There is a void inside me. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. Most days the effects of this void are minimum. It’s like a emptiness that I know is there but isn’t really affecting me to a point where I can’t just ignore it. On the rare occasions, it even feels like it doesn’t exist at all. But then there are the days where the void’s emptiness is so overwhelming that it feels like i’m being swallowed by it. Like quick sand, the harder I try to fight the feeling of dread and nothingness as it begins to wash over me, the quicker it grows until I’m left sitting there, feeling numb and lost. Having this strong sense that I am longing for something but having no idea what that something could be. For years, I have tried to find that something that would fill this void but every time I believe I have found the missing piece to my soul, slowly the void returns, leaving an empty hole once again.
When I was younger, I remember I thought the answer to filling this emptiness was trivial things.
“If I could just own that purse, I will be happy”
“If he would just date me, I would feel so complete”
“If I could only own this type of pet, I would be filled with joy”
Of course, none of these things were the answer I was looking for. None of these things fulfilled me in the way I desperately wanted to be fulfilled.
I would also think maybe changing who I was was the right way to go. I would constantly change my appearance, my style, even my outlook on life, believing if I just kept changing things, something would stick and fill the void but that never was the case.
“If only I had long blonde hair, then everyone would love me”
“If only I was skinnier and wore tighter clothing, then the boys would notice me”
“If I get contacts, then i’ll feel beautiful”
But no matter what I did, in the end, I still felt empty. I still struggled to connect with the face looking back at me in the mirror. Knowing physically this girl was me but not feeling any emotional connection to her.
As I got older, I believed the answer I was looking for would be found in major life events. I was convinced that the huge changes that come into your life as you become an adult would surely be my solution. And on the day I married my soulmate, my best friend, it really felt like I had discovered the missing piece. Somehow, despite all I had been through and how broken I felt, I found someone who loved me for the perfectly imperfect person I was. Who knew my flaws better then anyone and still wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Who looked forward to starting a family with me. Everything I had dreamed of as a child was now in my grasp. How could there still be a void after all of that? And for a while, it looked like I was correct. Like the void in me had been filled by love.
But as time went on, I noticed that void slowly begin to open once again. I watched as my health began to slip away and with each new symptom and diagnosis, the hole grew. I desperately tried to hold it all together still. I focused on filling my life with the things I loved and cherished. On building my family and the life I had always dreamed of having. Even after knowing I could no longer work due to my illnesses, I stayed strong. We rescued a tiny puppy and then, not even a full year later, I brought home my service dog prospect. Something I never thought I would need but once I knew I did, never thought would materialize. Yet, it had.
I thought it would work, but it didn’t. That void was still there, some days feeling stronger then it had in years. A sense of nothingness, of numbness. With my health failing me and being unable to provide for my family because of it, I thought if only I could get approved for disability. If that could happen, then I would not feel so much like a failure and that void wouldn’t feel so deep. I had always said I would be content being a house wife so getting disability would allow that to happen. How could that not make this void disappear?
But the day I got that phone call saying I was approved for disability, a wave of mixed emotions washed over me, both positive and negative. Something I thought was my answer seemed to make the void deeper somehow. Causing me to sit here more lost then I ever was before. Causing me to wonder, what in my life will fill this void?
Will having our own house and living on our own fill it?
What about getting pregnant and bringing my child into this world? Something I have dreamed about for as long as I can remember. Something that once felt so certain but now I fear everyday may never happen because of my health.
Will becoming a mental/chronic illness influencer and blogger do the job?
How about an author? Publishing my poetry and novels for all to see.
Or am I destined to always be longing for this something? To always feel like there is a piece missing from my life. To feel numb, empty, longing for true happiness.
And then my mind begins to fear that I gave up something that was the answer, either by choice or due to my health.
Would have completing a 4 year degree and becoming a teacher been my answer?
What about becoming a school psychologist and a theater director? Would that had helped?
What if I followed my dream of being an actress?
Would that kind of stardom been the missing puzzle piece to this jigsaw I call my life?
I guess i’ll never know for sure. But man is it hard not to wonder.
On days where the void is so strong, it’s like it’s hard to even take a breath. Because with each breath, this sense of emptiness is overwhelming.
And the last thought that crosses my mind is where did this void even come from?
What burned a hole so big into the soul of such a happy little girl? Because that is what I was as a kid, always smiling, happy as can be and just living her life to the fullest. So what happened?
Was it my dad and mom divorcing when I was just 5 years old? My dad telling me he was leaving after giving me such an amazing day.
Was it hardly seeing him after that, even though at the time, he only lived 10 minutes from me?
What about my mother? Someone who was physically there for me and tried to give me the best life she could but often acted more like a best friend then the mother a child needs. Could that have done it?
Or did it happen after my grandpa passed away, right before I would turn 13? Surely losing a father figure in your life, someone you saw every day, at a time where you desperately need guidance could create such a hole.
What about the bullying I went through? Elementary, middle, and of course, high school. Always the same old thing, never feeling good enough, always being put down or made fun of for my appearance or personality. Taunts of “Teachers pet” still ringing in my ears. Having friends you would do anything for putting you down time and time again. Getting betrayed and hurt over and over.
And then there are my relationships. Could they have contributed to the crater that wrecks havoc in my life?
My first love being an on and off again roller coaster ride. Always jumping between me and another girl, always feeling like a second choice but so in love that I was content with not being first.
And then my second love leaving me with so much mental and emotional damage. Accepting the fact that the love you had for him blinded you to the mental and verbal abuse you put up with time and time again. Giving him everything, every part of me and receiving nothing but hurt in return. The words he’d say still piercing my heart, like a snake’s fangs. Words that I believed were true. Words that I sometimes still believe are true. Something so simple triggering me, reminding me of how worthless he made me feel. But remembering I would have done anything for him because my love was that strong.
Could that have been what caused the ground to break?
And then there is my health. Being plagued with not one but two autoimmune disorders as a young adult. Unable to do simple tasks such as brushing my hair anymore without pain. Is that what caused this deep void within me?
Maybe. But more than likely, it is a combination of all of the above plus more that I experienced that has created this hole in my soul.
Maybe the answer isn’t finding something to fill the hole, but rather, letting go of all these traumas I have gone through in my 24 years of life.
Maybe if I can face these demons that I have locked behind a door and let them go, I would feel free.
Maybe by accepting what has happened to me, understanding they have made me the person I am today and also realizing I am not in those situations anymore, that I am safe now, will cause the void to begin to close.
Maybe I can start feeling what true happiness is without having this crushing weight of my past on my shoulders. A weight that feels as heavy as cinder blocks constantly dragging me down.
I don’t know if letting go is the answer I have been searching for. I don’t know what that answer is but I do know, that is the next step I am choosing to take.
It’s time to stop holding on to my past.
It’s time to stop obsessing over how I thought my future would be.
It’s time to forgive my younger self for the mistakes she made and remember, I am not that same girl today.
It’s time to forgive the ones in my life who have hurt me.
It’s time to move on.
It’s time to let go.