Feelings, nothing more than…


I’ve always been the person in my family accused of being the most in touch with my feelings. This is not a good thing in many cases, given that the phrase is usually offered as an excuse for some unwarranted emotional outburst I’ve just let fly. However, it’s hardly an insightful remark to say that these days feelings are the new black (blogs, therapists, memoirs, fake memoirs, etc.), which I guess makes me très emotionally fashionable. Seems that feelings have, in fact, become so fashionable that a couple of tech geeks have taken the word “feel” and turned it into a science project. Or an art project. Or somewhere in between. I can’t decide.

Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, the duo behind “We Feel Fine: An Exploration of Human Emotion, in Six Movements,” scour the Internet for the phrase “I feel” and “I am feeling,” then post the different incarnations of sentences with the “feel” backbone on their site. Each feeling is assigned a color, and a list of the top 200 feelings gives one small idea of the feelings we understand enough to name. Good, bad, guilty, sick, alone, happy, depressed, fine, terrible, accomplished, wanted, awkward. It’s amazing to me the limited vocabulary we have for our myriad human emotions.

You can also search the site for emotion by age. For example, you can search for people in their 20s that feel “lost.” Or people in their 80s that feel “abandoned.”

I did a search for women ages 20-29 in the United States who feel fat. There are thousands of us. Who knew? It’s almost like with “We Feel Fine,” you’re never alone. Almost, but not quite.