What to read when hope flickers

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” — Jonathan Safran Foer Years after reading this book, this quote has stuck with me. It’s not what the author intended, but I feel like it describes my personality, the way I take on other people’s emotions like they’re my own. When people I care about are sad, or afraid, or hurt, or upset, I feel it. Another person’s grief can stick with me for days, clinging to my stomach and making my vision go out of focus as I imagine what they’re going through. A friend’s fear can raise the hairs on my arms and neck, make the panic well up in my throat. A loved one’s hurt feels like a punch in the chest, sudden and breathless. It’s probably not healthy. But it’s who I am. A few weeks ago, my…

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