L’appel du vide

When I first heard the word, I fell in love with it. I self diagnosed, because I was young and stupid and thought it was cool. They called it wanderlust, yet I only now understand why it’s wanderlust, and not something a little more romantic like wanderlove. I thought I understood, a few years back when I was eighteen years old, and felt as though the world owed me something. When I was seventeen, and I was under the impression that I had been cheated in some way. When I was sixteen and I had a raging inferiority complex. When I was fifteen. teetering on the brink of dependency and independency.

Life becomes rather bizarre when one enters their twenties. I have been in school since I was four years old. Primary school, when they taught you the definition of respiration. Secondary school, when they told us that everything we’ve been taught up until that point was a lie. College, when we did stupid things like throwing away our dignity because nobody held the intelligent up on a pedestal. Cigarettes hidden in coat pockets, no regard for our health, frolicking in the rain when we all had better things to be doing, but it didn’t matter then. Nothing did. And then university comes along, and it feels as though everything has changed. Like people wake up wired differently. Or maybe it’s just me.

I’m sitting at home now. I have been in this house for three whole months, killing time anyway I know how. My second year of university has come to an end, and it hits me all at once. I’ve done nothing with my life. If I die tomorrow [which is becoming increasingly likely since we now live in a cruel imitation of a world once beautiful], all I would have done is gone to school, preparing myself for what exactly? I’ve never left England. I’ve never seen the Aurora Borealis. I’ve never climbed a mountain. I’ve never felt the ocean and sand between my toes. Instead, I’ve been cowering away. I find myself, with a shock that rips through me, missing a place I have never been to. Never seen with my own eyes, except for in mesmerising photography. And it feels like a depression of some kind, gnawing away at me. I feel like I’m collapsing in on my self. Into a singularity until I am nothing more than a speck in a cosmic blink.

I’ve done nothing with my life. Back then, the excuse was, ‘Oh, you’re too young. You should focus on your education.’ And now, when this unbearable awareness of the world is born within me, it feels like it’s too late. When one cannot step foot into a cinema, or a school, or a protest, or a night club without feeling an insidious fear for their lives. The news is riddled with such atrocity, that my flight or fight desire seems like nothing more than a pathetic fantasy. I feel it dwindling away into nothingness, only to be triggered back into existence at the sight of Japanese cherry blossoms, the New York skyline, a French sunset, painting the clouds a deep purple.

And it actually causes me physical pain.

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