The other day, to my shock, I was chastised for answering the most dull question–“HOW DO YOU FEEL?”–without an ounce of irony. In a rare moment of unadulterated honesty, I replied, “Nothing.”
A terse laugh followed by, “Darling, you must feel something! Everyone feels something. You couldn’t possibly feel nothing. You’re no better than a beast if you feel nothing. No need for politeness, spit it out. Tell us how you feel.”
“Infuriated,” is what I should have said. However, the sting of being compared to a beast sealed my lips.
Whenever I’m candid about feeling devoid of feelings, I’m always met with some brand of incredulity. If it is not outright mockery, as seen above, it is someone handing me a thesaurus while saying, “You just can’t find the right word.”
Nothing. Emptiness. Numb. Naught.
Why does the sensation frighten people? Is it because feeling nothing is how we feel when we are depressed? Rather than be sad, some forgo feeling anything altogether. A brilliant coping mechanism, really. Why feel sad when you can feel nothing at all? Does the grim possibility that they are conversing with a depressed unsettle them so that they must demand another answer from em?
Perhaps they are frightened because they confuse the nothingness for nihilism. If that’s the case, who could blame them for dismissing the nothingness? You have always got to be on guard around a nihilist. If life has no meaning, then surely a nihilist and their absent values makes them liable to kill themselves whenever they please. Likely in your company, when you are without alibi, wrongfully convicting you of murder. This is precisely the problem with nihilism. Everyone knows that there is meaning in a cruel joke, like a baseless murder conviction. And ending a meaningless life to ruin another is most definitely a cruel joke.
We cannot rule out the regrettable possibility that I might actually be boring. Perhaps I am feeling but I am too dim to realize it. Perhaps they were merely trying to coax me into contributing something when they refused the initial “nothing.” Hopeless Okies panning for gold in the Sacramento River long after the rush. I take solace in the fact that at least they are panning for gold because at least their perseverance to find the gold long after the rush means they are dim too.
Do you feel nothing most of the time? If so, we invite you to express your nothingness in the comments.