On Breaking Moulds

“God made me and broke the mould.” –Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Pink. Everything was pink. My walls, carpet, clothes, bedding – even the boxes on the abominable Barbie dolls I received in droves. And so, as soon as I was old enough to decide anything, I decided to hate pink.

A paradise for pink lovers, not so much for pink haters.
Well, this looks familiar. I had the canopy bed. And the white vanity mirror. Poodles, too. Real ones.

In retrospect, it wasn’t that I had anything against pink itself. I was reacting to something. It was the principle, really. I was a girl and therefore I should like pink. So I would hate it. Not just dislike it or be indifferent towards it, but despise it with a passion, so as to prove to someone, everyone, myself, that girl does not equal pink.

I would go on to react in similar ways to many other things, not only related to gender, but to religion, culture, to the various stereotypes and expectations placed upon me. It’s not that I was a rebel, or wanted to stand out – I was accustomed to the adjectives “nerdy” and “goody-goody” being directed towards me. Rebelling is what the cool kids do, I mostly tried to fit in. It was something innate, something deeper, something that reacted, perhaps, to the sense that something outside of myself was at stake.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, I didn’t even realize it was a pattern, until one day in university I found myself searching for my self among a stack of cards. There were all kinds of phrases on the cards, describing things people might value, everything from “being on time” to “looking beautiful” to “experiencing new things.” I had to parse through the cards, making stacks of “valued” and “not valued.” Then the valued stack had to be sorted into greater and lesser valued, and so on and so on until I was left with just one card staring back at me: “breaking moulds.” What that even meant I wasn’t entirely sure, but the words jumped out at me in such a way that I knew I was figuring something out, something so deep it should almost be forbidden. Here was a piece of my essence exposed for the first time.

Recently the need to write has become nigh unbearable, as though I’ve been holding my breath in a seemingly endless highway tunnel as my face turns blue. And not just any kind of writing – I’ve been running a travel blog, you see, as an exercise to keep the folks back home informed of my exploits, but I tire of it. Adventures! Adventures! More adventures! Must make everything sound exciting, every picture look like an amazing snapshot into a thrilling existence! – I want to reawaken the free-thinking university writing class days of “you should write about that,” to explore issues and ideas from different perspectives, to get to the heart of matters with strangers.

And so, in searching for a theme for this new writing endeavor, the words “breaking moulds” came back to me once again. The more I think on it, the more I realize how this inner voice, or instinct, or compulsion to break moulds has formed much of the way I see and interact with the world. It is not always explicit, in fact it rarely is, but I suspect it will come through in how I explore and interact with the various topics here.

I hope you will join me for this, an adventure of the mind. Some posts may be seriously intellectual, others humorous or satirical, still others deeply personal. Questions, comments, objections and critiques are all welcome and encouraged: friends and strangers alike, let’s make this a forum for meaningful conversation!

One red tulips emerges defiantly out of a field of yellow

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man attempts to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” –George Bernard Shaw

3 thoughts on “On Breaking Moulds

  1. When I lived in Japan, my favorite Japanese proverb was, “The nail that sticks out will get hammered down” because it seemed to encapsulate the cultural expectation of conformity so well. Your voice is beautiful….so keep sticking out, keep breaking moulds…..and stay away from hammers 😉

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