Extension of Omphaloskepsis


Living Writers


11 November 2003


Once I hated myself more than anything. I was just a battlefield for the voices in my head to argue an endless argument. I was a tiny child, a small nothing, caught between two voices: Conscience and Id. They surrounded me, and one of them was always yelling. Their noise was inescapable. I could not handle the way they berated me, Conscience always seemed to yell the loudest. There was a time earlier today when Conscience had really pushed me to the edge.


I remember just hours ago I managed to absolutely devastate the one person that I cared about the most. I held her in my arms. She couldn’t stop crying. What have I done? I wondered. If there is one person I never wanted to hurt, one person that I loved, one person that actually loved me, she was that person. She was unable to hold back her tears, and it was my fault. I wanted to cry, I wanted to feel her pain. If only I could have cried with her to at least make it look like I had a feeling of empathy. But I couldn’t, and Conscience screamed at me for it.


I could not even pretend to cry so that I could show her some compassion or sympathy. I know a normal person would care more than this. My inability to cry seemed so unnatural, like a mistake in my person. I was created with this sincere and compassionate shell, but it was all a facade. At the center I was void of a soul; I could not dig deep enough to find my emotions. I had been empty for as long as I could remember. When I was five years old my Grandfather died of lung cancer. When I was 10 my 96 year old Great Grandfather fell down his basement steps only to die of pneumonia on the cold basement floor. When I was 14 the senior captain of my swim team died of a brain aneurism. I remembered each funeral perfectly. Each time I stood amongst the black clad crowd and observed the proceedings. At each funeral there was a viewing, and we all paid our last respects to the corpse in the casket. Many people lowered their heads, cried, and let out wails of grief. I never did. I put on the most solemn look I could muster so that I could pretend to feel something. Id encouraged this behavior, and Conscience told me I was heartless.


Once again I stood in the midst of a tragedy, with this girl that I loved crying in my arms. Once again I was bearing witness to the destruction of someone beautiful, someone I loved, and it is my fault, yet I still could not cry. I was standing there totally detached from the moment, with pictures from the other tragedies in my life flooding my memory. I examined the other people captured in those still frames in my mind. As I looked at some of the people in the picture I began to realize something. Their eyes were just as cold and dry as mine were. Those tiny round windows to the soul were not filled with tears, they were clear. I could see right through their hollow shells. I then realized that I was not the only one who was flawed. The small hole in me had purpose. It meant that nobody is perfect. Someone else may have been climbing through the Grand Canyon, but not I, I did not have that kind of strength. Conscience was right, I was heartless and empty, and that was OK, because nobody is perfect. This conclusive idea brought closure to my wandering thoughts.


I found myself back in my shell, looking through my own eyes once again. The girl that was crying in my arms had cried herself to sleep. I gently pulled my arms from beneath her, and released her from my tight hug. I kissed her forehead and pulled the covers over her shoulders. I left her room without a feeling of guilt or sadness like I probably should feel. But not with a feeling of happiness either. I left feeling simply content with