Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

Outside the Box


What does a flower feel when it finally opens and feels the touch of honeybees?  I don’t know, but maybe it’s a little like the experience I had today.

In recent years, I allowed my job and my frustrations to place me in a box.  It wasn’t a bad box.  Some days it was an elaborate box with lots of curly ribbons and shiny paper.  Some days it was simply a closed cardboard box with almost no light and very little air.

To thrive in the box, I became a kind of cube—a shape that was not entirely natural (at least not to me).  The transformation happened slowly, inch by inch, so that I barely noticed that I was often living without light.  I was composed of odd angles and straight lines.  The colorful me wasn’t entirely gone, but it had grown pale and square from most perspectives.

When I went out in public, I looked down a lot.  I wasn’t sure I belonged and I was certain the people around me could tell.  While my husband would make friends in a checkout line, I was silent.  I took care of my business and went home.  People didn’t remember me or my name or that they had met me.

At last I changed my life, and I changed my view.  At last I recognized the box around me, and I didn’t like it.  I did my best to climb out, and even though I don’t always make it all the way out, I did make it into the light.

Today in public, I didn’t look down.  All sorts of strangers started conversations with me, people who might have intimidated me long ago.  I started conversations.  I shared the positive side of me.  We laughed.  We commiserated.  (We were facing pouring rain, lightning, and hail.)  We shared perspectives.  I came away feeling bright and soft and filled with interesting curving shapes.

The public didn’t change.  I did.  I know many people walk around in boxes, worried that they aren’t enough or are too much.  Self-criticism is a curse suffered by most young people and encouraged by industries that need us to believe we aren’t enough or are too much plus a society that’s used to dividing people into boxes.  Negativity is a huge box that’s sold as a form of sophistication.  Some people who are not young in years still judge and divide because it feels safe.  I know many people don’t look up.  I saw some today.  They’re afraid they might lose something if they lose distance from the life around them–if they lose any control.

But it’s fun to look up to watch other people climb out of their boxes.  It’s fun to share the light.  If you live outside a box, you live with no imposed limits.  You can’t guess how much you might grow.

One comment on “Outside the Box

  1. Chelo Diaz-Ludden
    May 10, 2015

    Good one, Susan. I’m kicking out the sides of my box.

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