Essay · Mental Health

Invoking the Blank Page

I am looking to you, Blank Page, for help.

I woke today with Worry. While I was able to slough off the morning blanket, Worry persisted its shroud about me. An invisible source secures a tight hold around the top of my head. It clamps the innards of my chest. The cinches have been there for hours. Tears have been held on the cusp of my eyes. Fear and Woe have been playing hand-clapping games, projected from the voice box of my mind. They chant and coo familiar rhymes in a droning monotone I cannot disrupt.

So, Blank Page, spread open for me as my fingers tighten against this pen. Friction warms the inky ball that rolls against you as you welcome my smudged record. You do not pity me. You are not confused by me. You know not my past and cannot speculate at my future. You invite my marks. You submit yourself to my pressing. You listen without interruption.

I turn to you, Blank Page, in a way to make Worry seem more real. The less I say, the more power I grant my crashing emotions. The more I spill upon the thirsty sands of your shore, the greater my resolve grows in disallowing these squalls to render me crippled. Look! Worry knows we are talking about him. His ears are burning! They are illumining red! With each word his clench gives way. My breathing finds rhythm. I find quiet.

Bless you, Blank Page. Do you remember when your existence heightened my anxiety? When I took your purity as a taunt and not a challenge, as mockery not opportunity? I was convinced you needed me to ink perfection the first time and every time. You looked up at me untarnished, whispering judgment. I suppose those days were necessary, for hindsight now engulfs me in clarity. Here we stand, partners. You waited patiently until I saw it was the echo of my ego’s frailty calling out from the empty space between your lines, projected onto you, forcing my hand to shut you away instead of engaging you with my words. Without you, how might I filter my oft-wavering perception? You coax me to iron these wrinkled thoughts upon your surface, to dredge up to your blankness more treasured complexity than I ever might imagine.

Blank Page, today you have taught me this: We do not eliminate Worry, we engage him. We cannot explain him, but we can be more aware of him. Worry cannot be conquered, but the more we make him real, the less power he has to blot out Hope and the less power he has to keep our pages blank.

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