They put me in a box to express myself.
So every time I express myself, I constrain myself to eight corners so close together I can feel them suffocating me. Told me man was not supposed say all the things he felt, but instead brush off the things he felt, like water on duck back.
Bury it six feet under and never visit the grave site. Roll up the pent up and puff out the past pain. Don’t even smile on the inside else it bleed out to the outside. Be stoic, be so unmoving that drama films make you wonder why you moved your eyes to watch them. Let your stomach be atrophied, a belly laugh was always dealt with below the belt.
Be the frightening giant they always said you’d aspire to be, like me, role models would tell me, or show me, condition me to be more rugged than weathered down cobblestones, beaten down by foot and your own nature, just be…your box.
And let your box be you.
And I sometimes find it hard to say I like flowers, and vibrant colors. I sometimes find it hard to say “I love you” or “You make me feel alive”. I sometimes find it hard to laugh without trying, to be myself instead of fearing what the “me” outside of my box is. I sometimes hide in one of the eight corners, wondering how I let somebody put me here.
And maybe sometimes I’m afraid to face that because I never really had to grapple with those emotions, the ones I was never able to cultivate. Maybe it’s time for a new garden, the clichè “think outside the box”.
I can’t keep letting people wrap me up in a neat little bow and determine my present. I can’t keep letting people box me in and then claim I’m a gift.
-Virgenal Owens the Poet