I Am. I Am. I Am.

I have imaginary friends and I won’t try to deny it. These friends are all online and are mostly writers, except for Kristin Bell who is just so delightful with her personal Instagram stories about her house being ambushed by raccoons and her children having worms (yes, you read that correctly) that I feel she’s really reaching out to us all.

All kidding aside, beyond Instagram and Twitter posts, reading a personal essay is a fabulous way to submerge yourself in someone’s life experiences. Reading about someone’s troubles and their triumphs (raccoons and worms and all) shapes the way you feel about things and helps to relearn things you thought you already knew.

I recently read Maggie O’Farrell’s gorgeous essay collection, I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death. Now. Don’t let the title throw you off. This collection is uplifting. O’Farrell reminds us of the invisible tightrope we’re always walking between living and dying, and it’s a good reminder. A wake up call to remember what really matters and most likely, it’s never going to be on my phone.

O’Farrell tells stories that made me cry and also laugh out loud. The first story gave me straight up chills. It’s her story of hiking around a lake while traveling alone when encountering a man who tries to attack her. Brush with death number one. I dare you to not keep reading!

Her stories are not told in the order in which they took place in her life. They weave a gorgeous narrative with incidents from when she was young showing up after we learn about boyfriends, jobs, family and then eventually about her own children. There is something for everyone and like I said, it’s a great reminder to live these days as best we can, helping others and maybe making some ‘real’ friends along the way.

— Sarah C.