Austin Peay State student writes song that makes my eyes sweat

I have a new happy song: Sonder by Gina Henderson.

Gina is a student at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, where students who read WHERE AM I WEARING as part of the university’s common reading program were asked to do a creative response. Gina wrote and performed (vocals and ukelele) her song Sonder.

Here’s how she introduces the song in a book highlighting a few of the responses:

According to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, [Sonder] means, “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” This perfectly encapsulates the emotions I felt while reading Where Am I Wearing. I was a startling awakening to realize that my clothes were made not by faceless robots in some detached part of the universe, but by living, breathing individuals with hopes and dreams like mine. I expressed this feeling through my song, “Sonder.”

The moment I was introduced to the song I was standing in front of 100 or so faculty, deans, students, and the president of the university. I heard the chorus, and my eyes started to feel a bit sweaty. I suddenly found the tops of my shoes very interesting. I’m sure that those in attendance would have loved to see me moved to tears, but it wasn’t going to be a pretty cry.

Here’s the chorus:

’cause there’s a girl who’s just like me
All across this world we wander
Is she who she wants to be?
Is this even more than sonder?
And I wonder
And I wonder

Oh and the bridge…!

Trying to see a life that’s not like mine
Trying hard to read between the lines
Would it even make a difference?
Wondering what it’d take to make a change
Make our separate lives get rearranged
Maybe all we have to do is listen

I really want to write out all the lyrics. They are perfection, but instead, promise me you’ll listen closely to the song.

Later I even got to have my picture taken with her. Thanks, Gina, for inspiring me, moving me, introducing me to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, and to Sonder.

Here’s the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows on Sonder:

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