The loss that I’ve endured is overwhelming. I’ve shed tears over my sorrow. I’ve grieved for, with, and about my friends, lovers and family. Sometimes individually. Sometimes at the same time.
Death and defeat have stolen my joy. They never gave me a chance to recover before striking again. Sometimes you don’t realize that even the most minor casualties require grieving. Loss of independence, loss of a dream, idea, or what you thought your life should have been—all of this counts.
This year has shifted my focus from happiness to anxiety. The truth is, these emotions have taken over life so much that I’ve forgotten who to be.
Right now, I choose to be defiant. I’m going to kick, scream, claw, drag, roll, vomit, and huff and puff my way back to life. Joy isn’t a ploy to fake happiness. It isn’t about forcing a smile when I’m feeling miserable.
Reclaiming my joy is about redefining the difficult moments that life has given to me. Maybe I can’t control the outcome, but I can control how I move forward.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”- Reinhold Niebuhr
My act of rebellion is letting go when I’m ready. It’s about acceptance. It’s about allowing myself to grieve freely, about remembering memories that bring a smile to my face.
I will remember how the people I’ve loved and lost have contributed to who I am. Their memories, impact, and lessons are part of my life and renew my purpose for the future.
Joy is my act of rebellion. I’m reclaiming my stolen joy.
I will create. I will birth new life in other forms, reinvent myself. I will stand up for a cause. I will celebrate life despite how it’s tried to come for me. I will clap back.
Joy is my act of rebellion. I’m restoring my stolen joy.
I will love freely. I realize there will be highs, lows, and crabby moods. I will allow myself to mourn, but I’ll also permit myself to be comforted. I’ll refrain from judging myself. There will be relapses. I will forgive and grant myself forgiveness. I’ll remember that healing isn’t about forgetting the past; it’s about shaping the future. I can still honor the memories without guilt and suffering.
Joy is my act of rebellion. I’m taking back stolen joy.
I will listen to songs of healing. I allow the rhythms to rock me gently, shake me awake, and beat me alive. I will dance. I will let my breast, ass, and belly hang out. I will howl and shout. I will look for joy curiously in little moments. I’ll search for it wherever I go. I will snatch it back as vigorously as life stole it from me.
This year, my act of rebellion is unapologetically reclaiming my stolen joy.