Hole-y Hunger

Author Anne Lamott writes about what she calls our "God Sized Hole."  The idea being that we, as humans on this planet, have a hunger that we spend our entire lives try to satiate.  We feel incomplete somehow, not enough, and so we search to fill that hole and complete the seeming incompleteness.  We drive ourselves to addictions and unhealthy relationships.  We expect the impossible of others-- that they can somehow be the piece to our puzzle, that they are responsible for our happiness.  And when none of that works, we keep reaching for more and more and more outside of ourselves, simultaneously shutting down around whatever it is that lies deep within, because who knows what exposure might bring.

I would say that my "God Sized Hole" is also my "Mom Sized Hole."  Her body left my life twenty-five years ago today, on July 23rd 1993.  After eight years with her, six-and-a-half of those being years she wasn't ill with brain cancer, I was left to navigate my universe without her physical presence.

One of my many weapons of choice against the God/Mom Sized Hole was partying and alcohol.

I started high school off with a bang, by splitting half a 26er of Tequila with an older peer before the first school dance of the year.  "Tequila Poppers" were my ticket to love, as I saw it.  Nothing like the exhilerating freedom of transforming into who you think everyone wants you to be, of pouring liquid courage straight into that God Sized Hole.  Being the new girl in town, I wasn't supposed to say "no" to such an opportunity. 

I allegedly wandered into the woods and made out with a boy that night.  And then I somehow made it to the dance and made out with someone else.

I don't remember any of it, beyond the first few Poppers, and being acknowledged by a cute boy at the party.

Drinking til blackout became my norm.  Waking after parties with a deep-seated feeling of dread. With each passing semester, that dread grew and grew, along with the feeling of my God/Mom Sized Hole.  At the age of thirty-three now, I still cannot have more than two drinks without waking the next day feeling panic-stricken, and full of shame.

I put myself in a lot of precarious situations through high school, and then into University.  But the weighted and simultaneously weightless feeling of being incomplete was more painful than the uncalculated risks I took when drunk or high.

This is why slut-shaming is so pointless.  Believe me, any amount of disgust you could feel for a woman who seemingly throws herself out there, or behaves in a seemingly uninhibited way, will never compare to the amount of self-hatred she feels, if she is doing so to fill her God Sized Hole.

Blue on black.  Whispering into a scream.  It's like throwing a lit match at a raging house fire.  Sister already threw gasoline on that bad boy looooooooong ago. 

Yesterday, I walked smack dab into the middle of an unexpected memory of one of my past attempts to satiate my gaping God/Mom Sized Hole.  Or at least numb it, mask it, armour it up and block it off.

Because that's just it, if I couldn't fill up that hole, I was  damned if I was going to show it to the world.  I was afraid of anything getting out, and anyone getting in to see what was in there.

A memory of, yet again, momentary annihilation of my self-worth, inhibitions, and self-consciousness.  I'm hammered drunk at a party.  I'm not with the usual kids I hang out with, this party is in a different town with a different crowd.  I do this occasionally to recreate who I can be, except that that always fails, because my tools of re-creation don't allow for much of a change of pace or different brush strokes. 

This memory is spotty, patchy, with flashes of light and just-as-sudden darkness.  One moment, I'm in an unfamiliar bathroom.  I'm huddled in the bathtub, clothes on, shower curtain pulled, shaking, crying.  I know I feel threatened, but I can't place why that is.  I can hear the party thundering outside the door and downstairs beneath me, but I can't decide if I'm supposed to join it.  I don't know how to get out- of the bathtub, the party, this feeling, any of it.  

Later, another flash of light, I come to again, and I'm not alone.  My body feels heavy, a distinct difference from the easy weightlessness I felt earlier, when the booze kicked in.  Where am I?  I'm on the floor, in an unfamiliar room.  I'm covered by a blanket, but it dawns on me that I'm topless, and I can feel my pants are undone and partially off.  I don't know where all of my clothing is, and I can't move  There's someone next to me and his voice is insisting It's fine, shhhh.   

When memories like these surface, it's like trying to out-run a storm, except the storm is coming from within.  The God/Mom Sized Hole yawns wide and this thick storm cloud roars out, throwing lightening and resounding deafening thunder.  

I'm not entirely sure how the God/Mom Sized Hole problem gets fixed.  I mean, that's the crux of what drives us as humans, I think.  It's the reason why marketing anything can be successful, we're all so desperate to not feel that gaping loneliness.  

It's also why spiritual practices and art have existed from time immemorial.  Ways of being with that Hole, and recognizing that we're not the only Hole-y ones.  

It's my belief that the God Sized Hole is both a Shadow and a gateway to Light.  

When I stop trying to fill it, run from it, deny it, repress it, numb it, and I can I sit with that opening and the white-hot pain, that is when I, ironically, find my deepest and truest sense of self.

The opening of my God/Mom Sized Hole is from where I access not only my pain, but also that part of me that connects with others on the level of their humanity.  It's where the Light of my truth spills out.  It's the doorway between my Love and the rest of the world.  

I notice that sitting with the pain eventually abates it.  It takes a hell of a lot of courage to stay in it, to ride it through.  On the other side, I know I haven't erased my past, and that storms will exist as part of my humanity, as a part of all of our humanity.  But, maybe the storm clouds feed off of the booze, the drugs, the performances, the hiding.  Maybe the lightening and thunder is the abundance of fear just trying to escape, so that the Light can come through.  Maybe exposure of the storm clouds is the only way of exposing who we really are.

Maybe the God/Mom Sized Hole isn't a deficiency, or even a hole at all.  Maybe it's a Doorway made so that the Soul can make its way out, connecting with others through their Doorways.  

I see you in there, I see that Light.  And your storm clouds don't scare me, your hunger doesn't scare me.