Ode to Joy (and Silliness)

in #life2 years ago (edited)

Somewhere on my route to adulthood I lost a large part of my sense of humour and capacity for spontaneous joy. How about you?

If I share a personal story, do you promise not to laugh? Here goes.

One summer when I was twelve and my self-esteem had not yet been decimated by whatever it is that happens to girls on their way to becoming women, I went to summer camp and had an amazing time. The camp counsellor was so cool I had a girl crush on her and cried at the idea of going back home and never seeing her again.

On one of the last nights, she took us 'out-tripping' away from the main camp. We set up our tents, built a fire, cooked our dinner, sang songs and then watched the stars come out one by one.

It was a warm summer night. The sky was immense.

I was so filled with joy that I got up and started to dance. I had been taking ballet lessons for a few years and was planning on being a dancer, at that point. Dance is a natural form of expression for a twelve year old girl. At least for me.

But I guess it wasn't for everyone. My beloved counsellor (who was probably 16 or so) turned to my cabin mates and asked, "What is she doing?" with just a hint of a snicker.

And they all laughed.

I was devastated and sat down immediately, embarrassed by my display of - well - joy. In a moment when I had felt safe and happy, I had shared a part of myself and the world had rejected it.

Lesson learned.

I was reminded of this admittedly minor trauma while watching one of the following incredible TED talks, when the speaker addresses the ways joy is weaned out of us as we become adults.

This talk came to me at a time when I truly needed to hear it. I had been feeling down about my art, worrying that it is silly or light. Yet when I ask myself what I want to express in my work, the answer is joy.

Joy that this planet in it's natural state can be so absolutely beautiful.

Is joy silly?

Which brings us the other talk I'm sharing today. What's wrong with being silly? Why do we stop playing as we get older?

I am very guilty of this as I am driven to being 'productive.' Two of my go-to questions are "What's the point?" and "What's the purpose?"

Well, I'm turning over a new leaf (or trying to) and I'm sharing these talks with you because they both genuinely helped to shift my perspective and I hope they might offer something to you as well.

The light in me bows to the light in you.







Awww,... you gotta remember though that the camp counsellor was just a kid like you at 16. These things stick in your mind though.

You're absolutely right. That's why I mentioned her age - she was a kid too. I don't mean to make too big of a deal out of it. It was just one of those unfortunate things that happen, but it illustrates nicely how we get conditioned out of spontaneous eruptions of joy.

Thanks for reading!

Kitty, this awoke a painful memory or two! :( A powerful reflection that we need to hold and absorb. Cos our careless words of scornful toss of the head or wickedly raised brows can scar another for life! I'm gonna find one small way to nourish a little joy in myself and my daughter this hot, Thai evening. Thank you. More of these posts, please!!

It makes me happy that this resonated with you and I appreciate that you're using it as a call to action. Thanks, @artemislives!