Bonfire Night: Now I Can Express How I Feel

At the beginning of this summer I was introduced to the ‘The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’. It is both a web page and a YouTube channel created by John Koenig which ascribes a word for emotions that people often feel but have no words to explain them - a feeling I personally experience a lot. John Koenig aims to ‘fill a hole’ in human language.

For me, Christmas is my favourite time of the year but closely following it is firework night: November the 5th. Usually, myself and my family will go to a firework show not far from where we live at a race course track. It’s always an evening where I get the sense of being overwhelmed and it’s rare for me to go through a firework night without crying. Until I was looking through some of the definitions in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, I’ve never really been able to describe or understand how I was feeling. John Koenig has done such a good job in capturing the feelings I get so often but can never really articulate when people ask me why I cry.

Here’s a few from the Dictionary that I feel describe this emotion pretty well: 

Dès Vu: Describes the awareness that the moment you’re in will become a memory in a second or two. That you’re experiencing this precious moment but everything will soon be completely different. That you’re a time traveller leaping into the future in small tentative steps always taking one last look before moving on.

 I get this feeling when I’m looking up at the fireworks. It’s a moment when I look at my family and all the families around me and I am so thankful I have them in my life. That we’re all so lucky to be healthy and happy and to have each other. But, alongside that happiness, I can never seem to remove the thought that in 15 minutes we’ll be on our way home and I’ll have that night to look back on. It will be over and I probably won’t stop to think about how lucky I am for a while. It makes me realise how much I take for granted and how many precious moments I’ve let slip past me and be forgotten.  

Astrophe: The feeling of being stuck on earth and the more you look to the sky the more you find yourself back on earth.

This one is particularly relevant to firework night because it’s probably the day of the year where I look up to the sky for the longest amount of time. As I’m standing there looking up waiting for the fireworks to start or whilst I am watching them, the same thoughts always pass through my mind: this world we live in is so odd. That I’m looking up at fireworks surrounded by funfair stalls and happy families but half way across the world in another place, on the same day, at the same time, there are people living in poverty and deprivation. There are so many people all over the world, all of us stuck here, put on the same planet who are looking up at the same sky and the same moon but all in such different places physically and emotionally.   

Zenosyne: the sense that time keeps going faster, that you’re a different person every year and that your life is a spiral that you’re already half way through.

Every year I look up at the sky and I’m surrounded by the same beautiful family and friends that have always been there. I always take a minute to think back to where we all were last year, about what was yet to happen and where the last year has taken us. But no matter what the year has thrown at any of us, we always seem to be standing In the same place, the same old us, with just a little bit more living in us I guess. Then I wonder what the next year will bring, what I’ll be reminiscing about this time next year and how some of our lives will have changed in any way, big or small. As odd as it sounds, I feel like I think about the year that’s passed and the year ahead more so on firework night than I do on New Year's Eve.

Firework night for me is a time that triggers all of these feelings and emotions of gratitude for what I have. It is a time when I’m forced to take a minute to be thankful for it, for everyone and everything that I have. It makes me realise just how much looking up at the sky can clear your mind, and how I should definitely take more time out to look up and think and say thank you.