POV: Basketcase.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

POV ("point of view") is a new series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.


I knew things were changing when, perched on a stool at a table in my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, I read a letter that the poet Ted Hughes had written to his troubled twenty-something son years ago, and felt tears welling in my eyes.

That’s how we measure out our real respect for people, he writes, by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate - and enjoy. End of sermon. 

A man sitting across from me at the table in the coffee shop pulled a chocolate doughnut from a paper bag and took a bite.

As Buddha says, Hughes continues, live like a mighty river. And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.

I read those last lines again. And again. A third time still. Blinked back tears. 

The man with the doughnut was staring at me. “How’s your day going?” he asked, chocolate on his fingers.

“Great,” I replied, and sniffled. “That doughnut looks delicious.”

“I’m an emotional basketcase,” I told a friend later.

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Are you feeling okay?”

“I feel amazing,” I said. 

---

Thank you so much, as always, for reading. You can find last week's POV entry, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, here. More to come!

24 comments:

Rose said...

"Live like a mighty river." I love that.

Chelsea C. said...

I think having big feelings is gorgeous and lovely and brave. Sometimes I feel like the world is too beautiful too look at, and even the beauty makes me cry. But I feel like the people who understand that (people like you) are the ones who get it, who DO live like mighty rivers. You are wonderful. xo

Diana said...

I so appreciate these posts. This one in particular is sticking with me.

erin said...

As a fellow coffee shop crier, I loved this. Every word.

sherry said...

you are a jewel.

Hena Tayeb said...

that was really nice.. such a simple every day moment that spoke volumes.

Cassie @ Witty Title Here said...

Love it, Shoko. I'm glad I'm not the only one who tears up at happy things in public places. Great new series. :)

theshellhammer said...

Inspired to let out a little emotion on this day, thanks to you Shoko! POV is the perfect series and you are such a talent.

--alex

Latrina said...

Oh, I got goosebumps. The good kind.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Shoko. I am very excited about this new blog column of yours and can't wait to read more. <3

Mel said...

Sometimes it feels like something's wrong when I can cry at the drop of a hat (or the reading of a line), and then sometimes I realize that's everything, to feel it all and so strongly. Thanks for sharing!

Poppy said...

Lovely

Bekka said...

I'm a complete basketcase today, so thanks for this Sho!

Raquel R. said...

It is a sweet tiny story of how to fully embrace our human nature by courageously expressing our emotions. Well done!

Meghan Silva said...

There was a time last year where I felt numb , this year I'm filled with emotion , I wouldn't have it any other way brilliant post hun .

Meghan Silva's Blog

Julie said...

LOVE this, Shoko. Trying to be as big as you know you can be...life-long work, and exciting and hard, and makes me cry in coffee shops, too. And maybe at work sometimes.

Carol Rial said...

Tiny story. Great writer.
Love your beautiful new series. xoxo

Shoko said...

Thank you all so much. I appreciate your kind words more than you know - having such wonderful, thoughtful readers really means the world to me. Thank you a million times over for your support!

Linda said...

I love this! Ted's letter... I can understand why you were so moved.

Thanks for sharing. I love this new series of yours - keep those posts coming!

Rachel @ Existation said...

Oh, girlfriend, can I relate to this one. The amount of times a day I find myself tearing up at ridiculous things (as well as poignant things like that Ted Hughes letter) is getting a little embarrassing. Emotional basketcase is right...except it really does feel amazing, doesn't it? I feel more connected and alive right now, almost buzzing with empathy and curiosity, which is probably why it makes it so easy to shed a couple of tears on behalf of other people or the words and ideas that resonate with me.

Bea B said...

This is so beautiful Shoko. I remember reading that letter a while ago (in fact, I think it was your blog that directed me to it!) and feeling the same way. My favourite line is:
the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.

It makes my heart hurt.

I really love these posts, thank you for sharing them with us.

Shoko said...

Bea, thank you. And yes, that line really is amazing.

angela said...

Creative people can tend to have an emotional side, I know I was very emotional as a young art student. I feel like most of the decisions I made then were emotion based, and I don't regret anything!

Kathy said...

This left me with a smile on my face.

Shoko said...

Angela, as you shouldn't :)

Kathy, I'm so glad!

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