I am the one of the most outwardly happy people I know. I beam at the man behind the grocery counter and laugh when I trip myself up on the stairs. Sometimes I can’t sleep simply from the sheer excitement of getting up for the next day.
I know, it’s sickening, isn’t it?
This is how people describe me: Happy. It is how they talk about, how they identify me, how they know me. This, however, worries me. I question that my entire personality has been reduced to an emotion. I am without depth, and so I push my self-doubt deeper.
It concerns me that my over-the-top joy could be a slap in the face for those whose minds are weighed down by mental illness. An insult to the lives that are destroyed by famine, and racism, and wars, and all the other terrible things that seem to categorise our world today. My too-wide smile and overly-loud laugh a disgusting display of my privilege and good fortune. I should be more solemn, in respectful mourning for other people’s sadness.
Yesterday, my friend – recently diagnosed with depression – sent me a message to ask that we study together in the library. His explanation was simple: “You’re a really bubbly, happy person – I need that.”
I never considered that my being happy could positively affect the people I love. My joy isn’t a selfish excess all for my own, but rather an abundance that can be stripped off and handed around.
My friend smiles when he sees me, and I beam back twice as bright. For all the moments he spends sad and feeling alone, I will make sure to suffocate him with optimism, until he is left over-dosed and nauseated from enthusiasm.