Sit there and do Nothing
others meaningfully filled their days was a mystery to Estelle
hardest thing to do is nothing. Estelle found it impossible to take
no action and to simply let one moment collapse into the next. It was
as if the world would stop, her existence would lose all meaning, if
she simply did nothing. For Estelle, doing something to relieve the
futility and boredom of her existence meant eating, buying, or talking
or making something. Her attempts to make her life full and meaning
full resulted in clutter. She had an excess of clothes, weight, words,
and hobbies. All of this happened because essentially her life had no
meaning and she alone was responsible for giving it momentum and direction.
And because Estelle's life was essentially void of meaning and reason
everything thing she did, created, or consumed was essentially a waste.
When one lives that way there are two choices. One can restrict all
input and face the emptiness and boredom. Or one can fill ones life
with things and objects that are simply there to fill space. Estelle
vacillated between these extremes. At times she ate sparingly, consumed
little, and spoke little. At these times she was able to accept the
essential emptiness of her life. Her lifestyle reflected it, and she
could live with that reality.
At other times, usually when she saw the fullness of others lives, she
tried vainly to fill the void. Then she would buy appliances, clothes,
food, and trinkets in an effort to fill the holes. These objects would
then accumulate, and their existence would crowd hers and remind her
of the futility of her life.
How others meaningfully filled their days was a mystery to Estelle.
Other people either worked, or had satisfying relationships. She had
neither. At best she related well to the few children she tutored, and
she did have a modicum of creativity. Again, when things began to pile
up, what she made with her hands, or what she bought, she became overwhelmed
and panicked. Estelle became painfully aware of the cycle. Her life
was without meaning, and no one cared about her. Because of this fundamental
truth, the burden of filling the minutes and hours and days with activity
was hers alone. There was no one to call her up and fill an hour of
her time. There were no pressing chores that she could complete and
feel as if her life had direction. Basically, it was a matter of creating
tasks to mask the fact that no one cared about her, and she had no real
reason to live.
when she sickened of doing nothing, and when her frenzied doing
something ended, she turned to eating enormous quantities of food.
She ate candy bars, ice-cream, hamburgers, and drank colas in order
to fill herself up. After such binges she felt sick and even worse
than if she had done nothing.
poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken would echo in her head. Two
paths, the one she took was self destruction, the other, perhaps leading
to further reinforcement of the realization of the meaningless and aimlessness
of her life had been left untrod. Each time she took the road of self
destruction, her feelings of insecurity and insanity deepened. She envisioned
what it would have been like to ride out the discomfort of doing nothing.
But she could never know what that nothing ness felt like. Her will
was too weak and she always had to do something to relive the pressure
of nothingness. This was one such time. She was on the downward spiral
and in a state of awareness that although one moment would turn to the
next, and eventually the hurts and slings and arrows of the day's mishaps
would somehow vanish, she had to do something. What she did was eating.
As her stomach stretched out and regret flooded her heart, she realized
that this could not go on. There was no relief to the cycle, and she
had no faith that things would work out. After consuming all she could,
she went to the top of the busy overpass and flung herself off the side.
Her body landed with a thud. It was finally over, the cycle had been
broken. She could do what she should have done all along. She could
just lie there and let the world pass her by. That is what she did for
eternity. That was her choice, and she could have done that and lived.
Except, she found it hard to sit and do nothing.
© Kira Pirofski May 2003
all rights reserved