Radiating Joy.

I ran into a friend on the street just now, the kind of friend whose name you scream across the road and you run across traffic to bear-hug on the sidewalk. She’s stressed, she’s busy, she’s a whirlwind of Too Much, and we talked about that.

I’m teaching again right now, that summer camp that I love. And I should be stressed. I should be busy. I should be a whirlwind. I leave the house at 7am and I usually don’t get home until nearly 6pm — and even then, often have homework to do in order to prepare for the next day. And my freelance life doesn’t completely shut down just because I’m teaching all day — there’s still some ongoing projects that require some attention from time to time.

I haven’t been on top of my email inbox. I let a few balls drop. I get back to people days, sometimes weeks late. I missed a deadline, and then another.

And here’s the thing. I’m not stressed. I’m not panicked. I mean, I SHOULD BE. That’s not my style — at ALL. My mother raised me right. I’m not a flake. I’m a hardworking, take-charge, type-A, get-shit-done badass.


I got back to people later than I normally would. I apologized for missing a deadline and then I fixed it.

The world didn’t end.

In fact, every single person understood completely.

I could have spent last weekend catching up on all of this work, doing some planning for the next season or spending some quality time with the book proposal that has been eating at me slowly for months now, still just-not-quite-what-I-want-it-to-be. I went to visit friends instead. I was treated to dinner at a fancy restaurant, spent a wonderful day on Rockaway Beach, ate burgers in a Brooklyn backyard, and had a picnic on a rooftop overlooking Times Square. I read a book that I loved. I played with a little girl sitting next to me on a train. I didn’t send a single Tweet.

My friend and I talked on the street for almost forty minutes. Her shoulders started to relax. She laughed. We hugged.

“Look at you,” she said. “You’re so … light. It’s like you’re radiating joy.”

This is a blog where I’ve talked about depression. This is a blog where I’ve talked about anxiety. This is a blog where I’ve talked about fear and about heartbreak and about loss and about grief. This is a blog where I have talked about how crushing my workload can feel like, how guilty I feel for complaining about overwork when I love my job and so many others are less fortunate. How complicated it is that America, the land of the free, is also the most overworked country in the world. How sometimes fear and shame can creep into my daily life, build these little walls up inside me that I don’t even know are there.

I want to make sure I’m talking about the other side of all of that, which is that sometimes this is a blog where you talk about how fucking good it is to be wearing a white sundress on a hot day, how delicious iced tea tastes, the morning after a good night’s sleep, what it’s like to stop to chat with the neighbors in the tiny purple house, who nickname you ‘Sugar’ and make you smile until the corners of your mouth start to hurt just a little. Where we talk about those long days at camp, where I get to start my days with a dance party and where I get to dress up like Wonder Woman and where I write stories and sing songs and make wild messes with cardboard and paint and glue and crayons. Where the tiniest ones sometimes hug you unexpectedly, curling their little bodies into your lap before you have a chance to redirect them. Where you get to laugh, because these children are hilarious, because they are sincere, because they are beautiful, because they are vulnerable and authentic and they haven’t been broken yet, because you want to believe that they will change the world. Because they just love you. Because you just love them right back.

This blog is a place where we talk about problems, where we talk about heartbreak, where we critique what’s wrong in our world and where we try to figure out how to fix it. But I want to make sure I’m telling you about the other side of things, which is that on some days, the world is actually just so good. So very, very, very good.

So I answered a bunch of emails late.

I’m kind of okay with that.

Fuck email. Radiate joy.


23 thoughts on “Radiating Joy.

  1. Very nicely written. But you know what? Isn’t it what we have already lost? The joy of simply living at all? We pursue our dreams, fanatically follow our ambitions and then one day find ourselves empty, drained and devoid of any of those good things we thought would be our reward.
    But the sad truth is, it is still easy to make time for ourselves, for our friends, for things that matter deeply to us and yet, we don’t. We are scared that the world shall overtake us, that our competition will get ahead and that we shall be left high and dry. It is not true. Slow down, the entire planet is telling us. Stop, pause.. but we don’t. I wish people had the same feeling as you do and they could slow down. I am not asking for “tune in, drop out”, instead I am asking, tune in, listen and listen well, listen to what the world is telling you, what you need to do and then decide. If you think everything is alright, by all means, carry on. If you think that the world is disappearing, all our old values, our old-world charm is disappearing before our eyes, that our quaint customs, our old-fashioned ideals and ideas are dying, then stop a while.. decide whether you want to go back into the rat-race.. and then decide.. what is important to you. It does not matter which road you choose. As long as you are honest about it.
    I know I am boring and pedantic 🙂 But, hey, I do not walk your walk, I do not run that marathon or the treadmill that the rest of the world is on.. and while my life is not bliss, I can say that I am not unhappy either. 🙂
    Nicely written, very nice indeed. I hope people pause to take a look at this.. beautiful…

  2. Amen. A-fucking-men. Also, “Fuck Email. Radiate Joy.” should be a bumper sticker. Sharing this on Facebook now…

  3. Beautiful, so happy for you! Joseph Campbell knew what he was talking about when he said, “Follow your bliss”. Many of us believe that joy will be achieved when the eternally expanding “to-do” list is completed, or all the e-mails are answered, projects delivered, mortgage paid off, after graduation, etc. In truth, opening to the spontaneous deliciousness graciously offered to us each day will generate much more joy!

  4. This was a hearthwarming entry that I truly enjoyed reading, sometimes we just do so much and work so hard that we forget how to breathe. Good to see that you took some time away for yourself 🙂

  5. I sent you an urgent email…I guess you haven’t had time to read it. Anyway, can there be more blog entries like this? I imagine doing more of such would result in less of the other.

  6. I am delighted to read about your happiness. I am happy, too. — Be well and continue to Radiate Joy!

  7. We get out what we put in, right? We also take in what we put out to the world. Radiating joy is a great way to soak more in. Then it can be a GOOD vicious circle!

  8. Pingback: Wordy Weekend Links | Words Remember

  9. I’m so into this. I did this kind of thing a few days ago. Had a ton of jobs to submit to, do laundry, email my new boss, go to the gym, work on promoting my directorial debut, get some stuff sorted with my car insurance, hound my attorney for a check I’m owed, and go grocery shopping.

    I went and saw Ant Man with my buddy and then went out for hamburgers and laughed and laughed.

    And that light that came from spending time with a good friend illuminated the rest of the week and made all the mundanities a little more palpable.

    You’re so right on.

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