Editor's note: Eboni Nash is a graduate of Eads High School and Hastings College in Nebraska, where she majored in psychology, religion and sociology. She now attends Harvard University in Massachusetts. Eboni writes periodically for the Kiowa County Press.
I was a naturally born happy person, with a smile as big as it can get. Momma always told me my heart was contagious and could warm a room with my presence. As I got older, I realized the impact my happiness had on people; becoming known as approachable, compassionate, and encouraging. To this day, I value my happiness as a gift from God. I believe it has been gifted to me to uplift the spirits of people and give them the agency to see the positivity in life. More recently, I have been able to identify the fallout with being a naturally happy person.
My personality is one of love and kindness. There is hardly ever an instance where I am angry. I am known for my radiant love and free spirit. People are drawn to the way I wear my heart on my sleeve. However, there comes a time where my soul is tired, and I feel a bit hopeless. These are very random emotions and only last for a few days. Nonetheless, I get them. The days where I feel as if my whole life is a big joke. I feel as if I am a doormat just waiting for people to wipe their feet on me. Kindness and happiness are often taken advantage of by select people.
This has become a norm for me, to give until my body cannot give any longer. I am the type to set myself on fire just to warm those around me. Financially running myself short to ensure the needs are taken care of for somebody else. I have noticed, the days that I feel hopeless, are the most silent days. People will not reach out, there are no forms of care extended to me, and often I am left in this numb state, searching for the light I once had.
Occasionally, people will tend to be offended by my silence. In high school, if I was to be quiet, then people would assume something was wrong. This is a pattern that has continued. Why is my silence or shift in personality, instantly a warning sign? And why are people becoming frustrated with my lack of enthusiasm at times? Am I not entitled to my days of sadness? It is as if they are subscribed to my happiness; where their mood is dependent on mine.
It had me thinking about the role that emotions play in our society. When a known happy person commits suicide, the world is shocked, "they were always happy, we had no idea" is how society responds. Have we ever stopped to think about the pressure that comes with being labeled a natural happy person? To avoid questions and unwanted attention, they are forced to remain the appearance of a happy person, although their soul is cringing at every moment. This poker face is maintained until they have nowhere to go and nobody to turn to. The happiness that once fed your soul is now draining theirs.
Mental health is a serious issue that we need to start paying more attention to. That happy friend of yours deserves care as well. That happy friend has the right to be silent and dreary. That happy friend of yours is worthy with or without the constant beam of light. Take care of yourself before satisfying the expectations of others. As the known happy person, I have come to terms with myself. My happiness is no longer a default social experiment. My happiness is no longer resting in the hands of others. Instead, my happiness is genuine and reflects the love I have for myself at that moment in time. Self-care and soul care, always.