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poking holes in the soul

poking holes in the soul

It started in fifth grade. I was sitting at my desk, hunched over a grammar worksheet, when the feeling seized me. It started in the very pit of my stomach and worked its way upwards a few inches. It was undefinable. Just a...feeling. It was familiar to the small pangs of homesickness I would feel whenever I slept at my cousin's house and woke in the dark of night to the realization that I wasn't safe at home. I asked to go to the nurse's office, where I cried and upset the stoic nurse. She sent me home. By the time I got snuggled into my bed, the feeling was gone.

I still get it now, a feeling that takes over everything I am doing at the moment. It's hard to describe; it's not a real physical pain. It's more like a combination of emotional and physical turmoil. Like something is wrong, but you don't know what. Like you want to cry, but don't know why. Like guilt, but you can't figure out what you are feeling guilty about.

When I was in high school I wrote a poem about it and likened the feeling to the devil poking holes in my soul. Because it reaches into the depths of you. It takes everything that is inside you and twists it and turns it until it soaks every last ounce of bad feelings that exist inside your heart and it shoots them up into your veins so your whole body can feel bad at once.

It may last seconds, it may last a few minutes. It may happen at work, at play, in the middle of a pleasant dream. I don't know what it is. And the only other person I know who has experienced the same thing is Geoff, who just told me about it yesterday, and we were able to share our experiences of the feeling with just a few words.

I wonder how many other people know what I'm talking about. Evil butterflies in your stomach. Devil poking holes in your soul. Purgatory swimming around in your veins. Repressed memories trying to make their way through the dungeon they live in. Does anyone else ever experience this? Is there a word for it, a reason?

Sometimes I wish it would just go away and never come back. But yet I still want it, because I want to figure it out. Maybe once I know what causes it, I can make it go away for good.

Or, like a friend said to me when I tried to describe the feeling, "Don't worry, it's just gas."


ain't that grand - we're in mortal fear and everyone thinks we just need to fart more.

I'm convinced that the secret of life has something to do with farting.

Panic attack?

I've felt this a few times in my life....it's like this weird sadness that has no rhyme or reason..almost like deja vu..something that I can't put a finger on and then it's gone. It only lasts a few minutes. I've never really analyazed it before..it's happened maybe 3 times my whole life..but I wonder if it's our souls trying to remember something that our minds can't? Maybe it's the feeling a newborn has when it leaves the warm, liquid world of the womb and comes into the cold light of this life..we know the shit has hit the fan..the ultimate lifelong homesickness.

No,I've suffered from panic attacks for many years. I know what they feel like. This is much more subtle, physically.

I call it a black pearl. All the shit that's happened, that you don't want to remember, it gets compressed into this dark little ball and hides itself away inside you. Like the pearl an oyster creates to stop the irritation of a grain of sand. Thing is, every once in a while it can't quite keep everything in... it kind of leaks a bit. Sound familiar?

Ben and Pretzel, yes. Both scenarios sound exactly like what I'm talking about, and I think you both hit on some of the issues that go with it. Memories we don't even know we have, submerged somewhere in the dark of our souls, maybe they are calling out to us, maybe they are escaping, like air being let out of a balloon just a bit at a time.

Hmm..for me it was an improper diet and gas that always did me in.

I get this a lot. When I was little I hit on what seemed to be the perfect solution: drink a glass of water and then hug your mom. It doesn't work as well when you're too big to hug someone who can totally physically envelop you...I'm looking for a basketball player to date, but in the meantime I think it's a meta-loneliness and you just gotta suffer through it.

When this happens to me (and it does, and I am so glad you mentioned it), I feel it's as though my heart is actually breaking. Not a figurative breakage, but the real deal.

yes, me, too. It's a different feeling from deja vus.
I don't feel the guilt; just the pained longing. I think it has something to do with feeling separated from the whole, maybe slightly nauseous from the combination of limited senses and longing for return to ...what you can't put your finger on...but you know it's there.
(Kind of like in the Matrix?)

I know that feeling. It sneaks in quietly, subtle as the butterflies begin to build and you feel as if something has gone wrong, somewhere something bad has happened or is about to occur. You can't explain it to the people who ask, all you can say is that it is there and that it has nothing to do with anxiety.

But there is a physicality to it (I don't think that's a word, but oh well)...not just that sense that something is amiss, but a physical feeling that is turning your stomach into the pit of darkness.

But longing....that's the best word I can think of. If I only knew what I was longing for.

Our lives are so busy. We shut down parts of our consciousness in order to cope with the barrage of information we are subjected to. We are so consumed with focussing on the minutia of our lives that we "forget" that at one level everything in the universe is connected (see Quantum Holograms). I think what you are experiencing is when your consciousness "realizes" it has cut itself off from the universe - a feeling of deep sadness, fear, loneliness, an urgent need to connect.

My $.02 worth - your mileage may vary

Thanks, Doug. That is some very interesting reading.

Happens to me. I call it a "Black Day". No rhyme or reason, just bad feelings and self-recriminations. You feel as if every decision you have made in your life is exactly the wrong one, and now you are stuck at the bottom of the pit, and the only activity staring you in the face is the long, arduous climb up to where you were years ago before you screwed everyhting up, thereby accomplishing exactly nothing, and burning years of your life to simply get back to where you were. Yeah, I'm familiar with it.
I just keep reminding myself that I am not on crack, and therefore, better off than I might be at this point in my life. It could always be worse. Sometimes, this even works.

I've been there. Recently, actually. It's the feeling I get when I drive by the restaurant I used to work at for two years, before it turned into something else. It's that brief pang of emotion. Fear, mixed with lonliness and that feeling you got when you realized you forgot your homework in third grade.

For me, it's usually triggered by some nostalgic stimulus. A song I haven't heard in years, or even when I've met someone who holds a vague recollection to a significant person at some point in my life. Once that feeling in my gut goes away, it is usually followed by a long and depressing trip down memory lane (more like a dark alley).

Here's another thought, have you even woken up with that feeling and have no idea why? I figure it must have been something in a dream that made me so upset. I rarely remember dreams, so it can be disturbing. I feel like I'm going to die and I only have a vague reason as to why. Only a foggy recollection of the mood of my dream. Those are the days I just call into work and lay on the couch watching Price is Right.

Eric, having one of those days as we speak.