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Untamed Joy.

I love to laugh until I cry.

There are many different types of people that I love in this world. I love people who can pour insight and thought into my mind. I love people who go out of their way to help me when I'm in need. I love those people who inspire me with their stories of overcoming obstacles and winning the races. However, for the sake of this blog, I want to focus on two types of people, in particular, that I absolutely adore. I love someone who can tell a great, funny story, and I love those who cannot control their laughter. I mean it, I love watching someone laugh through snot and tears until they can't breath and begin to ache. I like to refer to these types of people as having "untamed joy," and sometimes, the stars align, and you somehow find yourself in a room full of them.

I recently had the opportunity to fly home and visit my family for the holidays. It's always a mixed conundrum of emotions visiting family, especially after an extended absence. There's that awkward feeling once you get there, steering clear of the ones you're not so excited to see, and embracing every moment you have with the those you can't live without. Thankfully, in my family, there tends to be a lot of those "can't live without" people, which really helps make up for the prior. They're the ones who, no matter what, have your back and love you unconditionally. There really is no better feeling in the world than that.

I am incredibly blessed. I have the amazing gift of extraordinary grandparents, all of whom I'm very fond of. They're all supportive, and they all pour out more love than I could ever hope to return. Both of my grandmothers could not be any more special to me. They're the southern grandma type, who go out of their way to make you feel welcomed. They're the cooks, the hosts, the glue of the family, and they both carry that special trait I like to refer to as having "untamed joy". They can fill a room with their personalities and can have you laughing so hard, your ribs will begin to ache. They're both these truly unique characters that any old lady could only wish to have as a best friend!

I love those times, the times where you end up bent over laughing, trying to catch your breath. Those times where you sit with family around a kitchen table, or among the sofas and pillows, and together the family just tells stories and laughs. When you have to decipher the conversation through tears and cackles. The family tends to feel so close during those times, and it's like no time has passed since the last time you all sat down together, doing the exact same thing.

This Christmas, as I sat around the Christmas tree with my father's family, I listened to my grandmother tell story after story, and watched her fight the tears and gasp for air, laughing her way through it all. Of course, the family couldn't help but laugh along with her, and at her, as we all sat there together. Thankfully, she's never lost that joy, and never will, because it's deep down inside of her. I'm thankful that she never became so bitter in life's afflictions that she chose to close off that side of her. May we, as a new generation, also protect that very essence of our own.

I always leave those situations full. Full of life, full of blessings, full of joy. I leave them in a state of appreciation and comfort, For, it's times like that, that we are reminded we are social beings- and we need one another- no matter how independent we may be. That, although we all have our differences, our opposing views or defining traits, we also have each other. I try to imagine a life without those moments of bliss, and the outcome would truly be a nightmare.

That's why, I urge you, to find something to laugh at today. Despite the stress, despite the speed, despite the long hours and filled agendas. More importantly, find someone to laugh with. Find someone to open up to, to expose your spirit to, and have a moment of communal bliss. Let it feed your soul and energize your being. Make a family with those closest to you, whether they be relatives or not.

And above all else, may you never tame your joy!

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