anxiety of space

shelf on Oct. 3

Yesterday I looked up at our bookshelves that used to be crammed full. Each shelf is now approximately half empty. Anxiety washed over me, if only briefly, as I looked at that blank space. Although my reaction somewhat surprised me, the feeling was certainly familiar. Each time I clean off my desk, the same stress overwhelms me. Something in me begs to fill that empty space. It cannot be there. I would prefer to remove the shelves than to see them empty.

Rationally, I can see the space as a sign of progress, but that emptiness provokes a visceral reaction. I fill them up in my mind with other people’s belongings. I’m making space for someone else to live here. But while the shelves are empty, they nag at me, longing to be filled.

shelf today

My feeling towards that space is akin to vertigo. The gaping hole is drawing me in, and only things resting there can stop me from falling.




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