Recently I have been preoccupied with what isn’t there. Or rather, what someone isn’t thinking. What someone isn’t saying. What we aren’t doing.
I used to subscribe to the belief that serenity is being happy in the periods of life where there is a pause. Funny how this year has forced us all into a long hibernating pause, causing uproar and heartache, as we stop living our lives. Because of course, living, means doing things. Experiencing things, being with others, going new places.
But what about the times that don’t belong to that. The negative spaces. They exist, and somehow they are more important than all the other times during our lives. They reflect who we are, not who we are to everyone else.
I have been thinking about the moment between the conversation of two people. Where no one knows what to say, nothing has to be said, and to say anything would feel like an intrusion on the nothingness that exists. Through the awkward barrier of social norms we manage to find the ethereal of truth of who we can be, as we just exist together.
I have been thinking about looking out the window when I am alone. While at first I notice the leaves on the trees, the rush of cars, dogs leading owners…eventually it turns to white noise. I am looking at nothing. I am with myself and there is nothing else. My thoughts are flat, my breath is slow, yet somehow I am more alive than when I make a show of myself to make someone laugh.
Two fundamentally different forms of negative space, that I have been reaching for, that help me understand who I am. When I am not laughing, or crying, or watching a film, writing a book, working my day job, who am I? Who are we all, in the negative spaces?
As I said, I used to believe that serenity is being happy in the negative space. Maybe something in me still believes that, but I am slowly starting to think, little by little, that it could be more than that.
Perhaps serenity is not only thriving in nothingness, but seeking it out, letting it overcome the rest of your life. Letting all the pretense go, in order to be who you are when there is no one else to be, even when there is.