In a city of nearly 4 million people, you’d think a nice, big void would be hard to come by. But actually, the vastness of Los Angeles is what makes it a great place to find dramatic views and open expanses — particularly ones you can use when you have the urge to shout.
At a time when turning on your phone releases a fire hose of frustrations, screaming into a void may sound like a necessary act of self-care. Google searches for “I want to scream” reached a peak in early August compared with the prior 12 months, and searches for “anxiety” were the highest they’ve ever been since Google started tracking. Screaming can release frustration, sadness or even embody the fearsome awe felt by being alive in an infinite universe.
“As human beings, we have the power to find meaning anywhere, even in the emptiness, or especially in the emptiness,” says Rabbi Joey Rosenfelda licensed social worker and psychotherapist who has advised patients on how to work through their emotions through screaming (in appropriate settings).
What constitutes a void varies depending on whom you ask, but it usually involves an expanse of nothingness or a whole lot of something to the extent that all the individual components become one giant, incomprehensible whole. Perhaps a void is a bottomless sinkhole or an ocean, but maybe it’s also the view of a cityscape, a shipyard, a traffic jam. Maybe you have a favorite view of a void in your own neighborhood that only you know about.
Encountering that void can be a powerful experience in its own right and can help you get in touch with big feelings.
“Contemplate for a moment what an ocean is,” says Rosenfeld. “I am forced pretty quickly to come in contact with the sheer mystery, force and uncontrollable nature of nature. That will elicit certain fears in me.”
So if you get to the precipice of a void and feel the need to scream, don’t fight it. Rosenfeld says doing so can serve as a healthy release and a way to express something that words alone can’t.
“The deeper a person draws upon the pain or the struggle that they’re in, the more carnal and primal the scream will be,” Rosenfeld says.
We’ve searched high and low in the L.A. area to get in touch with our most primal screaming selves. What makes a good void for screaming? There are countless incredible vistas in Los Angeles, but we like a void to have an extra special ambiance, in addition to a dramatic view (and readily available parking).
These are public spots, so pick your void and timing wisely. In crowded spaces, some well-meaning people within earshot might try to come to your rescue. If they do, calmly let them know what you’re up to. And if this wasn’t obvious: Don’t yell words like “help” or “fire” that would make someone think there’s danger afoot. Instead, go for the traditional “Ahhh! I’m screaming into this void that may not be an actual void but you get the idea because it makes me feel better!”
For those questioning whether they should scream in public — you absolutely don’t have to. Visit these locales and stare into the distance while imagining how it’d feel to yelp at the hills or the ocean or into a dark cave. Or perhaps scream into the soft void of your favorite throw pillow in the comfort of your home. Or simply take this guide as a lighthearted way to start a conversation about anxiety and our communal hunt for release.
Mothers across the country gathered earlier this year to scream in parks and parking lots to release their pandemic frustrations in what’s become known as #MomScream. Critics noted that these howling women were mostly white, according to the Washington Post. Though some screaming events were more diverse than othersit’s sadly worth noting that the response to your public scream may vary based on the color of your skin.
That said, you might come across a scream-worthy void when you least expect it. So keep your eyes open.