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I have decided to write a few stories based on these beautiful words from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

Explicating our feelings and emotions is good for the soul.  Sharing those feelings with the wider world can be difficult, but I believe it is of great importance.

obscure sorrow, mauerbauertraurigkeit, self care, dictionary of obscure sorrows


  1. the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like—as if all your social tastebuds suddenly went numb, leaving you unable to distinguish cheap politeness from the taste of genuine affection, unable to recognize its rich and ambiguous flavors, its long and delicate maturation, or the simple fact that each tasting is double-blind.

In a room full of people, humans, I feel the lively energy. I smile and laugh, I make jokes and pleasant anecdotes.

I anticipate things, stepping aside as others move through, laughing right on cue to a punch line, catching a drink before it falls. In tune, in step, in the moment, matching the beat.

I am in the middle, yet only at the center of my own story. A pinprick in the pulse of the party. A speck of sentience only in my own being. I see myself as if from above, zoomed out. A dot of red, as it were, in a sea of white, swirling around. Swishing and sloshing, the sounds shove through me.


I zoom in.

A face that I recognize, but cannot name.

“Oh my gosh!” I reply. “How are you!?”

“I’m great! How are YOU?! Long time, no see!”

niceties ensue. I feel revulsion, though I know that this person is not the actual source.

We smile. I cringe internally.

We laugh. I think back on happier times.

What is wrong with me??

We were friends once. Really.  Good friends. I probably held her hair back over a toilet. She probably held me as a cried over a lost lover. We cared. We mattered to each other. We set each other on paths to our better selves.

I finish the conversation abruptly, rudely. I make my way out into the cold night air.

I walk awhile, not knowing where. Actually, I know exactly where. I’m going west on some suburban road that starts with a J. I just don’t care because it’s a well lit, wide road with no cars or people at all.

I wish I could see the stars. They give me a sense of purpose. I could look up, see the greatest distances, know that I am looking deep into the past and living the future. I would find a connection with those people that I bumped into. See the purpose behind our meeting. Understand that there is a deeper meaning.

But the stars are dim. The light pollution is too strong and it isn’t that late, yet.

There was no purpose behind our conversation. We met. We moved on. I’m ok with that. The universe is way beyond that.

obscure sorrow, mauerbauertraurigkeit, self care, dictionary of obscure sorrows

Thank you for reading.

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