I had to chuckle at the emotions that flitted across my son’s face. He even managed to continue his sentence without a blink, yet the whole internal ‘did she just say that?’ conversation was written in a millisecond across his face
Have you ever noticed how it is with children, no matter what their age, when a subject comes up that they really, really do not want to associate with their parents? Sex is a good one, as parents have, quite obviously never indulged in ‘that type of thing’ and, according to my eldest son, his was an immaculate conception. Anything else cannot be contemplated. He was actually born of roses, but that is a whole other story….
We had been talking about talent and sculptors and he’d mentioned artists working from life. I repeated what I’d said…
“I did some life modelling.”
“Not for sculpture?” This with deep suspicion…
“There could be pictures anywhere in the world…” I admit, I was enjoying the moment…
“Oh great, I could come across them anywhere???”
“So when I’m old I have that to look forward to…”
“Probably such odd poses and styles you wouldn’t recognise me.”
“Whew! That’s something to be thankful for then! I think.”
The light hearted exchange made me chuckle. It was inconceivable to my son that ‘Mum’ had ever been a life model. But I hadn’t become ‘Mum’ at that point. She was a long time in my future. But it got me thinking again.
Have you ever really considered how much of our lives we spend squeezing ourselves into little boxes of conformity to fit the role of the moment? We are raised and unconsciously conditioned by the accepted social norm to a degree we seldom even notice as we slip into patterns of behaviour to fit the ordained mould.
Occasionally those roles are pulled from beneath our feet and we are obliged to question or redefine them and oddly, we find that we can, in spite of the way things have ‘always been’. The roles are nowhere near as rigid as we accept them to be, the boxes made of far more flexible stuff than we expect.
I have a sudden image in my mind of childhood presents, all wrapped and waiting to be discovered. It was always the odd shaped parcels that were the most interesting. Personally, I think I’d rather be intriguingly lumpy and unpredictable. On the other hand, you never really know what is in the square ones till you open them up and look inside.
It makes me wonder how much happier people would be in general if instead of squashing ourselves into a role defined by usage, we lived instead, from the inside out, learning to fill those roles with who we are instead of who we think we ought to be. Living with colour, vividness and passion in what we do and not hiding ourselves away.
Most of us have known at some time those colourful characters who dare to stand out from the crowd. I don’t mean those who rebel just because they can… but those who quietly and genuinely seem to live in their own Being. They don’t go out of their way to be ‘different’, they simply shrug their shoulders and live their own lives in the way that feels whole to them with clear -eyed honesty. They do not seem to mind if they do not fit the mould and find, instead, that the mould adapts itself to fit them.
Some may look down their noses at these non-conformist characters and perhaps it is this fear of disapproval that holds us back. But I think there is a part of most of us who envy that freedom of spirit. Yet we all have that in us, that ability to break the mould and simply be ourselves, regardless of the judgemental eyes we may feel upon us or the preconceived ideas of ‘ought to’. After all, one of humanity’s richest resources is its very diversity… and one size never does fit all.