Knowing the right size for your world

A while ago I did this picture that played on the fact that the body has almost the same percentage of water as the world…just above 72%…quite an amazing fact. I imagined our organs like the oceans (as they are labeled here, though too small to see) and our life as a voyage of ourselves as well as others – they are other seas that flow into ours. Playing with scale provokes a lot of questions and draws new parallels.

Last night I was reading about scale, of expansion and shrinkage by one of my favourite authors, Jeanette Winterson, in her biography ‘Why be happy when you could be normal?’. I pretty much grew up with her words as a teenager and still look to her when I need to admire a strong woman and a wonderful writer (isn’t it great when your heroes stay heroes?). Anyway, here’s what she has to say about size.

“Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear…rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world. I used to have an anger so big it would fill up my house. I used to feel so hopeless that I was like Tom Thumb who has to hide under a chair so as not to be trodden on. It seems to me that being the right size for your world – and knowing that both you and your world are not by any means fixed dimensions – is a valuable clue to learning how to live”

And I believe her. It might be time to get the tape measure out and check our proportions, not in relation to a beauty myth, but in proportion to a world we can live happily in. Once the ratio is right, we can then set sail on that voyage, prepared though to constantly adjust the sails.


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