Sonder /ˈsɔn.dər/ n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you.
A couple nights ago, my best friend and I were smoking weed outside of a seedy bar off Boulder Highway, crying about our problems. It was a beautiful best friend moment, you know the kind. My best friend and I are soul sisters, living a different version of the same story. She was a breath of fresh air that night as I was drowning in a pool of my own anxiety. See, I was being selfish and having the realization that if I intended to grow the world could not be about just me. I had to let go of anger. I had to release myself from my mistakes. Simply, I needed to breathe, and weed is a great tool for taking a deep breath.
So as I’m releasing the burdens of my mind to her and sharing peace puffs, we hear arguing coming from the other side of the bar. We both fell silent trying to listen, but were unable to identify voices and what the argument was about. Within seconds two cops pull up to the bar to break up the argument. We finally see two guys come from the other side of the building and one goes to talk to each cop. The first guy, in the navy pull over, is calmly communicating with the cop about what was happening (which I still couldn’t get the tea!) and the second one, with the white sweatshirt, was arguing with the cop about god knows what.
The cop with the black beanie is trying to yell louder than white sweatshirt about the law.
“Why are you getting involved? Nothing is happening? We are just having a disagreement?!”
“SIR! SIR! The law requires I get involved to prevent potential domestic violence! I have to stop you both!”
“But nothing is happening!”
“You already have a black eye! I have to make sure it didn’t happen today.”
“Who cares about my black eye!”
“I care if it happened tonight!”
Which, I’m not a lawyer, but that makes sense to me. Black beanie yells more about seeing white sweatshirts license, which he is unwilling to give the cop. Eventually though, white sweatshirt hands it over and navy pull over goes over to tap his shoulder. I couldn’t hear their words but hand motions suggested to me he was reconciling. He tapped him on the back and extended out his other hand. Now the other young cop with old man glasses comes over the white sweatshirt and asks him what was happening.
He details his life over the last week, he was beaten up at the grocery store (how he got the black eye) and they stole his groceries (he didn’t report the crime for undisclosed reasons but you can imagine what you want) he was in a disagreement with his sister who he was staying with currently (so heavy family drama) and now he was arguing with his friend for another reason that I still could not hear.
It quickly calms down, cops drive away, friends go back inside, navy pull over patting white sweatshirt on the back. I felt my heart aching for white sweatshirt in a strange way. In fact, tears welled up as I felt for a moment what it must be like to be him.
I was looking at him, thinking “That guy has had a shitty ass week.” Just like I had been having a shitty ass week. Looking at the situation I can speculate a lot of different things, morally I could sense maybe that guy deserved all his karma. my judgmental mind stayed silent, however, I didn’t feel anything but empathy in my heart. He must have been so stressed and came to a free comedy show just to have a good time. Probably to forget his problems for a moment, to laugh at my friends who’s whole purpose of life to make a guy like him feel a little better for five minutes.
For a moment, I felt like I saw reality for what it really is. Everyone has drama, everyone’s got stress. All of us need healing and most of us are ignoring it. I felt like I could treat the world a little kinder that night. To give myself a break and know that we are all in this crazy vortex of life together. I stopped feeling so selfish and saw my problems from another persons perspective. And then I became at peace.
We are gonna get through it.
I hope you’re remembering to breathe.