“When people demand joy always, it makes the world seem incompatible with those of us whose happiest days are still anguished. In this way, joy was one of my earliest alienators. If I did not belong to this loud, laughing family, whose was I? I was the child who would sit in closets or bathrooms while everyone else laughed together in the kitchen. Every now and again, someone would knock and whisper through to me, 'Well, you gonna join us, hunny?' But I’d stay tucked away under Goosebumps books and shadows, knowing I was never going to laugh like them.
“It took time for me to realize that it was not that my family wanted me happy; it was that they wanted me close. They didn’t want for me the kind of sadness that alienates you. In time, I learned how to be in the kitchen, and it didn’t seem to matter if I was laughing. My sister pulls me close and feeds me a bite of spinach dip. 'Just stay with me.'
“Depression may contain a joylessness, but it doesn’t have to. When we reimagine joy as more than mere happiness, we make space for a sorrowful joy. Mine is a joy born not of laughter but of peace. This is okay.”