I knew from the beginning that the journey I was starting would be anything but easy. What I didn’t realize was that I would have to be on guard against myself. Against years of conditioning and expectations. When you grow up believing in one realty, no matter how impossible it may prove to be, it is extremely difficult to take on a new view point, to see things as they really are and not as you assumed they were. To borrow a phrase from a commercial; to “think outside the box”. This is even more true when all of your life you weren’t even aware that there was a box to think outside of.
When I finally broke free, it was from a mental prison, made of bars of thought, of others vision of what they wanted me to be. It wasn’t until later, as I tried to understand what was happening, that I found the image of a box and it seemed as good a way to explain things as any other.
The important thing is that I had been denied a part of myself. I had been living half a life. A miserable, self destructive half life that would have killed me sooner or later. In breaking free I became a whole person for the first time in my life. This has been a real shock, thoughts I had suppressed were now in the forefront of my mind. I looked at the world around me differently, and the way I interacted with people changed. I didn’t understand it and I desperately needed to.
The problem I found was that I didn’t have a frame of reference to work from. I didn’t know, really, what “normal” people saw or thought in relation to how I was thinking. So I did the only thing I could, I went looking for information. That’s were I fell into my first trap. People tend to like things in neat little packages, each properly labeled in easy to read script. They tend to see things in those damn little boxes. A place for everything and everything in its place. I started to try to understand myself according to this ideal. I should be able to find a new box, one that was mine and not someone else’s. The thing is, people aren’t things to be put in boxes. We never really fit into something as confining as a box and trying to do so becomes impossible as soon as you know that the box is there.
This has caused me some distress as I sought to do to myself what others had doe before me.
It was several discussions that finally opened my eyes to what I was doing. During one I was asked;
“If you just got out of one box, why are you trying to put yourself into another?”
Because someone told me to?
Because society thinks I should?
Once I realized that I had no answer, I had the answer. No one can tell me to get back into the box, To get back into my cell and be a good little girl.
So now I have taken my first real step outside that cell, to finally think outside of the box.