Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Life in a Box

The title above is one of the prompts "assigned" by my friend Jackie for tonight's makeshift writing group. I have several friends (I know, right) that I meet with to laugh, drink wine and occasionally, write things. We initially met in an actual writing workshop offered at the local community college. Yes, we all love to write and we're damn good at it, but we're also, in my humble opinion, "kids with issues". As our instructor/moderator Johanna says, "in life, there are no coincidences" and I tend to agree with her, at least with regard to our group and how we all ended up there. Some people take the five week workshop once. Some don't even complete the five weeks. Others, like the group I'm meeting with tonight, are what I like to call "lifers". Financial struggles aside (story of my life) we manage to scrape together the funds to take the class as often as we possibly can (it is offered four times a year) because it is our sanctuary, a safe haven and a shitload cheaper than therapy. But, this past summer, we (Kathy, Diana, Pat, Jennifer, Jackie, Tony, Stephanie and myself) have been meeting at Kathy's house because we can no longer tolerate this "twenty week a year" thing and because we have become not writing colleagues, not even simply friends, but family. We have formed such tight bonds, something unfamiliar to me at times due to my excessive fear of being hurt, that we can't stand to be apart for more than a week or two.

Okay, with that lumbering preamble, I humbly present the piece I just wrote for tonight's "class". I was given these prompts two weeks ago. I'm meeting my friends in less than two hours. Enough said.

Kari Murphy
August 17, 2016

“My Life in a Box”

          My life in a box, eh? Fuck, that has been the case since the moment I was born. Pretty sure I ended up in an actual “box” shortly after my birth. Story of my life, I arrived early (by about two and a half weeks) and my lungs were not yet fully developed. Can't imagine that was much fun for my parents or, hell, for me, but of course, I have no recollection of this time, laying in a incubator, I suppose, until my little body caught up.
          Pretty much since then, the “box” has been metaphorical. So many years without a voice (okay, not literally, but still, maybe the “slow lung growth” thing has a little to do with that, though I doubt it) kept me in a box of my own making, though not intentionally. Fucking boxes. The “shy” box, the “nerdy” box, the “invisibility” box. They have kept me trapped for most of my life. I hate them.
          Then, I guess, there is the box I placed myself in deliberately. The “safe” box. Safe, my ass. But, it sounded like a good idea in theory. In the “safe” box, I could hide away from the rest of the world, avoiding hurt, avoiding rejection, avoiding all the icky “stuff” that comes with self-exposure. Only thing is, that plan was an epic fail. Ironically, no one has ever or could ever hurt me the way I hurt myself. The “safe” box just so happens to be the loneliest place on the planet. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm quite fond of my own company. If you've met me, you know, I'm quite entertaining. I have a twisted sense of humor, I'm more self-deprecating than almost anyone else you'll ever meet and my heart is as big as the world, often to my detriment. (And I'm humble as hell, previous sentence notwithstanding.) But, damn it, the “safe” box might be better termed as the “isolation” chamber. Nothing bad gets in (lie) but nothing good gets in, either (all too true).
          I've had about enough of boxes. The truth is, I'd like to spend as little time as possible in them for the remainder of my days (and beyond). That's right, I'm speaking metaphorically AND literally. Do NOT put me in a coffin when I'm dead. I wish to be cremated, placed in a non box-like container for as little time as possible and sprinkled into the ocean so that I will finally be able to travel the world. Don't get me wrong, I'd certainly like to do that before I die but with each passing year, that possibility is looking less and less likely. Yet, one never knows, right?
          So yeah, about these damn boxes, I'm over them. At least, I'd like to be. Right now, as I sit here typing this rambling diatribe, I'm feeling slightly confident and empowered. Right now, as I sit here typing this, I feel like any box that dared approach me would be immediately greeted with a swift nut-kick. But of course, this will change, as it inevitably does. Give me a minute. Hey, at least I chose a foot to the balls over “boxing” the damn thing. Because that would just be tacky and cliché and I'm nothing if not original.
           I feel like this little slice 'o life needs a witty and clever conclusion. Something inspirational and enlightening would be ideal but a tidbit of wisdom would do in a pinch. Alas, I'm too “boxed in” to conjure one.
          Fuck, I went there.

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