Are You Empty?
February 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
Emptiness. The opposite of full. The lack of a something. The existence of a nothing.
People going through difficult times have described this emptiness to me. They sit in front of me, limbs folded in, eyes glazed over, blind. Everything about them is quiet, like the remains of a glass shattered on a floor. Before there was noise, pain, stunned surprise. Now there is quiet. Unrecognizable bits and pieces that once made up a whole.
I’ve been asked this question myself. Men with crinkled dress pants crossed at the knee and bushy eyebrows. Clipboards and fancy metal pens. Are You Empty?
No, I’d say. Because I wasn’t empty. Yes, there were times when I felt like I was drifting through life, hardly there, heart beating soft, brain quiet, limbs slack. But if anything, I was filled to the brim. Filled to bursting. Desperate questions and fears and never-ending streams of thought were pushing for room in a crowded arena. Everybody wanted the floor. What’s going on? When will it end? Why are you crazy? What should you do? Why are things this way? Where am I? Who am I? and Who are You to Me? Does anything make sense?
No, I wasn’t empty. I was overloaded. People were calling for back-up. All hands on deck. There’s another load coming down. Call management. Call the police. Call the fire department. Call the governor.
Filling, filling, filling like a balloon, a young heart in love, a concert hall. My heart was struggling to hold its ground, stand strong against the stampede, the avalanche, the riots. Hold on, it yelled, everyone just calm down, we’ll sort this out. Calls for order were ignored. Everyone wanted to be heard. Everyone wanted a say in how the end of the world would go. You’ll self-destruct, called one. No no, family will defeat you shouted another. Everyone will leave you! piped up a guy in the back. You’ll lose your mind! You’ll lose control! Life will be meaningless! You’ll never escape!
There was a young girl whispering. Everything will be alright. She swayed and stumbled, jostled by the crowd, but she stayed and whispered. Everything will be alright.
My heart locked itself behind its Rib Cage, beating, thumping, screaming for mercy. Merciless, however, were its enemies. They scaled the cage and leapt atop their victim. Weapons they did not need. Words, words, words were enough, more than enough, too much. And my heart bled.
But it was not just my heart. Everywhere the rebels swarmed, an infestation of ants, bees, virus. Locked up for too long, silenced, made to believe they were silly, worthless, easily forgotten. We are here, they chanted, breaking down the chained door to my Mind. We Are Here. You go there, I’ll go there they called to one another. There’s one chopping away at Belief in Self, belief fragile yet strong like a young oak. Four more are knocking Security to the ground, kicking and jeering. There’s a group backing up Self-Worth, who is shaking uncontrollably, into a corner. Self-Worth does not call for help.
Everything will be alright, says the girl.
Shut up, the rest say.
State of emergency. The governor’s declared it. It’s war, but is it war if one side is doing all the fighting?
My heart is whimpering in the corner of its cage.
And then I burst.
I was the glass hitting the floor, I was the balloon reaching capacity, the concert hall set ablaze. But my enemies were not celebrating victory. No, they were thrown in the air and now they were strewn on the floor and they ached and they moaned. They were bruised and broken. My heart whispered.
And the little girl was standing.
Everything will be alright.
Everything will be alright.
No, I was not empty. I was full.
Today, I am full. And my enemies, they exist. But I have set them to work. I’ve said, write a story.
You are Not Empty.
You never will be.
You are full.