Box. Smash.

Lisbeth Essays, Life, Mindset

Oh sweet Jesus, I’m tired of the boxes they try to put me in.

And the boxes I try to put me in.

  • Athlete
  • Intellectual
  • Mother
  • Veteran
  • Woman
  • Writer

Boxboxboxboxboxfuckingbox. Like I only fit one and not the others.

I fit no one box, no two boxes, no fifty million boxes. I am so much messier than that. You are so much messier than that. The only thing amazing is that the box-jamming routine continues from birth to death. Jam. Resist. Jam. Resist. Jam. Resist.

It starts so young. On the playground, on the bus, in the girl’s restroom with the long hallway and the dry, scratchy pink soap.

“Poindexter” was the taunt for “nerd” in the 1970’s in our little town in Connecticut. Those words still ring in the hollow metal schoolbus of my memory. Let me off at my stop and they don’t stop.

Fine, we’ll play kickball and my killer left foot will beat you all on the pavement. Box crushed. Now you want to be on my team? I wield the power as captain. Be nice or I won’t pick you and your heavy foot and clumsy hands. The bell rings. We march our plaid skirts and blue polyester pants inside. My papers show perfect scores on all those tests. I know how to check the right boxes and smash them.

In the military, they bring the boxes forward in a weird way. “Why are you here?” they ask, “You went to Vassar. You don’t have to be here.”

Because I want to be here. Box. Smash.

Maybe the problem isn’t that the boxes are there or that people try to push us into them. Maybe the problem is that I think they should stop.

Society likes categories and labels and boxes. Life with many people is easier that way.

But I was not made to be easy. I was not made for labels. I was made to be goddamn fucking difficult. And original. And ornery. And unsatisfied. And humble and a braggart and confused and clear and cloudy and sometimes just the oddest shade of grey coming out of that black night.

But not pink. I was never pink, despite that crotcheted poncho my mother made for me out of so much pink yarn in the first grade. I ran with my purple Nerf football in that pink poncho. The boys chased. Box smashed.

How about you?

Or just giving up because you’re tired, so fucking tired?


Lisbeth Essays, Life, Mindset

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