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Piece 5, S/S 2023 Collection Maybe its the box that needs fixing

My 6-year-old daughter recently went to a school holiday Lego camp. I got an email from the organiser after it finished asking whether it was OK for them to send my contact details to the mother of a young boy who had also attended. They explained to me that Stella had formed a bond with this kid so I thought, why not? When I got in contact, the boy’s mother told me that she had received a piece of toilet paper from her young son with a phone number scribbled on it but that she could not quite make out. Turns out, my daughter had pulled the old ‘write the phone number down on a napkin and slip it to the handsome stranger’ trick 🤦‍♀️.

When I asked her about her new suitor, she beamed an air of serious satisfaction with herself that her plan had worked. Satisfied yes, but also a look of overly confident knowingness, as if she never doubted for one second that the call would come. My guilt for having let her stay up late and watch The Bachelor with me compounded when she told me that he had asked her whether she would accept a rose. But my awareness of just how big my babies’ imagination and premature readiness for the world really was, hit me like a rocket ship after I had finally organised the play date with her Baby Bach. Excited for their cute connection, I told her we were off to meet him for a play in the park. Her response? A park mumma? Really? That is not a date. Oh, ok. And where then would you propose this date take place my little one? Eye roll, followed sharply and without hesitation by “A restaurant. Clearly”. Ummmmm yeah, but no.

It is funny how even having a daughter full of such happiness, bravado, natural enthusiasm and infectious energy can still create a lingering anxiety about how they are going to fit into, and remain happy, in this crazy judgmental world. I have given it a lot of thought over my lifetime and especially so after having my own child, about how every really positive personality trait can also have a flip side. That crazy high confidence on a bad day could look like arrogance. That self-surety about what she wants or needs might well transmute into bad manners. That raging positive enthusiasm can equally feel like a tiring level of intensity. That show girl star performance capability could, to some, make her a show off. And that insatiable curiosity for knowledge might, to the impatient, be labelled as an irritating pesterance.

But I do struggle to believe that someone's dominant personality traits could, or should, ever really be perceived as also bad. I guess a whole lot of which side of that flippable coin a person is experienced by others, also has a whole lot to do with who the person is that is casting the judgment and from what perspective they might be standing. Regardless, I can't help but think that who you are and how you show up in the world might, to certain others, be seen as your less than delightful underbelly. But could, in reality, be just the sprinkle of individuality that is needed in the world as a force for progressive change. The distinctive inimitable part of who you are that sets you apart and ultimately becomes your transformative superpower.

My daughter had a tough time in Kindy. Correction. She had an absolute ball. But there were a few difficult trips up to the school for Mumma Bear. Loads of really confronting discussions about some of the challenges that come with that transition into the schoolyard. Some with a hint of possible truth (even with my rose coloured mumma glasses on). Others sometimes felt just a little too serious and premature for a 6-year-old trying to find her way. Time was spent oscillating between more solemn moments in a reflection room contemplating her wrong doings and leaping lizards with joy at the receipt of a “caught you being good” award for her more charming behaviour.

It's not always easy but I am trying, before drawing any conclusions, to give my daughter the space to experiment with who she is and where she belongs. To do the research. To test different hypotheses. To find out what kind of behaviour, tribes or interests she engages in generate feelings of joy in her life and what she chooses that might leave her feeling not so chuffed. Everybody just wants their kids to be happy. It’s a universal truth. But in a world that already has so many people feeling less than for not being enough, what I don’t want is her ever feeling too much. Or that what makes her different also makes her difficult. Especially if that is being decided by someone other than her. I read once that Pink, the rebellious take no prisoners musician, is known to have said “When the box you’re in doesn’t fit anymore, burn that f—ker down, start a new one” and it got my mind ticking.

If the environment you are in doesn’t seem to support who you are, should you move on and find a place where you feel welcome and unconditionally loved, or, should you thrash it out and learn how to adapt to where you are? Yeah, you could, at times, feel totally justified to tell the people in your box who think you are too much, to go find less. Quite frankly. But you could also go high. Find the box that it isn’t necessary to think outside of, because it’s one that keeps you all wrapped up safe and sound ready for delivery to the world. And exactly as the gift that you are. Ponder for just a second, the view of the uber intelligentsia Sir Malcolm Gladwell on these boxes we all come packaged in: If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe it’s the box that needs fixing. 👊. Word.

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Mar 16, 2023

I think in life my biggest success and happiness has come from me being truly and authentically me. Not changing who I am to fit in any box. So I say trash it down and find where you belong. Proud of my god daughter for her unique and ‘backwards S’ attitude 😘


Mar 15, 2023

Some deep thinking triggered by this one Sarah - to move on or thrash it out? I concluded a matter of where I want to spend my energy. Thanks for provoking the reflection.

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