There's this scene from Walk the Line where Reese Witherspoon as June Carter has just emotionlessly told Johnny she flushed his pills, and she's in her car driving home when she stops and starts crying. "It burns," she cries softly to herself. "It burns."
I wonder how many people we sit next to each day on the subway in New York who feel defeated on the inside, yet remain stoic on the outside. How many of us feel our hearts breaking or our souls burning over the many million emotions that hit us with every turn. I'd be lying if I told you I never cried on the subway, and I've definitely handed a tissue to someone else crying on the subway too.
There's that saying that often gets misattributed to Plato that I repeat to myself from time to time when I'm power-walking my way through Manhattan: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." And in the midst of fighting my own battle, I don't want to make someone else's battle harder.
I have this "daily mood" calendar on my desk at work, and for the last few months it's been displayed at "splendid," whether I'm feeling "splendid" or not. It challenges me to be optimistic, to find a silver lining in the clouds of chaos. Negativity, I've discovered, does nothing but spread poison. And when you're around that poison daily, there's nowhere to go but down.
I want to be the kind of person who lights up a room when she walks in, not when she walks out. I want to live with the kind of joy that I've witnessed in others who've inspired me to be a better and stronger person. There are so many things in life that will be thrown at us that will wear us down. If I don't have some joy in my heart to start with, I'll constantly let the fires destroy me. Life's too short for that.