The Emptiness Inside

A few weeks ago, someone suggested that I start dating.

“I can’t do that,” I insisted.

“Why not?”  

“Because,” I paused as the words made their way from my heart to my mouth, “I’m not looking to fill the hole inside me.  I am broken and I have nothing to offer another person.”

Do you think that sounds pathetic?  Like, I’m just choosing to be miserable?  I think that’s how the communication was received.

My take on it is a little different.  As I noted when I said I was going to withdraw, I realize that I’m not exactly stable at this time.  The hysterical sobbing has subsided, but I’m still spinning quite a bit.  My emotional spectrum is in full bloom and I can’t focus on serious long-term decisions.  Yesterday, and again today, I opened a packet of oatmeal and poured the contents into my cup instead of my bowl (wtf?).  The message is clear:  I need to be still, and heal…

…Not long ago, I felt happy and fulfilled in my personal life.  I had an amazing partner who was my best friend.  He had children with whom I fostered loving connections.  It took many years, but our family finally found a natural groove in which we operated rather comfortably.  We laughed, we loved, we played Scattergories…  And now?   I’m typing from one of the two chairs that I own.  I can hear the furnace humming and occasionally there’s some noise outside.  There are no jokes to laugh at, no brotherly fights to break up, no snuggles, no hugs, no Scattergories (oh, how I miss that game!).  No human greets me as I come and go… there aren’t even enough dirty dishes to warrant use of the dishwasher.  Emptiness is everywhere.

Like I said, I don’t want to simply fill the hole.  I’d prefer to, instead, heal the wound.  And we all know that wounds heal best when kept clean and provided the proper mix of protection and fresh air.  I’m striving to find that balance and I think I’m doing OK.  I can sit in the quiet for hours without feeling lonely.  I can delight in the sound of rain on the windows.  I read (check out Love, Freedom and Aloneness:  The Koan of Relationships, by Osho).  I meditate.  I ponder.  I have a rockin’ support system (thank you:  friends, family, therapist and coach!) that offers me a lifeline back to Normal when I start feeling crazy.  Sometimes, I reach out.  Sometimes, I go out.  Mostly, I try to use this time to turn inward, ask questions and confront myself.  How else can I grow from this experience?  I know it doesn’t sound like fun.  It’s not fun.  Yet, I’ve considered other options, and “learning and growing” seems to be the most logical choice to make right now.

And so, I’m finding peace in the emptiness.  I’m sitting with the uncertainty.  Through self-reflection, I’m cleaning the wound.  In silence and sobriety (for now, I refuse to dismiss genuine emotion by use of chemicals), I’m protecting what remains tender and raw.  And, as I embrace the world, a fresh air exchange is taking place in the void.  I think the only thing left to do is keep listening and wait for time to do it’s thing.

“We form clay into a pot, but it’s the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want”-Lao Tzu

Another word for “emptiness is “space, and space is a great thing to explore.  Within it, I hope to bridge the gap between “hole” and “whole” 😉

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14 comments on “The Emptiness Inside

  1. jobo says:

    I like space better than empltiness…you have a lot of space to grow into now, and yes, it’s sad and lonely sometimes, but you are heailing and learning and rediscovering you and what you want next. I think that’s wise. You’ll obviously know when you will be ready to date.

  2. Mandy says:

    Hi Tara,
    I think it is so important to pay heed to your emotions and that’s what you’re doing. You are growing from this and that growth will help you heal. Dating may or may not help you – the timing is very individual but like jobo says, you’ll know when you’re ready.

    my best,

  3. backonmyown says:

    Good post, Tara. i understand your emptiness.

  4. Bravo to you! Far too many women find themselves inclined to have rebound relationships that merely delay the process of self reflection and growth. You will be a stronger person for taking the time to be alone. Being comfortable with being alone is a learned skill, not an innate one. It is a skill that many never master, but the hard truth is that we all find ourselves alone at one point or another in life. Knowing how to be alone and happy (you will get there) sets you up for success no matter what life hands you. And I would venture to bet that once you really start to feel the joy of solitude, someone remarkable will come into you life to keep you company. You might even miss having alone time in the future. Best wishes to you as you move closer and closer to healing.

  5. “I don’t want to simply fill the hole. I’d prefer to, instead, heal the wound.”

    That’s a revealing statement. I can vividly recall my own emptiness ….I refer to it as my ’emotional winter’.

    Looking back on that time now, however painful, it will be one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and one that I would never want to have forsaken.

    In looking back I’m confident you will have a similar experience.

    • I love the phrase “emotional winter”! Up here in the north, we have *real* winters- the kind they sing about in the Christmas songs, where the leaves fall off the trees, bodies of water freeze, animals fly south or hibernate and we have to shovel snow.

      Winter is my favorite season to observe. And the reason is because, amidst all the emptiness, the drearyness and the cold… there is a special kind of beauty and a peace that is reserved for winter alone. Nothing compares to the silence and serenity that I feel watching snow fall outside my window. There are days when the sun shines brighter because it is unobstructed by billowy clusters of leaves and the light reflects off a white blanket of snow. And the bitter cold outside forces one to appreciate the warmth within.

      Your comment means a lot to me. Thank you.

  6. Lori says:

    I allowed no time to heal after college relationships – but those were so simple then. Once you’ve established a life with someone it takes time to repair the broken spots. It is not ‘good’, but it is imperative to heal. Heal 🙂

  7. April says:

    Love the idea of space over emptiness. I’ve become so comfortable in the space that I would answer, “Because I’m whole just as I am.”

  8. lakya876 says:

    Searching for the internet looking for some inspiring words…I found our blog ;Thank You so much for your words…they best descrive what I’m actually going thru too.
    It’s been 3 months since my separation, and i’m working with my loneliness to make sense out this situation…..like you, I wanna heal and grow.
    God Bless!

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