When I was growing up, I used to hide my laughter and just giggle quietly and softly, as I felt uncomfortable and shy to let it all out. I didn't like to draw any attention to myself and was worried about people judging me, especially if my laughter led to a snort (hello, embarrassing!). I remember a moment while living in Australia when I was out in public grabbing some food with a friend. As we were out and about, I (as usual) found something funny and was laughing loudly and whole heartedly right from the depths of my soul. And yeah, it drew some attention our way and some of it not so positive. I was starred at and was asked to quiet down, to which I said "No, I'm having a good time and I'm not changing who I am or how I laugh, this is me". We live in a world where we are constantly pressured to be and act a certain way and to conform to societal norms. And now I'm being asked to pipe down on my personal expression of happiness? What has the world come to? There is so much negativity and crisis happening all over the globe and we should be relishing in the moments of pure joy, not trying to dim them down. The world needs more joy and laughter, certainly not less of it.
I remember another time when I was exploring a new city and was lost in the beauty of art filled streets. I was present and free, innocent and child-like, and without a worry in the world. I danced, I smiled, and I laughed (and snorted) so hard and loud that people down the street could hear. And I didn't for a second filter myself or dim my joy for anyone. That is what freedom is; being in the fullest expression of yourself without any fear of judgement. And boy, I have come a long way from that little girl who was debilitated by fear of judgement and held herself back. It feels AMAZING to just BE myself, with all my quirks, and to feel confident with WHO I am and not change or dim myself to please anyone. Allow yourself to be seen, confidently and boldly. Let this serve as a reminder to be authentically who YOU are and NOT what others want you to be. Because who needs another duplicate when you are a perfectly unique and beautiful person as you are, how you are.
Be you always, be free.