Life is for living

Posted on: 23/01/2011


Image courtesy of lolololori on Flickr. Some rights reserved - click on image for details.

A fellow blogger, Olivia Tejeda, puts a thought-provoking picture up on her site once a week in the hope that it will inspire would-be writers to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard in most cases).  I hadn’t really thought of myself as a would-be writer, but I am really enjoying doing my blog, so I thought, why not?

Isn’t this the kind of photo that just makes you feel happy?  Isn’t it great to see such natural happiness…not forced laughter, or polite laughter, but something so funny has just been said the woman on the right has thrown her head right back and REALLY laughed.

I looked the picture up, and these women have known each other since childhood.  There are no barriers of politeness between them.  They are so comfortable in each other’s company, and they have no social insecurities. Nothing that inhibits them from laughing properly.

True joy is rare.  How often have you laughed so much that you cried?

It got me thinking.  Do we ever inhibit ourselves from true joy? Do we worry so much that someone will misconstrue a word or gesture?  Or even worse, occasionally we feel we cannot trust the company we keep to hold that moment of uninhibited joy precious, rather than turn it into something to make us feel bad, or vulnerable.  For example, perhaps we have a distinctive laugh that we are worried someone might tease us about.  They might not mean any harm from it, but our skins can be thin, and we can be hurt badly by this.

It has prompted me to think about how women in particular can behave negatively in such situations.  I recall one girl at boarding school who actively looked for opportunities to misconstrue something you said or did in order to entertain others with it later.  That was an extreme example (we all know how bitchy teenage girls can be) but I still see this kind of behaviour in other groups of women as a grown-up.  Sometimes I see it at a playgroup or in the school playground – though thankfully not recently – and the talker doesn’t realise the listener’s laughter is forced; the negative comment is not actually funny.

I did this once myself a year or so ago – made a negative comment about someone I didn’t particularly like because I thought it was funny – but afterwards I felt so mean and horrible I have tried not to do it again.   It made me recall how I spent so much of my school life not saying or doing anything for fear that someone would mock me for it, and I realised that I could be a better person than that.  Not just by conducting my conversation in a more positive way, but also by not worrying about what people might say about me.

And where should the line be drawn?  A little gentle joking is surely a way of extending the humour of the original moment, and should not be shied away from. But the moment you could describe a comment as ‘negative’ is probably when we need to start thinking more carefully about how we say things.

Everyone knows I’m not your average mum in the playground.  I’m overtly goofy, scatty and slightly mad – the sort of person who’s not afraid to join in with the silly kids games, dance with abandon at parties while everyone else watches from the side, and so on.  I’ve been like this since school, and as such perhaps I open myself to more ridicule than others.

But what I’ve really learned is that this means I actually love my life.  I’m living my life the way I’m supposed to.  I’m not standing on the sidelines.  I’m a fully-fledged participant.

So, sometimes I overhear comments from people.  And sometimes they hurt.

And then I remember that I would never want to be one of those people.  Because they are commenting on my life rather than living theirs.

Those women in that picture?  They are really living their life.

Let’s see if we can all shed our inhibitions and do the same.


6 Responses to "Life is for living"

Great post – I came here through the link on Olivia’s site.

Dear Sacha, What a beautiful response to this picture. Like you, I immediately felt the joy in that picture. I wanted to be one of those women, or be surrounded by the friends I’ve had for years. I agree with what you’ve written and wish more people felt this way, but as Gandhi said, we must be the change we wish to see in the world, and so I try to do my part. I’m happy to find your blog and look forward to reading more. ~ Olivia

What a wonderful quote. Being the change we want to see…applied to our modest little lives seems trivial compared to the mountains moved by Gandhi, but the concept is still very relevant.

Thank you for your kind words!

[…] Tagged: elvis, laughter, lonesome tonight, postaday2011. Leave a Comment Following on from my post about the picture of women […]

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am the women throwing my head back in wild abandoned laughter. What true joy my friends from grade school have brought to my life! Your comments are so very, very true, as it is our times together that make me realize how blessed I am to have friends that I can feel so free to be me! No matter how long the time between visits, we know we can count on each other. I wish everyone to have these types of wonderful friends in their life!

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