But I have, in my own ways, I have. There’s no coming to peace with that when things keep getting worse.
I didn’t want to build a relationship with my void, honestly. I still numb it whenever I can, or run from it whenever the opportunity arises. But I’m afraid there is no way out of the void. Like every other aspect of your health and well-being, you have to tend to it. You have to take care of it, like your life depends on it– because quite frankly, it might.
The void may very well be its own special organ, one that’s specialised for each human being. Like every organ, it has its own needs and regime to stay healthy, operational, and well in your body. And like every other organ, your void has a purpose too. Otherwise, it would’ve never been there.
For me, my void is home to my passion. I draw on the awful experiences in my life to create something beautiful in my writing. For everyone who’s asked, I tell them I write to survive and it’s quite true. I’d be dead without the writing. My poetry has an order to it that my life severely lacks. The precise rhythm to every poem is intentional. I revisit the rhythm of my poems to slow down the pace of my heart and it works wonders. Writing them does an ever better job of it.
The void is home to my heart, and it’s a sensitive thing. Whenever it thumps too loud or feels too much, the void is right around the corner, ready to take on the weight of those emotions. The void remembers more than I do. It remembers nostalgic moments that I could easily forget and holds onto each tender moment with an undefeated will. The void is probably the strongest thing about me, because everything else feels so weak. To me, the void is more me than I am.
That doesn’t mean it’s a pretty, perfect thing. I spend so much of my time trying to escape it (Que every vice I’ve ever had, play each one after the other until I’ve numbed myself into oblivion).
My vices are like crutches when I don’t have it in me to walk through the void any longer. The void is as good as it is bad, but the good and the bad come in waves. During the lows, I forget what life felt like. Hope is a joke and the future is a death sentence. During the highs, I never want to stop living. Dreams dance inside my mind, reminding me of every reason why I should be alive.
There’s so much inside an incomprehensible void, and no amount of writing could ever eloquently describe everything inside yours. If you focus hard enough, you’ll just feel it.
It’s there, in the background, quietly reminding you that escape is impossible, but also never the answer.
The void is a part of you that you’re obligated to understand. It’s like breaking the fourth wall and meeting yourself, like the real you. It’s aweing and discomforting at times, but at the end of the day, you’ll be glad it happened. After all, it’s you, and your vices won’t always be there to soften the blow.