Hyperpulchritemia… Because Life Is Beautiful

I made up a word to describe that state of being completely touched & overwhelmed by the beauty/emotional magnitude of a moment:


It was, literally, out of necessity. I needed something to express that state (because I find myself in it OFTEN), & there wasn’t anything out there… so VOILA.

  • Hyper = over, beyond, above.
  • Pulcher = a Latin word for beautiful.
  • “emia”: Suffix referring to the presence of a substance in the blood.

The inspiration for the creation of this word was an unusual combination of events: watching reruns of ‘The L Word’ and remembering a car ride with my brother

Jelaine & I put on the ol’ Showtime classic every once in awhile, just for nostalgia & background noise.

In episode 3 of the first season, my spirit animal & art director Bette Porter (played by my also-spirit-animal, Jennifer Beals) has to track down the eccentric heiress Peggy Peabody (played by Holland Taylor) to woo her into lending her art collection to Bette’s gallery.

I won’t try to describe the whole scene, but – at one point – Peggy dramatically uncovers a piece of art that moves Bette to tears. Later on, she mentions Stendhal Syndrome, the psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.

As the sapphic drama continued, I recounted to Jelaine an afternoon driving with my brother, who was only a little guy at the times.

Yep, this silly snaggle-toothed sweetie hit me with some FEELZ…
It was a gorgeous day. I don’t recall where we were coming from, but we were headed to my mother’s with the sunroof open and windows down.

It was a sunny day. As we headed over the lake on the bridge to her neighborhood, I took a glance at his cute little sun-kissed face, and asked, “Hey, Bryce, what do you think about Life?”

After explaining what I meant, he sat for a second, thinking, pondering as he scanned the trees.

“I don’t know… it’s just a… beautiful place.”

It made me cry, as any touching sentiment from the mouth of babes would, but the memory of how it felt to be a kid and his sweet sincerity hit me right in the soft spot.

It made me tear up as I told Jelaine. (The memory makes me tear up now, as I write this!) And our conversation turned to all the times we’ve felt momentous & overwhelming beauty… when melodies and harmonies fit & hit, watching a parent watch their kid, standing at the top of a mountain, shooting stars… there’s *that feeling*.

It slides on, like a warm coat. It swirls, and embraces, and captures me. It gets under my skinc in my bones. In my blood.