Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy

Back in college I had this deep crush on one of my friends. She had everything I looked for in a woman and she knew it (no description necessary for this post). Problem was – she had a boyfriend.

Queue “The Price Is Right” Tuba-Trombone loser theme.

As was my personal policy, I never acted on my desire for her, despite my temptation to go for what I wanted for once. Damn the consequences.

What made it even harder was my weakness for her deep, silky singing voice. Like you all didn’t already know that I find a sexy singing voice to be just as attractive as someone’s facial/physical attributes. I told her that I could marry her voice – alone, and that whoever she DID marry was in for a lifetime of “melodious matrimony”.

But alas, I did the right thing and never acted on my impulses. As a result, we shared a beautiful, albeit sexually tense, relationship. Whether it was a hug or a silent, momentary locking of the eyes… …dude, it was tough.

We lost touch after college, but thanks to the World Wide Web (bet you youngsters didn’t know what “WWW” stood for when you were entering website addresses), the world reconnected itself. And with the advent of social media, it wasn’t long before I heard from her in addition to the slew of old friends, loves, classmates and so forth and so on.

As she and I caught up on old times and each other’s “rest of the story”, I asked her how her singer career went. I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that she rarely sang, if at all.

When I asked her what happened, she told me that it was because of her husband.

She told me that in the early years of her marriage, everything was amazing. He was happy, she was happy, they were happy. And she sang all the time — cooking, cleaning, you know how the song goes… …pun intended. Hey, like she said, she was happy.

Then one day, without warning, her husband angrily blurted out, “why don’t you shut up?!?”

In shock and heartbreak, she stopped singing.

For good.

As our conversation continued, I shared my hopes that she would find that joy again. I encouraged that it still existed, and she need only unlock the door to that part of her heart and set it free. I added that she didn’t need his validation or anyone else’s. Singing was what she did and singing was who she was.

I reminded her of the Minnie Riperton song, “Don’t Let Anyone Bring You Down” revisiting the self-explanatory lyrics.

She expressed her gratitude for the things I said and promised that she would try, emphasizing the fact that it would not happen immediately. I comforted that timing was not the issue and that what was most important was that it DOES happen, eventually.


As always, there’s more to the story, but I don’t think it’s necessary to continue. I’m sure you get my point.

Well, there are two.

First, know that words are damaging. Oftentimes irrevocably. And whether you are hinting towards your feelings or you mean for them to cut deep, trust me, they have a lasting effect. So please, consider your delivery and the long-term effects.

But that’s not my main point today. The second is what I want you to take with you, if nothing else. This goes out to those of you on the receiving end. Actually, pertains to ALL of you because at some point in life, you may have been the one “who needs to hear this”.

As the popular phrase goes…

Don’t let anyone steal your joy.

I don’t care what they say, I don’t care what they DO; behind your back or in your face.

God gave you the capacity for joy and your heart governs how much you open, release and express.

Joy is yours. Whether you produce it or obtain it from an experience, a reunion, a discovery or whatever. Joy is YOURS.

Like Matthew Wilder sang back in 1983:

“Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
Nobody gonna slow me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving…”

Yeah, I have a movie and music reference for everything…

I say again, don’t EVER let anyone steal your joy.

Be at peace, my friends.

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