I watched the “Chewbacca mom” video a couple days ago and… it touched my soul. Just a short video of a woman putting on a mask and laughing. What struck me was the pure, unhindered joy. So much excitement and happiness, unleashed without a care who was watching or may see.

So many times, I feel, we are told to quiet down, to hold back. Don’t get so excited. Don’t expect anyone to rejoice with you. Hold it in, lest you be dubbed “the loud one,” “the annoying one,” “the overexcited one.”

I have been the loud one, the one who talks too much and has too many opinions. I’ve regularly censored my excitement and my thoughts, so as not to be “that person.” I’ve daydreamed about being a person who could just… laugh honestly and without restraint. Too often, I’ve spent an entire social interaction or event making sure I’m holding back enough of myself that I won’t annoy the people around me. Too often, I cut off my laughter before I could even reach a point of true joy, because I worry that the people I’m with will be disgusted with me.

There is something so poignant about watching someone let go and laugh, unabashed, unafraid. Free.

If only we would give ourselves the permission to truly be ourselves. To express our excitement in such a completely beautiful way as “Chewbacca mom.”

As much as the video gave me a good laugh and a look at my own lack of confidence in some ways, it also provided a spark of hope. Someone may not like my laugh, but maybe, just maybe, there is someone whose day would be entirely brightened by it, as millions of days were brightened by the simple joy of a woman and her Chewbacca mask.

Original video can be viewed here.