It seems like there are boxes all around. They are not your average cardboard box. No these boxes are tall, large and can fit thousands of people in them. These boxes can not be seen from the outside. They can only be felt and identified when having a conversation with a person who is in one. The older I get the more that I realize that America is a country made out of boxes. But the thing about American boxes is that everyone is in denial that they are there. The majority are squeezed into one box or another and when confronted about these they demand that you come into the box with them or else you are derided, scorned and pushed outside. Americans love their boxes. They feel safe, purposeful and important inside. Greed and profit build these boxes. Anderson Cooper, Fox News and every other corporate entity builds these boxes. Fear builds these boxes. They build these boxes out of an intellectual rational, a logic and/or a philosophy that really means nothing outside of the box. Like prisoners who learn to love their jailers, Americans love their narrow-minded boxes.
I have been trying for so long to stay out of these boxes but man has got to eat and in America it is difficult to make money without choosing a box to squeeze within. In my effort to find an honest professions I have tried to comfortably fit myself into several different kinds of boxes but I have not been able to remain in them long. I start to have difficulty breathing and feel as if my soul is being diminished. So I make my way out of the box (which is not often a pleasurable experience because those who remain in the boxes are envious of your escape and will do what they can to block the doorway) and once I am out in fresh air my breathing is able to return to some semblance of normalcy. My soul begins to regrow and I feel relieved of all the angst that I felt when I was trapped inside the box. But then after a few days of living outside of the box a worry begins to grow in my mind. “What am I going to do with my life?” “How am I going to make money?” “How will I be able to have some kind of cultural legitimacy without a box to fit in?” All these questions and more get stronger day after day of living outside of the box and eventually I find myself checking out new boxes and investigating if there is room for me to move inside. The cycle is like that mythological snake that seems to continually be eating its own tail- such is American life.
A year ago I found my way into an academic box. I returned to graduate school (for the third time) in order to become a psychotherapist. What I did not take into consideration was that while in the academic box I was going to have to make a very tight squeeze into an even smaller, more rigidified box, which is the professional box. With all of my physical and mental muscle I am trying to keep one foot in the box and one outside of the box but this can be exhausting when existing halfway in a box that feels as if it demands total conformity. Currently I want to burn the box down but this is the genius aspect of institutionalized and organizational boxes. You can burn down these boxes but what happens in the end is that new boxes are immediately erected, the majority of people step back inside of them even more loyal to their boxes than before and you (the one who burned the box down) are no longer allowed inside and are left with a huge debt to pay. American boxes are self perpetuating systems that have mastered the art of abolishing authentic dissent.
When I go outside of my home all I see are boxes. I see people traveling in cars (which are a kind of box) from one box into another. American life is lived inside of boxes. Some boxes are certainly nicer and more spacious than others but still it is just a box. Now that I am 40 years of age and not wanting to live the rest of my life impoverished and outside in the cold I am finding that my instinctual will to remain outside of any box is weakening. I am tolerating more criticism and negative energy from those who live in boxes when I remind them of the box they are in. I am beginning to put up with having less room to breathe in. As much as I am moving deeper and deeper into the box I refuse to stop pointing out the box that we are all standing in. I refuse to be quiet while blind obedience actually believes that its shit does not stink. This may make my life more difficult. It may land me on a sidewalk or in some blind alley living under an actual cardboard box. But I tell myself that the good thing about these cardboard boxes that homeless individuals live in is that people can actually see and acknowledge that they are there. These cardboard boxes are some of the last authentic objects left in America.