boy standing beside seashore waves

The Joy of Running Around Naked

So my kids have started doing this thing. Every evening before bath time – after we take their clothes off before they get into the tub – they run around the apartment like crazed feral wild cats. Screaming and laughing.

Pure unadulterated joy.

It got me thinking about the clothes we wear, metaphorically speaking.

A kid doesn’t question why we walk around with clothes on (when you live in Singapore, there’s a good argument not to). They simply follow the herd to blend it. Because that’s the safest bet.

It’s for the same reason they imitate our actions. As much as I tell them not to act like the giant ass hat I am, they do anyway.

As adults, we’re no different with the character armour we assume. The social conditioning we’ve all undergone to varying cultural degrees. There’s a code of conduct we must follow.

For women, that’s typically something along the lines of never speak up. Always look pretty. Be perfect. Don’t over step your mark.

For men it’s something like don’t cry. Man the fuck up. Never ask for help. Figuring it out on your own or drown trying.

Of course, it’s all bullshit.

It’s all clothes we’re told to wear so we don’t make each other feel uncomfortable. Because who wants to deal with someone else’s vulnerabilities? I’m having enough trouble preventing people from seeing my own.

Thank you very much.

I wonder, though, what are we so afraid of? Of upsetting someone else? Why? That’s their problem, not yours.

But that’s not it.

What we’re really scared of is being vulnerable – of feeling exposed. We want nothing more than to be seen, heard, and accepted for who we are.

What we fear most is rejection.

We’re scared of being laughed at and ridiculed. We’re afraid of having our hearts stamped on.

But what happens if we say fuck this? If, despite our fears, we remove our clothes anyway and let who we are all hang out, warts and all?

We may get laughed at and ridiculed. If you are, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

It might mean you need new friends!

At any rate, it’s a risk we have to be willing to take. If only to find out who are friends and family really are.

The truth is the character armour we can carry around is far heavier than the clothes we wear on our backs. We can only carry it for so long before it weighs us down.

That’s why we need to be around the people who will let us take it off – who will accept us when we do. (Even if they can’t help but laugh sometimes.)

The reward of course is the feeling of aliveness. The feeling pure unadulterated joy.

The feeling of running free.


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39 thoughts on “The Joy of Running Around Naked

  1. Love this: “What we’re really scared of is being vulnerable – of feeling exposed. We want nothing more than to be seen, heard, and accepted for who we are.” Oh goodness…yes. You nailed it, AP…life goals right there…and being around those who will accept us, love us, laugh with us? Nothing better! And thanks for the chuckle about your little ones running around like wild, feral cats, full of a sense of joy and abandon. Big hugs to you (and to those wild animals in your house, too!). 🥰

    1. Hi Victoria – Thank you! I love those animal to bits. They fill the house with so much joy – it really is infectious. I hope they never lose that spirit. Big hugs to you and yours too! 🙂🙏

  2. We’d probably find that by being brave enough to discard the weighty ‘clothes’ others might start to join us

    1. I believe that’s true. The courage to be vulnerable is contagious. When one partner in a relationship opens up the other follows suit. Great point Brenda 🙏🙂

    1. haha 😂. My kids do this when we have guests around. It gets mixed reactions. Some people have no idea how to react. I find it hilarious. Keep the drapes open I say!

  3. An engaging and thought-provoking post, AP! <3 It is wonderful to have a few friends and family who will understand us and not reject us when we say exactly what we think and feel. We all need such relationships in our lives.

      1. Ah great quote! I’d add, are you capable of being your own friend knowing everything you do? Thanks for sharing 🙏

    1. Absolutely – I think those relationships are cultivated – in part – by our willingness to shed our armour and open up. It encourages our partners to do the same. Thank you Cherly. Hope you are well 🙏🙂

  4. Ah I loved this AP2. The truth of it actually brought tears to my eyes! I remember those times, many years ago, when my children ran around naked pre bath time … laughing, giggling, free! So wonderful to be a part of.

    This 👉🏼 “ It’s all clothes we’re told to wear so we don’t make each other feel uncomfortable. Because who wants to deal with someone else’s vulnerabilities? I’m having enough trouble preventing people from seeing my own.” – you really touched a nerve here 🙂
    I get sick of hearing people tell others that the glass is always half full – especially when they’re trying to reveal concerns or vulnerabilities. It’s not true anyway! Sometimes the glass feels half empty and to be able to move forward that’s the way it needs to feel.
    Great post!

