Boxes are things that are used in both literal and metaphorical terms. In literal terms, a box is used as a vessel of storage either to move or to put things away. In metaphorical terms, it’s used as a way to put people and ideas into.
Above is a metaphorical box People do not belong in boxes. In the past, when I would describe myself, I would say “I’m x, but I am also y.” Usually, the 2 traits would be traits that a lot of people wouldn’t put together. For example, one would be, “I am outgoing, but I am also an introvert.“ Another one would be, “I am talkative, but I am a good listener.“ During this time, I was in therapy and I was struggling to accept who I was. My therapist being the amazing therapist she is, challenged me in a few different ways in regards to these statements. First, she asked me why I felt the need to say the word “but” after the first words in these statements, and then she would ask why I’m putting myself in a box. Truth be told, I felt ashamed to be considered outgoing and talkative. I didn’t like that aspect of my personality. I associated those traits to negative connotations and attributed them as to why people thought I was “weird” growing up and even in college. I’ve always felt that there was so much more to me than those traits, and since people thought I was ”weird” because of them, they never gave me the time of day to show them more of my personality. Also, a lot of the people who I admire, wanted to impress, and/or looked up to aren’t super outgoing and/or talkative. Therefore, I feared that these people wouldn’t like me because I have these traits. Essentially, I saw these traits as weaknesses and as flaws, instead of the strengths and perks that they are. My therapist told me that being talkative and outgoing are good traits to have, and that I shouldn‘t be ashamed to have them. As for why I put myself in a box and why I only put words that have a direct connection to each other. Well, that’s how my brain worked. I was taught to categorize, compartmentalize, and to put things in boxes. I applied that logic to my personality, how I saw myself, and how I saw other people. My therapist told me that people are complex and layered individuals that cannot fit and do not belong in boxes. Certain environments bring out different traits in people. There are so many influences that can impact one’s personality.
This helped me a lot in terms of accepting who I was and embracing who I am as an individual. Since then, I haven‘t put myself or others in a box. As a result, it has made me a lot more open, accepting, and understanding of everything and everyone. Today, I no longer associate negative connotations with being outgoing and talkative. I find them to be strong and valuable assets to my personality when utilized, as they are to anyone and everyone who has these traits. It’s a good thing to be able to go up to anyone, talk to them, and carry a conversation with them. Beyond that, nobody belongs in a box because of how dynamic people are, and that is a great thing.
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WHAT I AM READING: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander