Drowning in a Sea of Emptiness

There is a great pain that I feel—a great inner suffering that tends to beset itself upon me at night. A pain which I love, for it is the pain which fills the inner void; similar to the pain one feels when a loved one passes—a pain that fills the immense feeling of inner emptiness which accompanies you when you’ve lost someone. I love this pain; I embrace this pain, for this pain is all that I have. It is mine. It is unique. And only I understand it, for only I experience it in the way that I do—suffering is as incomparable as love. This pain fills my void, and the void is the absence of connection to someone similar to my self. The search is for a connection to someone who understands my pain… who also suffers… for someone who can enter my world and fill me with themselves. I have this inner void that begs to be filled and only love can fill this void—not brotherly love, not motherly or sisterly love, but love which can only be expressed as romantic love. The beauty, of course, is that it establishes a connection between two, both who suffer and are filled with pain, yet now, are able to fill each other with each other. Perhaps, one must first be empty, first suffer, before he or she may truly love.

I feel such miserable isolation from the world, from others, except for this suffering which connects us. There is such beauty in this suffering; when eyes meet and for a moment express to each other the understanding that: “Yes… I know you suffer too—I see the sadness in your eyes.” The recognition of someone looking into your eyes and acknowledging that they see you suffering is the deepest level of communication. What else matters?

Today I’m standing in front of my class. I speak—I’ve memorized a speech which I’m reciting before the class. As I’m standing at the lectern, speaking about Sartre’s play No Exit, my mind can only think of the many attentive eyes staring into my own. All I think of, as I scan their diverse faces, is how isolated I am from them. Thirty of them staring at me, giving me their full attention; I see my words have affected some of them, I have invoked emotion and thought in them, and still we are disconnected, still they do not recognize the suffering that I feel which I’ve masked behind my clever, social façade. They do not understand me, for I am not manifested in my body; I am not the person that they see; I am the emptiness within begging to me filled. They hear my words, they judge how I speak, how I act, but they do not hear me! They do not see me! They do not know me! I beg to connect with them, but I am bound to be as blind to them as they are to me.

As I speak, my eyes focus on Isabel, an eighteen or nineteen year old girl—my age—who is charming and nervous, the kind of girl who is very unsure of herself but, of course, that is precisely where her charm lies. She is focused on me; she stares attentively at me. I begin to direct my words to her; I speak to her—but does she hear me? I only want to connect, I only desire to fill my void with something other than pain—I’ve had enough of pain. But I ask: does she hear me? I want to show myself to her; I want her to show herself to me. I am unafraid; all I have to lose—nay gain—is more pain, only a deeper recognition of my own isolation. Hah! But does she hear me?

My speech is over. I stand amid the group in the hall as the class takes its usual break. I pose inane questions to these strangers whom I’ve somehow found myself referring to by their first names; they reply and reciprocate the established social courtesy. As I speak without thought, I begin to feel the unpleasant, burning sensation of being curiously observed by another. Oksana seems to have taken an interest in me and cannot help but stare at me as she nervously stands across the narrow hall, tapping her right foot. She is curious and interested in me; she seems to want me to recognize her, to take up a similar interest, but I am unable. Her big, intense, green eyes stare into mine, giving me no peace, begging to show me her suffering. I see her pain, but…remain indifferent; I have taken on the role of the cold, indifferent stranger that I myself feel surrounded by—the members of the crowd who only reinforce the isolation that one feels.

Oksana seems to be lost—she seems ready and willing to give herself to me (if only I accept her), but I can’t—I won’t. I think of Isabel, I imagine us connecting, filling each other with love, joy, company, support—an end to the miserable isolation that we both are now forced to endure. As I think of Isabel, I realize, Oksana probably thinks the same of me…this is what her eyes seem to say to me…but I am unable to comply with their entreating demands. I look down at the floor and realize what a mess this is. What absurdity!

Then I look up—out of myself—as my attention wonders to a story Natalie is relating. She is very excited by it, and has grabbed the group’s attention with it. Her expression is very animated as she relates to us her dispute with another girl. She draws me in as she speaks about her encounter. Her face is lit up, and as she speaks, she gestures to us with her skinny, lovely hands, painting pictures for us with those suave strokes of her arms. But as unexpectedly as the story began, so it ended (so much is like that)–everyone’s expression quickly returning to the peculiar, dejected demeanor which we all neatly carry around. Again, we each drifted of into our own thoughts, our own emotions, as we stood: islands unto ourselves.