    1. Excellent point Margaret. Reminds me of a great children’s book called grumpy monkey. Everyone is telling him to cheer up – he keeps denying he’s grumpy until he explodes. Finally while feeling remorseful he acknowledges that he is in fact grumpy. That today he just needs to be grumpy. Then as if by magic he starts to feel better. Thank you for your kind words/comment Margaret. Wishing you well 🙏

  5. We live in a time where we actually get to choose what we carry on our shoulders, and what we put down and decide it isn’t for us. Yes, there are still immense social, familial and community pressures, but we get to say no now with less repercussions. I find it very positive.

    1. That is a great point. It’s easy to think we still have far to go while forgetting how far we’ve already come. I must admit I’ve felt no pressure about being a stay at home dad (although I have felt some self inflicted shame about it!). Most people have been very supportive. Thanks Tamara 🙏

  6. Oh, I loved this post, AP2. My kids were running around in the backyard naked last night shooting each other with water guns and I was marveling at their unselfconscious ease.

    And your point about vulnerability is so good. When we wear so much armor, being truly authentic and intimate is so hard because it takes a lot of time to get it off at the end of the day or when we have a moment to really talk with a good friend.

    I’m with you – let’s aim for the feeling of running free. Because the honor of watching these little ones do it makes it worthwhile, right? Beautiful post!

    1. Absolutely. I marvel at my children’s unselfconsciousness too! It’s something our children have to teach us adults. Thank you Wynne. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙏

  7. A friend of mine let her little girl running around naked just before her bath in the evening, as you do. She enjoys a lot and runs all around the apartment shouting and laughing. You can see how happy she is. Maybe we are not made for clothes? Though I love clothes very much, I am a woman (this is a stereotype but what can I do?). Thank you for this post David!

    1. Depends on the climate I think! In Singapore the less clothes the better. It’s too damn hot! In other places I’m glad for the layers. I like getting dressed up on occasion too! Thanks you Cristiana 🙏

  8. Sometimes I wish I was a space alien who gets to wear one of those sleek little one-piece numbers that looks just like every other sleek little one-piece number. No muss, no fuss, no judgment, no opinions of others. Running around naked is freedom at its best—nothing to hide, letting it all hang out warts and all. I’m not quite ready for a nudist colony just yet, but maybe one day—but then again, maybe not. No matter the form or manifestation, I think it all boils down to just one thing: the fear of loss of love. Thank you for a thought provoking post.

    1. Thank you Julia – I agree – it’s a fear of loss of love. That’s exactly it. Will that person standing opposite me still love me if I allow myself to be really seen. 🙏

  9. What a perfect analogy! We can learn so much from our kids—they’re wise little beings.
    Being vulnerable can be frightening but it’s the only way to achieve connection and ultimately intimacy with another human. Otherwise we’re just relating to each other’s “clothes” and not our “skin”.

      1. Got your comment firefly! Sometimes that happens to me when WordPress hasn’t registered me as logged in. You put it well – people simply responding to each others clothes instead of their skin. Gotta have skin in the game. Thank you Firefly. Hope all is well with you! 🙏🙂

      2. Oh good! Yep, ‘ya gotta have skin in the game’! Another great way to put it.
        I’m well AP2. I hope you and your family are too. 🙏🙂

  10. My kids love this too. I have to warn them when we have visitors coming that they cannot run round with their bits flying about. That said my 11yr old son was quite uncomfortable at swimming yesterday when there was a completely stark naked lady just standing about the changing room.

    1. I let my kids run around naked with visitors in the house. The reactions are funny sometimes. Mind you my kids are a bit younger (4 and 2) so most people just find it cute. I suspect there’s an age where that changes 😂

  11. Absolutely beautiful… I was spent three days on a naked beach … it took me that long to remove all clothes and experience the emotion and feelings and I wrote for the entire three days every emotion and feeling of why and the healing was amazing.. the insights to the fear were all planted by society and or growing up… what is somehow right or wrong when your naked or not… judgment I found is simply opinions without love attached… my kids loved being naked and their kids do too… freedom to be is the most amazing gift!

    1. I found something similar going to onsens in Japan. At first I found it awkward but then I stopped caring. It was liberating. Thanks for sharing Kerri. I appreciate you taking the time to read/comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂🙏

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