On being an Emotional. Capital E.

I’m what I would call an Emotional. I wish SO dang much I could call myself an Intellectual, but I’ve sat through enough discussions with friends who genuinely ARE Intellectuals and honestly, I’m not one of them. I can’t hold my own despite the best efforts of NPR, The New Yorker, and BBC News.

What I DO is feel things really big. I mean, I’d like to say there’s more to it, but a lot of times… there’s not. I feel REAL big.

I’m an adorer of books but, even with books I’ve read multiple times, I can’t remember all of the names or the sequence of the plots. This also goes for movies and tv shows.

Things I do remember (ALL emotional):

1. The degree to which I felt repelled or connected to a character or setting. (Examples: Repelled- every single character in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book; Connected- Matilda, Jo March, Jane Eyre; Setting connection- The March girls’ attic, the trail to Ms. Honey’s cottage)

2. The level of grief I went through over character relationships. (Examples: Low- Hunger Games; High- Divergent)

3. The intensity with which I still visualize the settings I created upon first readings. (Movies can sometimes mess with this, but not the firmly implanted ones.)

My brain’s not big on remembering events and times and dates and names. If I’m being honest, I wish I could change this about myself. I am jealous of those who can step  into well articulated debates and speak with eloquence with educated points. It isn’t as though I want any part of me to disappear, I just want more parts to APPEAR along with the others. An Emotional Intellectual. (Call me greedy.)

A negative side effect of being an Emotional is that I often get overwhelmed with the level of atrocities around us on a local and global scale. At one point last year it was so heavy that my body literally felt heavier. I felt physically weighted down with grief at all of the awfulness. Do you know this feeling?

A few weeks ago, the father of one of my students died unexpectedly, leaving an 8 and a 5 year old behind. The 8 year old is in my class and he was a personal favorite of mine before this- already this tough little boy with this soft heart. (I’ve always got a soft spot for the naughty little boys.) After his dad died, it was awful. He would act out in class and a few seconds later I’d look over and he’d be crying these silent tears or he’d just lie down on the floor under his desk and not move.

That’s the kind of heavy I deal with daily. It is heavy enough without the rest of the world dropping the ball with hunger and poverty and AIDS and unclean water and sex trafficking… and… and…

I’m an Emotional.

So I reached out via Facebook to ask for some new clothes or art materials for the two boys. Certainly it wouldn’t bring their dad back, but I also believe in the power of goodness and DEAR GOD, those boys needed some good.

Social media can be so unbelievable in the best ways. Friends of mine shared my post. People I didn’t even know started contacting me. I set up a Paypal account for donations at the suggestion of others. They brought clothes to me, sent money, gave art supplies. In a week, I had 4 full boxes to give to those boys and $300 to be able to take them shopping with their mom to let the boys pick out some things on their own.


Most of the people who gave had never met either of the boys. 


People are good. People are waiting for ways to help. Not everything is broken!

(Except maybe my Intellectualism. I’m still waiting for that gear to kick in.)

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