When I was younger, I was pretty animated, but I was also a little shy. It depended on the setting, really. I think. There was a time when I wanted to be the center of attention, but somewhere along the way I decided that other people's opinion of me mattered more than my own. So I would stop telling stories if they weren't totally relevant to everyone present. I would stop expressing my opinion if I thought it might offend someone. I sank back into the shadows. I took the backseat to let others drive. As a result of that, I still struggle with expressing myself. Sometimes I hold it in for so long that I end up crying. Not always because I'm sad, but mostly because I'm overwhelmed. My soul gets overwhelmed. I have a hard time making decisions too. That's a big struggle.
One person who has no problem showing emotion is my sister Alayna. Alayna operates in extremes. Things are rarely mediocre in her life. Everything is either awesome or horrible. While that can be exhausting, I'm sure, it also means that she is not afraid to express herself. She lets people know how she feels. She doesn't keep dating a boy that bugs her because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. She doesn't let people discourage her love of Alabama football (I'll probably write a whole post on the Tide at some point. Thank you, Mom, for that love.) She clings tightly to the people and things she loves: her family, Alabama football, Haiti, Africa, orphans, JESUS, etc. She doesn't worry what other people think of what she says or tweets or posts on Facebook. She looks for the good in situations that seem dark to others. She befriends people that are ignored by others. She does not care if she hasn't seen someone in 15 years. If they were friends in kindergarten, they are still friends. She laughs loudly. She cries. She laughs so hard that she cries. She fake cries so hard that she for real cries. And she absolutely does not love it when you put your sock in her mouth.
Alayna teaches me that it's okay to show emotion. It's okay to express how you feel. It's okay if someone doesn't agree with you. There is no reason to hide.