Trapped In The Box
written by: Nonso
Every day the same thing happens. We wake up and there are rules. Everything is how it should be. Nothing is out of place.
When she tries to complain or tries to do something anything different, she is reprimanded.
She goes to school and it’s the same thing, she is being taught the exact thing. You are to read what is in the book and you study what is in the book and you write exams on what is in the book yet no one tells you how the book was written. Who decided what is in the book and how do they know it’s correct and if it is correct can we write our own books and if we can write our own books will it be correct too?
So she tries to write her own book, she decides to do this during her exam, how else will the others know about her own addition to the book.
She failed woefully and was asked to repeat the exams, she didn’t get why, she just wrote her own book. At home she received the biggest punishment. Between school and the lashes she received at home, she decided to not write her book again.
Over the years she has wondered several things, she has wondered if she could be several things. Every day her mind keeps changing, her scope keeps expanding. She flip-flops on decisions about herself. Today she is a free spirit, the next she is a history buff.
No one takes her seriously because of this, no one talks to her about this, they assume she will start her nonsense; they literally say “you have started again”
So she stops, she keeps quiet and she gets older, she starts to realize things. She didn’t have to stop dreaming, she could have been writing her own book for years now. She is just trapped in a box. Everyone in the box is like a part of a well oiled Unitarian dystopia.
Every day the same thing happens. They wake up and there are rules. Everything is how it should be. Nothing is out of place.
She doesn’t feel like she belongs in the box, she actually feels suffocated in the box but that’s because she is too big for the box. She has to actually suppress and compress herself to fit into the box but even with all that her extremities still stick out every so often.
When they stick out and she feels that soft breeze on her feet, she longs for it, she longs to be a part of that outside area where it seems nothing like the box. The box even has rations for the breeze which is utterly ridiculous because it is just breeze.
The bigger she gets, the more she feels the breeze from the outside and the more her heart can’t take this small wonder, she wants it all but she is still trapped in the box.
Little by little, she tries to regain her freedom; she wakes up a little later or earlier. She does things at her own pace; she says no to the rules and says yes to paint just a little outside of the lines.
As she does that, she is reminded of her outrageous fine art teacher in school who literally flogged anyone he saw using an eraser in class. He said there was no such thing as mistakes. Everyone had called him eccentric back then but she had found herself softly and less visibly nodding her head in agreement with what he was saying.
So she does that, she goes along with the philosophy except with her own adjustments, she is an adult and the child like naiveté she once possessed was long gone. She knew of a little friend of mistake called consequence with whom she maintained an acquaintance.
Someday somehow, she got free from the box. Her entire body is out of it and it is magical. The world is her oyster, she could be whatever she wanted, the sky is the limit for her, if she could think it, she could do it. There were so many possibilities and she was going to take on the world and conquer, the only enemy she had was herself.
With these marching orders she began to move, with her head held high and her shoulders propped up she took her first step and the second and the third.
She soon realized things were not as easy as she had imagined. The plan in itself had been simple, break out of the box and achieve her goals away from the dystopia.
But as she took further steps, the light breeze she had once felt became a raging tornado and it changed to being scorching desert weather and back to being a raging tornado.
With new hardships and more confusion, she began to long for the box she so despised. She longed for the rules and regulations where everything was mapped out and everything had its place. She even missed the guidelines she had spent years trying to get out of.
When her acquaintance consequence reared its unforgiving head, she felt like her life was over. It had not even begun and yet she wanted it to end.
She knew that the box was not a long term solution it was not even a short term solution, she had been so close to getting kicked out of it but she didn’t know anybody or anything in this outside world everyone she knew was in the box. She didn’t know the rules of the outside, things were different from what she had known her whole life.
So here she was stuck, should she go back to the familiar box or should she forge on in the outside? And if she were to forge on how would she, what was the first step to take now that she was here? She searched and found that there was no wise saying about this situation. That didn’t seem fair, there were a plethora of wise sayings about following your dreams but none about how to do so.
She feels like time is getting away from her but others are telling her she has all the time in the world. People praise her for taking that one most important step.
She had spent years fantasizing and glamourizing the outside in her head – she had never gotten a glimpse of it – and now that she was here she didn’t know what to do.
She is still trapped in her ideologies that were handed to her, in her views that were taught to her. Does she know who she is? Is she a flip-flopper or just someone capable of doing an array of things? Is she overhyping herself or underselling?
Does she belong in the box or the outside? Is there a third option?
Questions flurry in her head especially since she is seeing more people with their own version of the book. Is she special or had she not been with people like her all her life?
What is she going to do?