sonder, essays

a new newsletter from tré larosa

Welcome to the official re-launch of my new newsletter, complete w a new title, vision, and a new banner image. The first issue is below where I explain the new title and vision. I look forward to this new project with you all. If you would like, I would deeply appreciate your support on Patreon. If you can’t financially contribute (and of course, that’s okay!), the best way you can support me is by sharing this newsletter with friends and family, especially on social media or by forwarding the emails. Thanks so much. All love, always.

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Photo by Adrian Pelletier on Unsplash.

There’s a memory I hold dearly in my mind from the summer of 2015. I was deep in the trenches of studying for the MCAT. Strange to think, at 21 years of age, I was taking on the task of studying for an exam that would determine the rest of my life. This memory hangs in my mind vaguely; not vaguely in the sense that I hardly remember it, but more in the sense that it feels like deja vu. I was a different person five years ago. We all were. It feels like a memory of a past life. In a sense, I suppose it was.

I wasn’t on even Orkambi yet. Modulators were not commonplace for most people with CF. My future, though I was pretty healthy, was bleak. As I prepared for the MCAT, I wondered if I’d live to see 30. Days were long and redundant; hours upon hours of staring at textbooks and watching videos, trying to learn — ehhh, memorize — every detail possible for a standardized exam a few months away. 

On this particular day, I was bored. I was bored of studying for this dumb exam that nobody had taken yet — I was a part of the first class of students to take the “new” MCAT. I was bored of having my whole life “figured” out. It was raining, hard. A summer rain. The type where it has that late summer smell in the air. For me, summer rainstorms conjure up memories of childhood and peace. I couldn’t take the paradox of studying for this life-determining exam while being nostalgic of childhood summer days.

I can’t remember how, but on this particular day, while these paradoxical emotions swirled in my head, I stumbled upon a YouTube video titled “Sonder: The Realization That Everyone Has A Story” from a YouTube channel called Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig where he invents words to capture complicated emotions. Afterward, I took a break from studying and took Duncan outside for a run in the rain. We both hate getting wet in the rain…that is, until we accept it and embrace it. We were running through the streets of Lexington jumping in puddles. It was that fleeting feeling of pure childhood.

This memory — these complicated emotions layered upon one another to create a feeling that can only be described as human — is what I strive to elicit when I write. I want to make people feel emotions, to remember that they are alive, to remember they are humans navigating space and time, to realize they are a part of something spectacular just because they are alive, to embrace being alive in the moment, to finding purpose in the grand scheme of the universe.

I’ve been writing for a few years now, but I never had a vision with my writing; I knew I wanted to write about complicated topics but the essays (and inspiration) came less often than I’d like. When I started this newsletter, there was a clearer vision; whatever came to my mind was going to be put to paper in an interesting way. The fact that this platform allows me to send my essays out directly to people that have subscribed meant there was more engagement between me and my readers. Still, there was no consistent vision. 

And now I’m thrilled to announce that I’m re-launching my newsletter! This time, instead of the (admittedly narcissistic) self-titled tré larosa, essays, I’m going with sonder, essays to pay homage to that very fond memory that encapsulates, in my mind, the feelings I want to bring out of others.

Sonder (n) — the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

What sonder means to me is more than that we’re the protagonists of our story and that everybody we know is “living a life as vivid and complex as [our] own.” It’s that we’re all a universe unto ourselves; the complexities of all of our minds are linked in a Jungian way. I don’t know that I believe in the collective unconscious as Jung described, but I do believe that all living things — humans, plants, animals — share something cerebral with one another, the earth, and the universe. I don’t care to label my beliefs, but it’s a spiritual feeling. 

This feeling of being connected to one another, the universe, the future, and the past is what drives my profound love for life, existence, the world, and the universe. In this way, everything (and I mean everything) is linked. Topics we typically relegate to their own confines such as politics, religion, science, society, philosophy are all linked in one way or many.

sonder, essays seeks out to explore these connections; this newsletter is seeking out to explore any and every topic imaginable. I consider my greatest skill not to be the microscopic details, but seeing the bigger picture; connecting seemingly disparate topics, and then articulating the human element to all of this.

This newsletter will not have a strict format. I’m titling it sonder, essays because the heart of the newsletter is still and always going to be essays. Essays are why I write; whether they are essays about my personal life or science or politics or society or whatever, essays are my favorite form of writing. But this newsletter is about being human. I want to amplify other human experiences and other forms of media. I may write about movies, books, or shows, or whatever else. Being human is being vibrant and dynamic; sonder, essays will embrace that. I want sonder, essays to be enjoyed, to make people think, hopefully inspire people, and more. How I envision sonder, essays to be best enjoyed is being read on a back porch on a brisk, beautiful fall morning with a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, not every day is like that so my goal is to elicit those emotions with each newsletter will be reminiscent of that perfect morning.

I’m also always looking for topics to write about so I’m always accepting feedback. This newsletter will remain free for the time being but I can’t make promises it will always be free. Some form of my writing will always be free but everything may not be free forever. I will continue my Patreon, as well. 

I will be publishing the newsletter twice weekly — on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. This is also subject to change depending on what you all think and if I end up changing my mind on when it would be best. 

The first newsletter will be out next Wednesday. It will explore living life in the midst of the unknown — living in a global pandemic with a chronic disease, taking a new step in my career, and moving 600 miles away to Florida. Of course, it will be more than that.

sonder, essays is not about Tré. It’s about being human. I look forward to this new project, and more importantly, engaging with people who read my words and learning more about the collective human experience.