I am not sad..

He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, HAPPY.

And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach.

By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness.

I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over. I am not sad.

As if he might one day convince himself. Or convince others – the only thing worse than being sad is for other to know that you are sad.

I am not sad. I am not sad.

Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of the bed and each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping.

And by midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be some where else, someone else, someone else, somewhere else. I am not sad.

-From the book Everything is Illuminated.

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Numbers

Numbers. They determine everything. You can only do this if you’re a certain age. You become a target to jokes if you don’t have a certain number of body parts. Your weight has to be between a certain amount of numbers. You’re only considered smart if you score this certain number on a test. You’re only hired if you’ve had this many years of experience. You can only have these if you have a certain amount of dollars. Bills. Money. Net worth. Time. Contact information. The world revolves around numbers. And it’s funny, because numbers are the furthest thing that determines who you are. Your personality. Your passion. The songs you sing. The poems you write. The people you’ve helped. The wisdom you’ve gained. Your laugh. Your smile. Love. Trust. Hope. Loyalty. Generosity. Kindness. We exist without numbers, but numbers don’t exist without us. Never sell yourself short for some numbers that you honestly only care about because society tells you to. You’re more than the numbers. The numbers aren’t more than you. You define the numbers. The numbers do not define you.