I began to think of Isabel again. Those brilliant eyes which so adamantly gazed into my own—looking into mine without judgment, with sheer interest. They were different from the penetrating eyes of Oksana which so intensely pierced my soul. Isabel’s eyes are gentle, compassionate, glimmering with interest. Oksana’s eyes seem to demand something from me, they call fourth, they ask, while Isabel’s seem to give, I can’t say what, but I know they are giving eyes.

Again suddenly my thoughts are interrupted, this time by my own laughter for I seem to have responded to a joke Natalie has made. We all laugh and again break of into ourselves. I ask myself who these strangers are; I ask myself what we are all doing here, how did we all get here, and where is it that we think we are going? None of us seem to have any clear idea as to how they got here, and nobody seems to understand what is demanded of us; those of us who seem to have some plan are uncertain of themselves, those of us who wish we had a plan are even more uncertain. We are lost. We do not understand this world and we do not understand each other. There is no God to help us, no teacher to guide us, no parent to push us. All we seem to have is the communal understanding of each others wretched predicament; that is no consolation.

The break ends, the class regroups, and we all go back to take our seats—and each one us, as we sit, begins to sink of into their own abyss.

you have great insights into the universality of pain. as long as life is the antithesis of inertia it seems any action belongs to a spectrum of experience. for all love there is pain. for individuality (being born) one will feel loneliness. the pain of separation…but we are all of the same thing. i try to see outside of dualities in this sense. but i never perfectly can because i’m human and bound to experiences that are expressions of some flux in the spectrum experience. this flux, this point i experience is doomed to have an opposite that i can experience too. life is fascinating.
your character seems afraid of maria. this character is ready to be in her shoes but not to fulfill his own wishes. this fits into relational opposites again. your character demands fulfillment but will not fulfill. therefore he remains empty. what a circle.
thanks, i enjoyed your writing.

I like this very much, mostly because it feels like me.

How does one get through such pain? Does your pain and suffering in love isolate you from the one you love? If it does, can one get over such torture and allow themselves to truly communicate to the other that they love? Even if pain is necessary for love, it seems like it isolates the one who loves rather than bringing one into connection with the one they love. What do you make of this?

Assuming this question is aimed at me:

The pain does not isolate me from the loved one in question, it does however isolate me from everybody else. Though, being that I also can never feel related to her. It’s like there is a lack of understanding on her side, while there probably isn’t such thing.

However, excuse me for the paradox, there is a form of isolation in a sense that there seems no place for fun, everything we do together has to consist of strong emotions, which is bad for a more rational, realistic relation.

I’m extremely introvert, actually, no real-life family member or friend knows me. I will never reveal my emotions to anyone, except to someone I love (romantic love, not family or such). This difference is really immense, too immense to be good. It makes me to be better off without a girlfriend.

Purely psychologically speaking though, I am very isolated from everybody else. Consider me the applied definition of aliënation. But this has nothing to do with the former ‘love’.

I apologize for my lack of specificity, but the post I posted with the questions is open to anyone. But thanks el-half for your response. I am now intrigued. Would you mind further explaining

And when you say your emotions are immense did you mean intense? Either way, what did you mean (describe if you feel comfortable or send me a PM)?

And if you think you would be better off without a girlfriend, why do you persist in being in such a relationship?

Please don’t take these questions offensively. I am curious and it might help me. Thanks!

I’m so closed most people are only able to know me on the outside. The inside is unreachable for anyone.

I did not mean my emotions are immense, I meant that the difference in the way someone really knows me is immense. For example; my parents see me as a cool person, who will not be easily hurt, with seemingly little empathy, while the opposite is true.

The difference in extravertness is so big that I get completely isolated from everybody else when I have a girlfriend. That is, if I feel comfortable revealing myself to her. I’ve had 4 girlfriends, 3 of them being too, dunno, normal. I don’t like normal people, normal being used in a weak form of banal. People with no interests and such. Anyway, one of them was different from most other people. So I was really isolated (not really physically as I see them in school of course) from other people I know in reality. Actually, I don’t feel happy when having a girlfriend, I feel depressed, really depressed, and it seems a necessity, this feeling.

I feel alone, in a world of ignorace, mediocrity and dumbness. And I feel arrogant while saying so. A girlfriend seems to help, because (romantic) love makes you blind.

Up to just recently, I would have agreed with the possibility that love can make you blind. But could it be a temporary blindness that eventually relieves your eyes of stress or the dumbness of the world, so that you can see more clearly than before? I just don’t think that anything can make you blind, figuratively speaking of course, unless you allow it. I am a huge fan of control so it seems as if one felt blind it was only because they truly wanted it. Perhaps you can make yourself blind to the dumbness of the world in other endeavors besides engaging in romantic relationships.

Yes, by looking for people/forums on the internet which contain people that have something useful and well-thought to say. They seem to be rare.

