It took some time for me to contemplate the logo I wanted for my blog and eventually I decided on the theme “outside the box”. I often feel that I am “outside the box” as my life has been different from a traditional, mainstream life firstly as a young adult and secondly when married. On so many occasions when required to complete a document or form by ticking the appropriate box, I struggle to tick any of the boxes as the box I would choose that relates to me as a person is never an option. The categories we are expected to identify with are usually limited and without thought.
As Margaret Meed said –
“Children should be taught how to think, not what to think”.
Growing up I realised that I was expected to tick all the boxes in this order:
- leave school and get a job
- get married
- buy a house
- get a mortgage
- have children
Instead, as soon as I finished school I left my parents’ home, moved to the city and discovered that life in the city was so different from the regional town I had grown up in. My eyes had been opened to possibilities I did not know existed before and I wanted to rush off and explore the world. I wanted to form my own opinions, have my own thoughts and ideas, achieve things I wanted to do, not what my parents wanted me to do and consequently was considered rebellious or defiant. I was choosing to live a life that was not customary for girls my age and so I avoided ticking the boxes I was expected to tick.
A recent article in the media covered a death certificate which was issued stating the marital status of the deceased as “never married” and the partner of the deceased person was upset that the country in which the deceased had died did not recognise the same-sex marriage they had celebrated in another country. The enormous number of responses to this article were supporting the universal recognition of same-sex marriage but in this article I was alerted to the fact that the marital status was included on a death certificate. The person is deceased so I fail to understand the relevance or significance of their marital status except it is another example of how humans are categorised and we all have to fit the limited options available to choose from.
For many years, my husband and I struggled as a couple when asked the question “how many children do you have”? As time passed and we had been married for several years, the question was being asked more frequently as there is a traditional expectation that couples marry and have children. We became adept at answering this question over the years and soon we were old enough that this question was no longer being raised. It took time for us to accept that our marriage would be childless and I will write more in future articles how my husband was able to think “outside the box” and soon we were contemplating opportunities and different directions for ourselves.
After 20 or more years of marriage, I was taken by surprise when again I was being confronted by the subject of children but this time the question was “how many grand children do you have”? We were working in a predominately male environment with men from a vast number of nationalities and I soon learnt that in many cultures when a couple are without children it is considered quiet shameful. The man is able to leave his wife and choose another who is able to bear him children. Not to be defeated by this expectation of me, I starting thinking “outside the box” and sometimes replied by telling people what they expected to hear, as this was a less painful approach.
So I chose a logo that symbolised who I am, someone who thinks and has ideas “outside the box” The gold box reminds me of a beautifully wrapped present and represents the golden opportunities we are given in life. The flowers, butterflies, bees and the birds remind me of new life and growth; of exploring; of travel; of beauty; of potential. The colours signify happiness and bright possibilities. How much nicer our world would be if we stopped trying to categorise everyone and simply identify people by their kindness, thoughtfulness, gentleness, compassion and most importantly, their smile.