Dissecting Sonder

Sorta not a poem or a story. Just thinking.

I guess there's some poetry in it. But its loose, free-verse-ish at some points. Has some Christian themes and some hard topics. Trigger warning for the blind and visually impaired as well… oh and it's also like 1,000 words.


“sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”


What shade of sonder is it,

when I wonder if anyone wonders what I’m wondering as I wonder this? Or if anyone has ever wondered the same thing? Or if they are wondering about it right now? Is that just wandering thought, or sondering sought?

I sometimes wonder if anyone else has ever just laid there with their eyes closed and focused on the little lines flashing around in the darkness of their eyelids, then they press on into the shadows, tuning out everything and thinking of nothing. I wonder if anyone else has ever felt that sinking feeling of nothing, like I have. That feeling that doesn’t just take your breath away but makes your lungs vanish, as you become nothing for a moment before quickly opening your eyes to stop the fall.

Or if anyone out there is flubbing along with me as I ‘sing’ my favorite songs… I always wonder how many people are singing along. I wonder what they sound like, and what the words mean to them, how it makes them feel… do they sing to heal? Or if they have a sore throat at the end of the day too, because they were screaming along with me to their favorite heavy tunes. Or maybe they’re like whisper screaming, like I sometimes do.

I wonder if they get goosebumps when they listen to a certain song, every time they do. Just like I do.

I wonder what’d it be like to sing along together, but I’m alone…


I wonder if anyone ever reads a piece and desperately wants to meet the writer, knowing good and well that they’d have nothing to say and nothing to do. I just wonder if people wonder that too.

I wonder if anyone out there has made the same exact mistakes I’ve made, maybe on the same day. I wonder if they pray for me as I pray for them. I wonder if they doubt that He will hear them out because they don’t follow Him as they should. And if they question it all because the yoke isn’t as light as they said it would be. Just like me.

I wonder if anyone out there has ripped up a tear-stained note at the same time as me and how many people didn’t. Maybe they couldn't grin and bear it.

I wonder if I’ve ever met someone here in person, but we didn’t know it. I wonder if we both wondered if it might be someone we know, you know?

I wonder if anyone else thinks about how everyone is broken in their own way; our brains are slowly rotting away at different paces. I wonder if people meet someone and wonder how their brain is. What little neural pathways are engraved in it to make them perceive all this, like only they do? Wait… does that make sonder untrue?

I wonder if people's lives aren’t really just as vivid as mine… or maybe mine isn’t as vivid as theirs? Like they see color, and I see black and white.

Maybe that’s why some people just smile all the time. Because they really aren’t like me, and they don’t see things like I see. And I wonder if they know that I’m happy for them, because they don’t have to see the things I’ve seen or ever be the places I’ve been. I wonder if they’re happy for me, because they had it so much worse than me.

I wonder if their blue is my red, like their morning looks like a sunset, and my evening looks like their 10 AM.

Does sonder leave any room for individual perception?

I wonder if there's another who turns their eyes away, just right at the same time as me. And if they think they made it obvious, they don't trust themselves to look, not even in her eyes. I wonder if they wonder about me too. Or if they feel alone like I do.

I wonder if anyone else out there has a mind that won’t stop producing such strange things, constantly wandering and wondering, making them think that they’re crazy cause they can’t sleep until they spell out the things that their mind thinks… kinda like living a daydream. I wonder if anyone else dreamspeaks.

I wonder if sonder includes people who can’t see, do they really experience things just as vividly as me? It sounds nice and fluffy, and gives hope that someone might understand, but not everyone does. Not everyone reads Braille. And that’s beautiful. It’s unique. It’s a different color. But that doesn’t mean they experience less. Maybe sonder is true, then. Perhaps this piece was just my thought process.

But wouldn't that discount individual experience?

Did Dad see things just as vividly as me when he left? Or did he see things differently, maybe even to a lesser degree?

Was Mom's perspective as clear as mine, even though she was getting high all the time? Maybe she saw things even more vividly than I! Maybe that's why we were always so hungry, cause she was chasing colors that we couldn't perceive.

What do you think?

I don't know.

I'm just wondering sonder….

Maybe it's just feel-good words anyway.

Like an absolute statement that missed the mark…

There absolutely aren't many absolutes.

I just wonder if you wonder too.

I wonder if I've ever written something that changed someone's life. I wonder if they wonder if they've wondered if they've changed mine. They have.

I think I need to keep wondering sonder...

And I wonder if you do too.

Then I wonder if all this wondering is really even sondering, or am I just wandering because I’ve severed all my relationships and I am just longing to feel connection.

And I wonder if you feel the same,

so I wonder if you wondered that too.

Hmmm… how about this:

“sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is alive, and most of them are trying to stay that way.”


“sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is experiencing the human condition through their own unique consciousness, which may or may not be very dissimilar to your own perception.”

Can that be sonder?

Or should we call it something else?

I guess I just wonder what you are wondering, now that you’ve made it to the end of this post.

Thanks for making it here.

I wonder if you got tired of reading and just scrolled down here.

If you are wondering…

I think that’s fair.

Comments 6