Do you ever have those moments when you just soak up people? You just absorb them because you want to know everything they are. Do you ever desire to read their life story, splayed before you like the pages of an encyclopedia? Every experience that molded them, defined; every action, its cause and effect; every word they spoke and its meaning, interpretation, connotation, and denotation; every why, and so what, and purpose. To hold their skin melted against your own, to feel what they’ve felt. Their eyes projected into your own, to see what they’ve seen. Their fingertips, pressed to your own, to touch what they’ve touched. Their heartbeat an overtone to your own, to love what they have loved. It is not romatic attraction or chemistry or sparks. It is flames not of passion and sensuation, but of existence. Shared, common existence that is so emphatically different, even in humans of the same language, same culture, same continent.

I soak up people like I breathe in books, like I ingest music, like I consume moments. Excessively, obsessively, addictedly.

How are we so different? Same language, same culture, same continent. But they are not the same, are they? Not quite. Humans are shaped by nuances. Slights in communication, speech, class, social interactions, geography separate one person from another, unite one person to another. And aren’t we all bound by our eternal fate? We have only a short time to grasp the stories of one another.

I adore the nuances. Every word I pen can be met with relation or confusion, connection or distance. I can touch heart or mind or soul, all dependent upon stories, their stories, your stories. And the nuances between them. The nuances that define us. A broken home, a little miracle, a silver spoon, a silver lining. Grace or shame; love or hate. Every story– creation, fall, redemption. We bear different beginnings, but we all brim with potential. We place our trust in different foundations, but we all cling to empty assurances. We experience different heartache, but we all break and heal nonetheless. We burn with different callings, but we all breathe in joy. We laugh and we cry and we break and we make our mistakes. We are not alone. Ever our story remains our own, ever our stories intertwine.

Nuance to nuance, heart to heart, we coexist. We need to absorb people. We need to feel what they’ve felt, see what they’ve seen, not to become them, not to water our own selves down. But to understand, to see others as humans, not as statistics or examples or mistakes or “others.” As humans with battles and scars and tears and hope and joy just like our own. Not to excuse them or to blur the lines, but to know them, to know ourselves. We need stories. Stories remind us of our humanity. More than anything, we need true stories; we need each other’s stories. Your story is your own, but how many times has it intersected with another’s? How many bits and pieces of yourself belong to someone else too? How many people need to hear your story?


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