What’s Your Cup Size?
Mine is a short, wide, china cup, bought from the well-known supermarket that rhymes with ‘pains-worries.’ The cup is as wide as the top of a classic old-fashioned teacup but nice and broad all the way down instead of being cup-shaped. So perhaps it’s a mug…? It’s the perfect width for a teabag to move around in freely and also a good shape and size for a frothy coffee. China also seems to be perfect for herbal tea. This cup/mug is pale blue with swirly flower patterns. I’m a big fan of swirls, curls, twists and spiral shapes. It is also nice and light. I’m not fond of big chunky mugs. I seem to prefer a thin rim to drink from. The lovely wide handle is hand-huggable and I also like the fact that it is not too delicate or feminine. I do use other cups/mugs but this is my favourite. It suits me.
The diminishing acceptance for difference in our society is my biggy bugbear. I think about, write about, and discuss it a lot. I am reminded of it every day when I listen to news and discussion on the radio, watch TV, hear what my children have been doing at school…etc, etc… and I wonder what sort of future we are mapping out where everyone is put into boxes and made to fit, made to follow a certain route and made to suffocate their own individuality. I think if we worked on accepting difference more easily, loosening what we consider “normal” and “successful” and made childhood and schooling more varied and free then we would create naturally accepting and tolerant adults. I could go on and on and on for days and travel down many different avenues discussing this.
I think that if we could be easier with ourselves and stop trying to fit or all be the same then we could shorten the time we spent navel-gazing and get on with just being us. Limited goals, routes, criteria, set standards of achievement within life and education cannot possibly incorporate everyone who is genuinely useful in our society, and I wish we could get away from this feeling of one route to success.
I’m rather concerned about an emphasis on financial productiveness, labelling some school subjects as more worthwhile or important than others, and less support for arts and creativity coming from our current government, and suggestions in the media that some options are ‘soft’ or less valuable. People that have come away from school, with less so-called ‘academic’ subjects under their belt, are not broken, they do not need fixing. It’s about who they are.
Bright people within arts, media, literature, constructive jobs, catering, horticulture, farming, design, (feel free to add your own), make all those areas well-run, successful, and worthwhile to all.
In my opinion, it is an important aspect of human evolution that we all feel we have different skills, talents, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and even habits. We don’t all need to be brilliant at maths, we don’t all need to play a musical instrument, we don’t all need to know how to raise and kill a chicken, we don’t all need to know how to design a building, plough a field, make a table, sew curtains, hold our breath for three minutes, gut a fish, chair a meeting, rescue people from a fire in an office block, teach science, split an atom, design an uplifting environment within a children’s hospital, write a book, (feel free to add your own). What we need is encouragement to go our own way so that there are people successfully doing all of those things.
I went the one-size-fits-all way in the eighties, and saw how many people it didn’t fit – including me. I was told what was considered academic and what not, what would make me look more successful and less successful. That route lead me straight to a job in a pub for three years. (Not that there’s anything wrong with people who work in pubs – I just stopped doing all the things that made me me in those years)
By the time I’d dusted myself down and started again I was thirty. By the time I was comfortable about who I am I was… errr…. Well, I’m getting there at 2 days away from forty-two.
The reason I am getting there is because I followed new routes, explored, experimented, experienced new ideas. I found out that it’s not a disaster – in fact it’s okay and very cool – to want to write, to want to learn, to want to be a quiet person.
Imagine if we were all competitive chicken-killing mathematicians with a fixation on financial success…
While I’m at it, I may as well mention again how worried I am about the Open University’s planned extortionate fee increases. I would be lost if I had to start my self-discovery now.
I think the government is getting education all wrong.
Support difference, you mugs!