From My Time in the Box Car of Captivity.

“When you cage a body, you just might free a mind.” – original.

Lately the unquiet voice in my head has been screaming to be set free. The curiosities are loud, the inner demons are running rampant and the patience has worn thin as tissue paper. Thus, here I am. Sitting, waiting, wishing and writing to nobody in particular, with just a little inkling of hope that another stranger or the universe picks up my unquiet mind and takes off with it running. Running down a path, leading to a more quiet place. One of safety, solace and peace of mind.

On boxes

I think there is symbolism to be found in how we typically think of things like boxes, cages, chains and prisons etc. In terms of the different forms of entrapment. I’ve struggled to find my way out of some of the boxed in scenarios we humans are so good at getting ourselves into. I’ve learned that no matter the type you are faced with though, whatever the situation is — ultimately it is up to you to decide how to utilize a box in a positive way. The processes of acceptance or escape can be as simple or complex as you make them.

Figurative boxes: 3 way

If you find yourself trapped by something, mentally or physically you have a couple options. First, you can say fuck it. Adopt an IDGAF attitude and pay no mind to that person who has insulted your personhood. You say alright, this person has this opinion about me. But I am strong. I am worthy. I am capable and I have the right to my own happiness. This person’s opinion is none of my business.

If you are a chill, uneasily bothered type, like my cousin Tia who I adore and envy, this kind of reaction comes naturally to you. The words and opinions of others roll in one ear and out the other.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This is a wild and wonderful gift to behold, as far as I’m concerned. I envy you. Because for me, sometimes words and negative feedback have felt like a blow to the gut with the force of a UFC fighter.

Which brings me to the next totally hypothetical scenario. You’re imprisonment actually results in an opportunity for you to turn something negative into something positive. To self-reflect and discern as to why they said what they did, or think what they do, and allow the words to make you better. And to light a fire under your butt until you prove the haters wrong.

In this case the criticism, tough love, or a plain old insult helps feed the evolution of your character. It is an opportunity for self-improvement. Allows you to reinvent yourself,  but not for anyone else other than you. You make changes for nobody’s reasons but your own.

Or there’s door number three. This is the one where you let their projected or warranted judgement get under your skin. As a highly sensitive person (how I refer to myself because for a long time I was in denial of my mood disorder) and INFJ-T, I’ve found myself often trending towards option three. For a long time, I let the real and/or my purported opinions of others slowly eat me away. I think that is why I’ve struggled with self-esteem and social phobia throughout my adolescent and young adult years.

But I am working hard to think critically and use my wise mind instead of hanging my head, and sulking slowly in defeat through door number three. And I am damn proud that I have come so far from where I was during my most dark and twisty hours.

Physical boxes: 1 way

Similarly, there are 3ish ways to deal with physical boxes. Unfortunately the only way out of a physical box is through. Physical boxes may be required for one of two reasons. There may be more, but for the purpose of this post, only two come to mind.

You may be put into that box for a very specific reason, usually at the hands of someone else’s authority or ruling. But oftentimes the only way through is by surrendering your need for control, and accepting the fact that you may need help or deserve to be where you are.  Well I guess unless you are an escape artist. Then you’ve found the loophole in my analysis.

But if you are not an escape artist and have no other option than to address the circumstance at hand that probably means you must accept that this time, you can’t get out on your own. Either that or it was your own fault that you are and will remain in this very uncomfortable ‘holding cell’ for the foreseeable future.

Physical boxes are used when people get arrested and incarcerated. They are used when people are sent into retirement homes. They are used to house recovering addicts. They can be used to hospitalize you against your will. I’m sure the list goes on but that’s all I’ve got right now. Because while this post may sound very riddle-y and roundabout (I easily veer off track when I am trying to make sense of my own mind) it’s about one very specific thing. My first hospital stay, and the first time someone questioned the possibility that I had inherited from a family member, a mood disorder.

I guess what I am trying to say though is this, no matter the circumstances, I think the boxes of life are where immense growth takes place. Big, small, momentarily, permanently. Whether the experience is traumatic and excruciating or easy peasy lemon squeezy. You will get through it. You are resilient.

You’ll think your way out of that god damn box. Believe that.


2 thoughts on “From My Time in the Box Car of Captivity.

  1. Great articles Ashley. I love reading your work. You’re such a growing and amazing writer and artist. I love and am proud of you!

    Xoxo, Molls.


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