Unrestrained Joy

This is a guest post from Kate A originally posted on the Open Forum. With her permission I have posted it here so we can all share her beautiful writing and honest reflection.

If you leave enough comments we might persuade her to start her own blog? **Update – she did! Visit That’s How I Do Magic.**

If you would like to guest post on my blog, please see the guidelines here.


beloved son

I was laying in bed this morning and my son saw the box of mixed choccies that I was given for Christmas. He brought them over and we lay together and ate some. I didn’t think about it. I enjoyed sampling some with him.

Then…yes, then…the voice began: “Um, that is off plan. You need to do a run and all this extra lard is stopping you from trying harder.” Can you guess what happened next? Uh huh, I stopped and felt awful. Those beautiful 10 mins were wiped away in seconds.

It got me thinking about my last visit with my gym trainer. He is 40, can do 14.4 on the beep test, is as gnarled as a 200 yr old tree (muscles, that is) and exudes a radiant energy. He listened to me patiently go on about my performance woes – basically that I am fed up with punishing exercise all for the sake of a blue collar, measley paying job that extols sublime community spirit. He just looked at me with the expression of a person who is tired of life. He is right. I AM sick of living as I currently am. I want what he has got; not the material, but the sense of loving all that I do.

I am adamant that my children love their lives and enjoy all they do; okay, that might not extend to housework. I am not walking the talk. I suspect women generally suffer from this, especially those from terribly abusive homes. Happiness and pleasure are sullied and were only used with provisos and punishment afterwards. This is obviously my new aim – to reconnect with happiness and pleasure in all my life, not just food.

“Life is better lived at any stage, than repressed through fear and lack of enjoyment.”

But this small example has highlighted to me the need to feel delight in what we choose and, equally, what we do not choose to do. No life is immune from things we do not opt for. Finding delight that is not forced is the key. Occassionally, it will be forced in order to work through difficult situations, but the bulk of the time we can enjoy with unfetted pleasure. I don’t and it is so very sad.

This week was a declared holiday from all activites I do not care to do. I ate what I wanted and got up when I wanted. I discovered that I dislike housework, I hate feeding my kids, I disdain extreme efforts in the gym, and probably most disarmingly of all, I am not sure I want to be a fire fighter. This is hard to face because I have spent all of 2009, and I mean all, preparing myself for entrance.

It maybe a reaction to knowing I am likely to fail the physical component, but the crux of all this is that when things are enjoyed, they can be healthful and life affirming. When the less healthful activities are restrained, they tend to manifest in fantasies and overblown dreams of forbidden desire.

The body knows when it has had too much of something and that is what childhood is all about; exploring boundaries, of food, adrenalin, heights, strength, speed, rest, and the like. That is what makes childhood so magical. Because I was robbed of most of it, I am now experiencing it with my children. This makes me irresponsible in the eyes of most other parents and older people, because I appear to lack boundaries. Yes, I do, but I am in the process of making them!

Life is better lived at any stage, than repressed through fear and lack of enjoyment. One day, I may just be like my gym trainer, or maybe not. If I can enjoy more of life, then I may just radiate the glow of an inspired adult instead of the tortured emptiness of a wounded child.

What a gift for Christmas! 10 precious minutes of unrestrained joy with my son.

→ Kate blogs at That’s How I Do Magic
→ photo : giovanni_giusti

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing