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RSA: Avoiding the void; a short story of life on empty

I have known empty; I have lived empty many times in my life.

There’s the running on empty that goes well beyond the mere Monday to Friday exhaustion spawned by the world of work. The bone-deep lassitude that slowly but steadily seeps into your soul and its spread is similar to the stain left when black coffee is spilt on white silk.

The timeless tiredness that even sleep does nothing to alleviate. The precious dark hours carefully allocated to rejuvenation prove to be nothing but a cruel tease for a hungry psyche, akin to a single drop of water on a parched throat or the tempting aroma of the neighbour’s lunch inhaled by an empty stomach.

Photo: A woman trying to deal with depression.
(Copyright Huffington Post)

There is an empty which wakes you from every nap and leaves you feeling trapped between the pressure of overuse and the welcome ease of eventual relief, sore like a Good Friday bobolee, with joints a-aching and a ceaseless throbbing somewhere behind your eyeballs.

I have lived that empty.

There is also the empty of knowing that this is the last time. Never again will you see that smiling face or hear that unique laugh or feel the touch of that warm skin. Memories are all you have left now but each one is but a drop of acid, slowly corroding your insides, leaving each nerve exposed, raw.

With this empty comes the knowledge, the inescapable certainty that you have been left behind; you are abandoned, alone with your grief.

This death, it tells you, is not the end, not your end. You too will eventually be granted peace. But not today, not this time; there is more for you to endure before you reach that stage. Many more minutes, hours, days, who knows, even months will be spent battling the growing void inside.

I have lived that empty.

I have known as well the empty of oh-so-close, the empty of what might have been but was not to be. Of dreams almost realised, wishes almost granted, of a future lost, a purpose unfulfilled.

Photo: A Baltimore resident takes part in a candlelight vigil for Freddie Gray, who was killed by the police.
(Copyright Guardian UK)

The demolition ball empty leaves you feeling violated, hollow, bereft of value, barren. Like a house burglarised by professionals, you stand completely empty, uninviting, incapable of offering shelter, no longer able to host or harbour or protect life.

I have lived that empty.

The black hole empty requires strength that you did not know you possessed. Nothingness threatens to consume everything, everyone, to swallow it all up and drag it into its deep, dark depths. You cannot find it within you to believe that there really is more to life than mere living. Your despair needle is on F and your faith needle is on E and to be able to disappear seems like a mercy. But you soldier on somehow, strong enough to neither surrender nor succumb.

I have lived that empty.

And at the end of the day, I have come at last to the empty of a new day. The positive empty of nothing but possibilities—before me, an untouched template. At my disposal, a blank canvas. I can do anything with it, I can be anything I want to be; I am in charge.

Like peals of thunder bringing lightning strikes of inspiration in their wake, through my mind rolls every cliché ever uttered about oysters. Each empty new day is a gift, an opportunity to fill, to feed, to feel.

Photo: A young woman deep in thought.

And refreshed and renewed, I now face each empty as a blessing, a miracle in waiting that I feel I have the honour, the privilege, the pleasure of making happen.

So I am still living the empty.

And it is glorious.

About Raheema Sayyid-Andrews

Raheema Sayyid-Andrews
Raheema Sayyid-Andrews is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Journalism/Mass Communication at COSTAATT. A wife, a mother and a lover of the English language with over 20 years experience of reading novels, she has a limitless supply of stories to share, her way of demonstrating the sheer power of the written word.

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One comment

  1. I am trying but it have days where i just want to stay in bed !!!