How Does the Word, ‘Blank’ Make You Feel?

It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.” ~Paul Cezanne

Blank can be painful. Having everything stripped away is not something we are used to. After all, the world is anything but blank. Everywhere we look is clutter and chatter and lines have blurred together.
Blank is the reminder that something was taken away from us, someone was taken from us. It is the synonym of the words, ‘empty’ and ‘void’ and that makes us want to give up.

Blank can be scary. It seems like an unknown which we are also not used to. After all, the world continuously threatens us with terrifying nightmares. Everywhere we look are monsters and demons and someone is coming to get us. Blank is the reminder that someone can see us out in the open and has an easy shot to take us down. It is the synonym of the word, ‘vacant’ and that feels like a scene for a horror movie.

Blank can be exciting. Starting over can seem like a new beginning. After all, the sun rises and sets, the rain comes to purify, we get rest time in between it all and each moment in our life is an opportunity to begin again. Everywhere we look are seeds turning into flowers, caterpillars turning into butterflies and new life being born every second in many species. Blank is the reminder that we are given each moment as a gift and the chance to try again. It is the synonym of the words, ‘clear’ and ‘clean’ and that feels fresh.

The idea is to change my perspective on something I see or in this case, something I don’t see. By simply taking the word, ‘blank’ and breaking it down into, ‘painful’, ‘scary’ and ‘exciting’ I am able to embrace the opportunity in the word while not dismissing its origin. I also acknowledge the things that could threaten my new beginning. Essentially, I keep myself ‘aware’.

This is why I break everything down. It’s not just my love for philosophy or words but it’s like panning for gold and searching for solutions. The phrase, ‘When life hands you lemons, make lemonade’ comes from this thought process even though it’s become so popular now that we dismiss it as a solution. It’s either too intimidating to start fresh or we feel too guilty for doing so.

For many years I would beat myself up at the notion of starting over. You may feel guilty for going out and having some fun if you left an unhealthy situation or if you were left alone. Sometimes we are made to feel as though we should wallow in our unhappiness just a bit longer because society believes healing time takes a certain amount of time.

I was thinking about the story my Mother told me when she sat in her Pastor’s office. He was watching her twist her wedding and engagement rings in circles around her fingers. She said after many years of mourning my Father’s death, she didn’t know when she should remove them. He asked her if she even wanted to. He told her there was no law saying she couldn’t keep them on forever if she wanted to. She just looked at them. He said, “unless you are thinking you would like to take them off.” She actually did want to take them off but said she felt guilty about it. She said it had been decades since she’s seen that finger bare. He told her she was allowed to put any ring she wanted on it. She decided to take them off that day and she put another ring on.

I think she felt like everyone would be watching her if she removed my Dad’s rings. She wondered if people would think she was single and on the prowl or something. She realized there were actually three options, not two. Keep the rings on, take the rings off or put another one in its place. Taking them off seemed scary, replacing them felt painful and nothing felt exciting. Keeping them on at least felt familiar. When she replaced them with another one, I believe she saw that as transitional. It was a ring that meant something to her but not from a suitor.

Sometimes we either fill up the blank canvas because it feels like the safe choice. It’s not painful, scary or exciting.

But what if we just embraced the opportunity to choose and went with something that feels like the right choice?

The lesson that I got from Mom’s experience in that office was she was able to make a choice that was bothering her and came up with a solution that came from her soul. The ring she picked to put on it was simply a special ring she had and she felt connected to it.

I think many of us try to fill our void and blank canvas with something equally as detrimental to our spirit as what was initially cluttering up the space in the first place. It’s probably better to choose something to put on our canvas that is really and truly a part of us, something we are passionate about or will make us feel truly content. Otherwise, going to the store and racking up the credit card just puts us in debt, a one-night stand leaves us feeling cold and drugs or alcohol makes us feel ashamed.

This is why my blank canvas is full of music. Music actually has the capability of knocking things out of the way and is powerful enough to clean the canvas for me! We all have something we are passionate about.

So, let me ask; Is blank painful, scary or exciting for you?

Karen :)

“An empty canvas is a living wonder... far lovelier than certain pictures.” ~Wassily Kandinsky


  1. Music does heal...one day I'll be able to push pass the demons that block me from Healing ~n~ get back to my Music like I long for. Love to ya~!

  2. When I read the title of tonight's blog I immediately thought about "the blank canvas." In my case the blank watercolor paper, lol. For me it has always been exciting, even to pick out the paper! There are so many choices, depending on the effect that I want to achieve. It can be scary to make that first brush stroke, but it has never felt like a void, or a black hole that was going to swallow me. It is a fascinating metaphor for life though, when you break it down like that. In order to achieve any effect at all in painting, or in life I have to start somewhere! Either with the blank paper, (a new beginning), or by making choices and adding the layers of paint, (adding layers to my character), in order to achieve the desired effect, or effectiveness that I want to achieve.