A State of Suspension

That’s what I wrote as a note on my phone a couple of weeks back. It was the only few words I felt went some way to accurately describing how I felt, and in equal measure, how I wasn’t feeling. But also, and in broader, more generalised terms, it went some way to capturing what was wrong.

If I’m to sit down and think about exactly what “a state of suspension” means, I always am reminded of this feeling of nothingness, something that has come in and out of my life over the years. And although on paper it looks as though I’ve just leapt from two completely unrelated ideas, in my head, one definitely helps explain the other.

Nothingness is what I feel I use to revert to when something emotionally monumental has happened in my life. As an example, the other night I was fortunate enough to head to an event where I sat and listened to some amazing storytellers talk about, essentially, who they are, and how they came to realise that that was who they are. I remember during the telling of stories a constant wave of something, I guess some sort of immense emotion – I was affected by what was said in a way that I hadn’t been in quite some time. When people asked me the next day how the event was, I remember saying how personally I found it quite affecting, but I couldn’t say why. I couldn’t say how I was affected, because I didn’t know. My head was close to empty when I was asked, the only thing left was this vague idea that this event had changed me in some way.

It’s putting my finger on it that’s the problem. My head doesn’t feel as though it can work out exactly what’s going on. It knows it’s being hit with something, it just can’t nail exactly what it is. As a result, I found it much easier to feel nothing instead. I was replacing something quite important and maybe even integral with nothing.

Writing has helped reverse this though.

Very, very, slowly, those suspenders have begun to fall. And I feel as though there is a little more room for me to actually feel when those big moments come. I’m slowly becoming a little more comfortable with it, and learning to embrace it.

I could spend hundreds and thousands of words speculating as to why this state of suspension has been a part of my life. And believe me, I spent hundreds and thousands of moments thinking about it. What I know now though is that trying to sit with how I’m feeling, getting to know and be comfortable with those feelings is one of the best things I can do. I’m lowering the guard, and giving it a shot. Talking and writing, trying to capture feelings in time is a way to ensuring some level of progress is made. And most definitely I’m still at the beginning of this whole process, but, well, this is important.

By Anonymous

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One comment

  1. Your words really struck something in me. I too am an inveterate “nothingness” feeler – it often takes me days to work out my feelings about a significant event, when others can express themselves instantaneously.
    The other day I read something about Susanne K Langer, an American philosopher who submitted that art, especially music, is a highly articulated form of expression symbolizing direct or intuitive knowledge of life patterns—e.g., feeling, motion, and emotion—which ordinary language is unable to convey. I suddenly thought to myself, “Can that be true? That there are some feelings that can’t be conveyed in words?” My initial reaction was, “NO! They just can’t find the right words/combination of words.” But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I don’t know the answer but I DO know that I always assume others to be more articulate/in touch than me. I assume failure too easily and I freeze up, convinced of my own inadequacy – but what if my experience is on such a deep level that it’s natural that the words to explain it wouldn’t be readily available?
    Like you, I am trying to open myself to possibilities instead of letting my lack of self belief shut them down, and I am doing this in the same way you are – through being more mindful.
    An intimate and enlightening piece of writing. Thanks for sharing.

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