Inside the Box

I’m sitting in history class in first period. The bell rings and the speaker booms for everyone to stand.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag . . .” As I recite the Pledge, I stare at the flag with thirteen stripes and fifty white stars and I notice. I notice a flag hanging nearby with a ring of thirteen stars. Behind the latter flag, a black box sat on top of the cabinet, pushed into the corner, hidden from interest and view. It was a boring black box, sitting there and collecting dust. But it got me thinking. That boring black box is just like our devil side. The side that is featured in movies as dark, sarcastic, and evil. As opposed to the angel side of white, purity and reason. That black box is left blocked and out-shined. That black box is shunned to hide behind a flag of colors and symbols. Behind something else with history, when no one knows its.

So you’re thinking, yeah duh. We want to be right. We want to be reasonable. We want to be smart. We don’t want to be what is in the black box. We don’t want to listen to our devil side. But how can you be smart if you don’t know something? If you don’t know what is in the box? To be smart is to know. To understand. To recognize the lines that connect the dots. But, you look at the lines, not the dots. When the lines are connected, who remembers the dots?

When teachers describe smart students, they talk about how these children connect the lesson to applications or real life situations. They see the path and method to get to the end. But do they put as much emphasis on the end result, or even the beginning? There are quotes about how the journey matters, not the destination. There are quotes about remembering who helped you along the way.

How does this relate to the black box? The black box is a symbol of the things we don’t think of, or won’t. It represents the ideas we take and lock away in a black or blue or green box to hide, to forget, to destroy. It includes the horrible past, the inevitable consequences, the causes and the effects. It represent how we are so focused on how, we forget what. We force ourselves as humans to think a way. We worry more about being accepted, following the road laid out before us. In our lives, we try to be the accepted flag with the accepted numbers of stars and accepted number of stripes and accepted colors. One flag. Fifty stars. Thirteen stripes. Three colors. Four sides. And we succeed. We teach our kids the rules. We live by the law, well most of us. We work to maintain peace. 

Do you know all those quotes on being the change, being different, going against the flow? What if we are circular shaped cookies and we are surrounded by other circular shaped cookies? Do we become square shaped to be different? What if all the cookies are rolling towards the trash and we don’t want to roll there? We try to fit the square mold of the cookie, when we have already been baked as circular shaped. We try to reverse a process when we forget that the end is the end.

Our personalities were made emotionally and mentally to be a way, affected by the factors in life including family, media, and friends. You can try to change it, but in the end, there is only so much you can do. You’re shy. You want friends. You talk to some people. You become friends. You are shy again. You want to participate more in school. You raise your hand at the beginning of the year. You gain the teacher’s attention. You lost the attention when you become quiet again. You lost the attention when you are just like everyone else and can’t answer the question asked. You lost the attention when you disappoint. But what if you can’t? Can’t be the kid who knows everything. Can’t be the kid who can read what the teacher wants. Can’t fill that awkward, tense silence. Because you were never the kid who did that. You were never the one who spoke. Never the one who impressed. The start is the same as the end. 

So it goes back the the black box. The box in the corner that you can’t reach; you didn’t notice. It’s the place within you that holds the things you are not. And it has to be there. To remind you, but not make you. To show you, but not give you. To be you, but not be you. It is a part of you and not. You made the box, it didn’t make you. You can’t be everything. You shouldn’t change everything. You don’t know everything. The most you can do is accept something.

Accept that you have limits.

Boundaries.

Accept that sometimes you can do only so much. Only so much. And move on. Move on from the matter. Move on from regretting how you acted. Move on to a new beginning. Move on to something you can do.

Something you will do.

‘Cause guess what? That black box? That black box is a speaker. It gives sounds to videos. It fills one of your senses. A sense.

To hear.

To hear what you didn’t want. To hear what you do want. To hear what you need. To hear what you don’t need. To hear so you can decide.

Decide what defines you. Decide what doesn’t. Decide what will change you. Decide what makes you, you.

And remember.

The destination does matter.

Out of fuel for now,

Thing Two//Jennifer U.

“We got nothing to prove.”

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