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We need you, joy. We all do.

Inside Out (2024)

By fleeting.serenicsPublished 20 days ago 3 min read
Inside Out (2024)

There are days when I feel like a chaotic control room, like the one inside Riley’s head.

When I was a child, it seemed like the yellow girl took the lead. I would play with dolls and act, and smile a little bigger. I would play with my friends and family, and laugh a little harder. I would see flowers and butterflies, and glow a little brighter. I would eat my favorite food and get a little more excited. I saw magic in everything. I believed in magic and in the wonders of the world. Of course, I was afraid, sad, angry, and disgusted too, but mostly I was joyful.

But as I grew up, it seems like the orange girl has been at the controls far more than the yellow girl. It’s like there’s a storm inside my head. Sometimes I feel like my every word and movement are scrutinized. I second-guess everything I say, fearing judgment or rejection. The future casts a shadow over me, full of unknowns and what-ifs. The thought of future failure overwhelms me. There’s also a constant worry about meeting expectations and being the best at everything. I doubt myself. I question myself. Am I good enough? I feel like a fraud, that sooner or later everyone will see through the facade, that I’m really not the smart and talented kid they thought I was. That I’m not really a good person. I worry that maybe I’m a bad person who wants to be a good person. I push myself to the limits.

“I don’t know how to stop anxiety. Maybe we can’t, maybe this is what happens when you grow up, you feel less joy.”

That is a fact. We do feel less joy as we grow up because things are more complex now. We see the bigger world out there. We experience the different facets of life. We encounter various personalities. We understand everything more deeply. It’s part of growing up and navigating the complexity of the larger world we are in.

“Anxiety is right. Riley doesn’t need us as much as she needs them.”

But this is untrue. We need you, joy. The truth is, growing up, we need you more than ever — or should I say, we want you. Riley wants you, and so do we all.

I wish I could simply tell the orange girl to step aside and let the yellow girl take over, to feel that unburdened happiness once more. But our emotions are there for a reason. It’s okay to feel all of them; it doesn’t make us any less of a person. They are meant to be felt, and we should embrace them. However, we should not let them dominate our lives. We need to learn how to coexist with all our emotions. And even amidst anxiety and other challenging emotions, there is room for happiness — we can learn to be grateful, we can look at things in a different light, and we can see the beauty and purpose in it.

“We don’t get to choose who Riley is.”

Our emotions do not define who we are. We are not bad people for experiencing negative emotions. We go through emotions and we feel things deeply, and these are what makes us humane (It also doesn’t excuse hurting others, but we learn, grow, and make amends).

Joy doesn’t disappear; she just learns to share the stage with other emotions that are necessary for our growth and understanding. Even as anxiety may take the forefront at times, joy continues to wind through and brightness still exists within us. Why do you think stars shine bright?

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About the Creator

fleeting.serenics

penning tales of fleeting hope

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    fleeting.serenicsWritten by fleeting.serenics

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