One size fits all?

Breaking the Mould, by sculptor Andrew Mckeown

Breaking the Mould, by sculptor Andrew Mckeown

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…
“Just painting.”
“Thank God!”
“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.

Sculpture II by Kirsten Justesen,

Sculpture II by Kirsten Justesen,

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.

Freedom by Zenos Frudakis

Freedom by Zenos Frudakis

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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47 Responses to One size fits all?

  1. Pingback: One size fits all? – The Militant Negro™

  2. Ritu says:

    I try so hard not to be too pigeon-holed into certain stereotypes, the Indian woman, the good daughter-in-law, (obviously, I am good, but you know what I mean!) etc, but it can be hard to stick with your path when others look down at you for doing different…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I can understand that, Ritu, and there are always those who will look down on our choices, no matter what we do. Choose a traditional role and the feminists sneer… choose a dynamic path, and the traditionalists start curtain-twitching. And heaven help you if you are seen to be ‘different’! That’s why the only path that matters is the one that feels right.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. KL Caley says:

    Beautiful, dare I say “fitting” post Sue! It was a lovely thing to read today. In fact, I think it is one of those posts that depending on the day or mood you read it, it will bring forward different images and memories of one’s own. Thank you for sharing it with the world! KL ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jenanita01 says:

    Lovely sculptures, Sue, especially the last one. I have been called different, unusual, odd, even weird, but the real me has never seen the light of day. I suspect that when and if it ever does, everyone will be surprised!


  5. I think it tends to be us creatives who do not fit the mould. We’re a little bit different, aren’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ksbeth says:

    yes, all so true and love the sculptures –

    Liked by 1 person

  7. memadtwo says:

    Beautiful art that you found…we do live many lives, don’t we? Our children tend to forget we had one quite different before they came along (not to mention that we were children once too). (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Smith says:

    Excellent post, Sue. As I get older it becomes easier to nudge at the sides of the box and be so totally contained in it. That final scupture is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. willowdot21 says:

    I have been the odd one out all my life, at school at work in marriage. Sometimes I wish one size did fit all but but then what would happen to me ………….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    Not surprisingly, it’s those mold-breakers that I admire the most. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My son gets really ALARMED when I mention me as a regular person rather than mom. I’ve given up trying to help him get over that. For him, too much information is anything that isn’t … well … you know … dignified. Which I find both humorous and curious since “dignity” was never one of my strong suits. Apparently when you get to my age, you are automatically conferred with dignity, like it or not 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Widdershins says:

    What a magnificent art installation that ‘Freedom’ is. 🙂 … interestingly our grand-daughter handled us being sexual beings much better than her mother did. 😀


  13. Jennie says:

    Oh, I loved this, Sue. I can see where the humorous exchange with your son stirred your thinking. I am guilty- I generally go along with subtle adaptations that fit the moment. Like you said, it’s what we learn to do to be socially acceptable. But, BUT, the older I get, the more I become just me. I do admire those who have a strong sense of self. Terrific post, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Writing Links 2/12/18 – Where Genres Collide

  15. Deborah Jay says:

    Ha ha, that brought back some funny memories. I did some life modelling back in my twenties, and most of the class chose sculpture as their medium. Not much of it looked anything like me at the end, thank goodness!

    Liked by 1 person

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