The Void

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately. Big, soul searching thoughts. In many ways it wasn’t until K moved out in early December that I was able to move on, to grieve, and go through an emotional process that was otherwise delayed.

I’m not going to lie — it’s been tough. Just when I begin to think I’m gaining on new ground, I cycle back into the grief that claws at my heart and forces me to take a hard look at reality. Who am I? What do I want? Where am I going. Just your normal existential crap.

Bear with me, reader. As much as it pains me to wallow, wallow I must. For now.

But here’s the thing. In this very uncomfortable emotional state, there is information — information that helps me understand who I am at a deeper level and understand the choices that lay before me.

I had a turning point a few weeks ago. I was at work, caught up in my own thoughts, and it hit me — I saw the Void. In my mind’s eye I saw the space that had previously been occupied by K. I had spent months avoiding it, like a ghost caught up in the movements of a life long gone, but there it was. Unmistakable. How could I have not seen it? I even gasped. Oh my god, how could I have not seen it? What’s more is that I realized that the Void has been with me much longer.

My adult life has been an exercise in filling the Void. Food. Sex. Alcohol. Relationships. Friendships. Work. Bullshit. K. I threw all of this into the Void, hoping to fill it up, patching up a hole whose origins I still do not know. Is it ancestral? Is it just the nature of being human? Is it karmic? Is it because I was never close to my family so I spent so many years trying to approximate what I felt I lacked psychologically and physically? These are questions still yet to be answered.

So here I am with the Void. It is vast. And at its core is this aching need to feel connected, to feel supported, and to be loved unconditionally. I am on a quest to find my root, my true family — my soul family. In K’s departure I realized something that I’ve been searching for as long as I can remember. Moving to New York, on one level, was an attempt to fill the Void after a breakup. Operation Find the Lesbians was another example. There are more, I realize, when I give myself time to reflect.

Now that I’ve identified a core issue, what do I do?

I’ve realized in the past that my attempts to fill the Void have been less thoughtful, more impulsive. This time I want to be more considerate, not fill the Void, but shape it, heal it. Do I put myself out there and make new friends? Date? Connect with like minded individuals?

Part of me, impractically, wants to get a puppy a just be done with it. A puppy with fill the Void! The other part of me wants to throw myself into my work and career. But I realize, with all my maturity, that these are fleeting solutions. I’ll admit that a current ill conceived panacea is French romantic comedies of varying quality, sparkling wine with a splash of Chamboard, pâté, and Arvo Pärt’s Fratres.

But in all seriousness, I’m grasping at quality things to fill the Void with. Cooking classes at Ger-Nis in Park Slope? Learn a new language? Take a class in another fun topic? Write a novel. Read all the classics I’ve been meaning to read? Jane Austen??

I’m still trying to figure it all out. Until then, the mind rambles and the heart searches for a next step.

10 thoughts on “The Void

  1. That is some seriously heavy stuff, yo. I had a moment of existential quandary a while ago, and came to the conclusion that at least for me, I didn’t so much have a void and was trying to fill it with lesser things, as that I found I was creating a metaphorical stained-glass window. Something to consider. Good luck, rouge. Hang in there.

  2. Oh, “Fratres”… Which version do you prefer? The original one for violin and piano or the cello arrangement? I like the latter even better.
    If I may, since you are putting together a reading list, I humbly recommend “L’art de jouir: pour un matérialisme hédoniste”, by Michel Onfray. Or any of his books, for that matter. Works for me.
    I’m considering taking up Tango classes and I have been restoring my Wassily chair.
    “Connect with like minded individuals” is a pretty sensible approach. It doesn’t fill the void, but it makes it more bearable.

    • I prefer both versions of “Fratres” as they both bring something different yet equally good. I was recently at a concert for A Winged Victory for the Sullen (listen: and they closed out their set with “Fratres,” which was beautiful and unexpected.

      Thanks for the recommendations. Only one of his books has been translated into English. Perhaps an excuse to learn French? I’ve forgotten all my other languages, German and Latin.

      • Thank you. That was sublime and moving. This proves my theory that empathy cannot be anticipated and it always comes as a stimulating surprise.
        You are right about Onfray’s books. I’m sorry, I had no idea. It’s a shame because his thinking is truly amazing and should be made available to a larger audience.
        Yes, by all means. That’s an excellent excuse to learn French.

  3. The first thing that came to mind when I read this is: yoga. The second is a show I just saw called “It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later.” It’s about the lives of two random people told through moments in their lives, many of which have to do with looking forward or looking back, and very few of which seemed to be about the right now. The thing about yoga – if you have a good teacher and don’t treat it like exercise or competitive calorie burning or whatever – is that’s it’s all about the breath and being present in the moment and feeling what it’s like to just exist where you are, with the void and the plenitude of just being a body and a person. I hear you on the issue of the void, feeling like there’s something missing. But instead of jumping to fill it up, what if you don’t treat it as a trauma or a deep problem to be healed, but a natural state, a state of presence. Keep breathing and being present, and everything else falls into place.

  4. I have only just stumbled upon your blog from Dorothy Surrenders.

    Honestly, we all have a void and it only goes away when we don’t think of it.

    The same way that when you are so busy you don’t feel hungry or realise how fast time goes it also means that the we don’t realise the ‘void’ and that is not going to change…I guess until we reach ultimate fulfilness.

    I don’t actually think as women we’ll ever find the plug for that gap but we will find other ways to temporarily fill it.

    Good luck – stay happy – and maybe enjoy filling the void, however you do it.

  5. Interesting. I have been feeling the same thing from a long time almost since I was a child. I tried to fill the ‘Void’ by studying, drawing, painting, photography, weed but it seems to grow on you. Seems like it will swallow you…Don’t get me wrong, I am a normal guy, have a family, job, house, etc but I choose not to be woven in the fabric of society like just another thread. I am not religious and I hate people who would say I should turn to God for anything.
    There are few things though, things that made me so much more “at peace”
    1. Meditation in Himalayas: I lived as a monk for about 3 months in Northern India learned meditation where it all started and I have improved. Almost as if I found the meaning of happiness one day.
    2. Ayahuasca: Deep in the jungles of Amazon. Amazing. Make or break experience. It definitely makes you.
    3. Child: I have a baby. Watching her is just the most beautiful experience. I hate kids, teens, I know it is a lot of trouble in future…But today it is sheer bliss and I am satisfied.

  6. I’m starting to think that the impetuous, fanatic validation and variety in religions and wars all stem from realizing, trying to cope with and/or fearing and denying these mysterious and elusive voids.

    I’m currently reading a geeky physics theory book that is trying to convince me that space is also a “thing” (actually, many things, but a bunch of stuff none the less). Meaning, “space” and “empty” have nothing in common. Currently, this has only increased the unrest of my buzzing, overly analytical, anxious brain. But, it could make sense then, if I can figure out how to lift the lid off of this idea of “having space to fill” (because space is already full), if I can ever get over how remarkably uncomfortable that makes me, I might find some relief? Regardless, I would probably live my life quite differently. That’s my hunch anyway… but I’m only half way through the book and there’s no chapter on “how to make amends with your ongoing existential crisis that has severely increased now that you’ve read this book because you now realize that most of your unrest is backed up by science” so who knows.

      • The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene. The theme is multi-universes, which is based in a mix of physics and theory. His other book, The Elegant Universe, was really popular, also good. He writes for nerds who don’t want to try and understand the details through math (me). He pisses off a lot of physicists by weaving theory right into science. He also points out a lot of inherent flaws in the scientific process, making theory, in some cases, just as reasonable. None of it is settling but it helps my mind to zoom out.

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