seeking life out of the box

In what ways are you open to the world around you? or might you be that you are not? What things hurt you,  harden your heart, hold you back from your own best self? How can writing free you from boxes you close yourself up inside?

These questions in last night’s writing circle prompted lengthy, deep and revelatory writing. To a woman, the writing opened new insights about how they want to move forward in their lives, beyond the boxes of their own making as well as the box of imprisonment. The lines which create the poem below are taken from the different writings, scribed while listening to each woman read her own words. The result is this ‘found poem’ weaving together individual experience into a gathered whole.

My Box is a Fantasy Place

I find that I have retreated there willingly
this paradise of a box inside my brain
where I fly, walk on the ceiling.
Why am I so scared of other people’s judgments?
I have opened up and been burned before.
Do I dare lift the top and peer out?
Should I venture out, how far can I go?

I find the familiarity of my limits comforting,
the only place I know how to be me.
I never let people or friends in too far —
I act like I don’t care.

Words I once felt were true —
no one will ever want you . . .
I never thought you would hurt me . . .

voices that haunt me.
You say that you love me;
you took it all away from me,
twinkle and dance.
You only care about you,
games
doubled over the back of my efforts;
a lifetime of social striving
your so-called loyalty
boxed in the cardboard of perhaps.

Our lives came crumbling down.
I kept on going blindly
stayed with you anyway,
small, vulnerable, and powerless,
silent glue
holding the center.

I keep sanity buried deep inside;
hate and self-loathing hide in the box.
I keep distracted so I won’t need to feel.
How long can I live along the lines
of someone else’s script?

Only at night dare I look out
safe, though not always comfortable.
My precarious brain longs for silence, peace;
my heart has been hardened,
I’m starting to become numb.
It’s only me, alone in the box —
I am my only judge.
My heart is not open,
will remain dark and vacant until my box is reduced to dust.

After a while I become lonely.
Shadows of who I could be
sit and worry every day,
cold and lonely without my children.
I long to be the adult
to bust out of the box, and the fear
that made me create it in the first place.
These things take courage, drive, determination.

OK, now I am the real me.
I want to be helpful and happy, to laugh.
I have found my courage,
have let go so I could grow
to hold things of more importance dear —
a journey into the vast unknown
with what little sanity I have left.

It’s my voice wanting to shout above the din –
I will not be stilled any longer!
Don’t worry, I will be back.
I can and will step outside.
Steer me back to home,
marquee flashing ‘coming soon’ —
unboxed, original and free.

. . . and you?

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