Alexistentialism,

Thank you for your wonderful insight into my writing, it really gave me something to think about. I also feel a great resonance with everything you wrote; thanks again.

Kristalyn,

I think love fills the person, when one loves, rather than pain. The pain is from the lack of love; so one fill’s his or her emptiness with pain (sorrow, anguish… word’s can’t really describe) when one doesn’t have someone else to love.

When my friend’s mother died, I never felt closer to him than at that particular moment. Sorrow connects people. I know what it’s like to lose a parent and so I was able to understand my friend more so than someone who doesn’t. His sorrow is unique of course (as is mine) but as we both have the understanding of it (sorrow in general), it connected us.

The connection is, I think, the recogniztion of the beautiful person struggling beneath that exterior expression of suffering.

Furthermore, el-half and Kristalyn you two speak of love making one blind. I think love orginates from the opposite - from seeing something in someone that most seem to miss I.E. (suffering) and then connecting with them. Infatuation, on the other hand, can arise when one begins to imagine what someone can do for themselves.

Love, in my mind, is someone else who is able to consume her being. As I wrote The beauty of this love is that it establishes a connection between two, who both suffer, and are filled with pain yet now are able to fill each other with each other. Nature sometimes does the trick, I agree with you, but that is always temporary, correct? It is through connection with other human beings that we are able to sustain some sort of fullfillment.

Underground man, by reading this wonderful piece of writing you have communicated a piece of suffering which i felt ablidged to reply too. It isnt common for people to talk about despair in a open manner, usually when you see despair in another it is as if you yourself were seeing another lement and talk as if on shallow waters. Even when you dive in to the deepest excess’s memory can provide it never seems helpful, nor encouraging. But it provides welcome relief to those that get it of there chest, which they’ve throughly enjoyed; even if it were on a completely subliminal basis.

The emptyness of everything that is not I. Infatuation and the fantasy world are only grounds for love to tread on.

[The artist] Love, im my mind, is something that is able to comsume my being.

Kesh,

That was a beautiful metaphore.

Imagination leads to infatuation. Wheras Connection is brought upon through recognition.

The Underground Man,

But how the hell does one love or allow themselves to be loved or connect with another?! This communicating and forming relationships with others seems to occur so naturally to others but I don’t get it. I don’t know how to love another being. I have only loved and still love ideas, thoughts, and actions, but not beings.

Well kristalyn,

Have you never loved a parent or sybling? Perhaps even an animal? Who can teach another to love? To me… I know that I feel when my literal heart is in pain just at the thought of the other being in pain. That is as best as I can describe it for you.

…I know…

I can relate and it’s a feeling only quenched or barely matched by chance…it is a look of “understanding”… its the mirror that makes each matched smile deeper. The expression to one another of the profound and the mundane, sleeping and waking tending to one another with acceptance.

A chance meeting after degrees of pain and years of neglect, times of joy and nights left blissfully unremembered…

The Underground Man,

I have considered any such feelings that I have for my parents and my sister and sincerely do not think they are that of love, only pity and possibly some repsect at times. And I have never had a pet or been around animals all that much. And so I have never really loved any living being or animal, but only trees and leaves, and ideas and actions. But then when I say this, I want to reconsider what I have just said for I think the feelings that I have towards what I think I love is only intense feelings of concern and amazement at them.

No one. But who knows anything if they can’t teach love? It seems as if the ability for me to love is not in me. Maybe I am not a being, but only a decaying piece of flesh.

vortical,

Sounds nice and sort of like an intellectual’s fairy tale. Who is actually fully accepting and understanding of another?
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Actually, I don’t think that being accepting and understanding is all that difficult. It’s not to say that you agree with everything they believe, or that they never make you hurt, upset or angry. It’s not an idealism that says there will never be short comings or disappointments. In accepting a person, the way you have to accept the chance occurrences that happen in your everyday life, you’re releasing a certain amount of expectation and treating that person the way you treat yourself. Perhaps there are people who wake up every morning thinking they have to be perfect at everything or thinking intensely about how much they hate themselves- but most of us have come to understand and accept who we are. Why would you hold another person to an unattainable standard? …especially if you love them.

As The Underground Man stated in his story, it’s also the difference between Kristen and Maria. Just because someone loves you, that does not mean you will love them. In rare instances when the love is shared equally something unseen happens between you and that other person. You don’t see them with the same eyes as you see the rest of the world, your sensitivity is heightened. They can bring you great joy, or effortlessly break your heart with a few cunning words…and you can do the same to them. This is what you have to realize and why you need to ask yourself how you would feel if they didn’t accept you. When you love and consider them as a part of you, to hurt them is to undermine your own desires as well.