There is no fucking box

I just got back from co-hosting the Lifestyle Design Convention in Zürich, Switzerland.

If you’d told me even a year ago that I’d be on stage, facilitating for 80+ people and introducing incredible speakers 12 months later I wouldn’t have believed you. Or if I had, I would have spent the next year flitting in and out of anxiety about it.

Why?

Because for the last 15 years I lived in a box that did not include being the center of attention, and definitely not being on stage.

Which is funny because as a young adolescent I was part of a drama society and was regularly on stage and the center of attention…..and I loved it. LOVED it. I loved acting, but most of all I loved making people laugh, and most of the stuff we did was comedy. And the extrovert, exhibitionist, narcissist in me fucking loved being the center of attention.

And that is still a difficult sentence for me to write.

So what happened?

Full blown adolescence happened. The arrival of the idea that how I feel depends on how others perceive me. The intrinsic knowing that it’s safer to not stand out. A constriction, a making smaller, a holding back.

Buddhism – or rather an immature and unskilful immersion into Buddhist principles – happened. Acceptance babe. Let go of your anger and judgement and be fucking humble. You’re not actually more special than anyone else (no really, you’re not). Hold love in your heart and be like a silent benevolent force. Wanting to be seen is a clear indication of arrogance.

Dilution, suppression, repression.

More and more distance from some parts of myself that I’d deemed unacceptable and unworthy of a “spiritually aware” person (vomitsalittle).

There is no fucking box.

A giant part of my self-love journey has been gently letting the walls of that box come down. Opening up to the infinite possibilities of what I am and what I desire, with love and acceptance (no matter how bizarre).

Noticing that no matter how much healing I do, the unlived parts of myself will continue to cause me pain. So this is where I’m at on my journey; healing and spiritual deep-diving done (TBC obviously, but right now I’m pretty much up to date), radical self-expression being amped up.

And that box has gotta go.

An interesting thing I noticed is that most of us seem to have a propensity for creating boxes for ourselves; as though that somehow gave us some measure of stability, or continuation, of peace even. I notice that as soon as I do it with myself (labels of any kind), my energy drops. Most of us rebel against being labelled and put in boxes, but the somewhat appalling fact is that we do it to ourselves all the time.

Happily, there’s a simple solution.

  1. Notice the confines of the box
  2. Let down the walls like opening one of those paper boxes we made when we were kids. Gently and with love. Set yourself free.

You might find it feels a bit raw, vulnerable and scary letting go of something you’ve considered part of your identity. But it’s the first big step towards radical freedom. All you have to do is decide to see that the box isn’t real and realise that you can move in any direction.

The only difference between me now and who I was a few years ago is that I not only am aware that the box isn’t actually there, but I keep taking steps outside of it (the shadowy walls are still there in some cases). And of course when I’m tired or premenstrual or thinner-skinned for whatever reason I sometimes slip into habits that align with the box, and that’s fine. But even when that happens, as it’s happening, I know I have choice, and I know tomorrow I’ll step out of the box again.

“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”

I read that quote of Jean-Jacques Rousseau at school but I didn’t understand back then that it is OUR OWN THINKING that keeps us in chains – I thought is was the world, society, culture, men.

Bullshit.*

The only thing stopping you from living and doing exactly as you please is your own illusional thinking.

There is no box.

There is no box.

There is no box.

//

*Mostly bullshit. Obviously we’re very privileged in the West in the sense that we do have more freedom from limiting external factors than in many other places in the world (especially as women).

 

4 thoughts on “There is no fucking box

  1. Hey Steph, It felt good to read your article today. I totally get that sunken feeling also when I put myself in a box, but I wasn’t that aware of the process, so thank you for clarifying it so dam clearly! You’re amazing. LOVE x

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