Boxes are good for a lot of things. Fruit Loops comes in a box. So do diamond rings. Boxes come in handy when you have to move. But living in one? Not so much.
Life is comfortable inside the box. Society wants us to live inside the box. We must colour inside the lines. White Picket Fences. Safe squares of conformity. Living our life inside the constraints of the box is safe. It’s comfortable. It’s the norm. Living outside the box? Now that my friend can be downright scary! And thrilling. And exhilarating. And exhausting. And so very worth it.
Invisible boxes are everywhere. They’re in the sensible job you hate. The stale relationship. The dreams put on hold. They keep us from trying something new. “I can’t do that!” “I’m too old.” “I’m too fat.” “I’m too ugly.” Or, “I can’t do it that way, it’s always been done this way.” “I can’t learn anything new.” “People will laugh at me.” “It’s for young people.”
I deal with boxes all the time as a musician. I’m older than I’m supposed to be, I’ve got meat on my bones and I don’t stick to one musical genre - my music is rather eclectic. I couldn’t care less anymore. That's who I am. Whatever you do “Don’t fence me in.” I know what I’m supposed to do and I’m doing it. I used to live inside a box. A very tiny box. A box chalk full of fear. I could barely breathe it was so tiny. But no more.
I recently did a cover of Folsom Prison Blues. I love singing that tune. Its unexpected. Its fun. Its totally me. “But its Folsom Prison Blues!” Yeah, I know. So? I love my version of that song. It’s a great song! I remember listening to it with my dad when I was a youngin’. I sang it with deep respect for Johnny Cash.
I’ve had old country players tell me how much they love my take on it. They said I made it my own. What a great compliment. I’ve also been told to leave it alone. It’s a boy song and should stay that way. Boxes. And yet creativity thrives on space. Creativity must be free to well … create. And yet we cant’ help ourselves wanting to gather everything up into neat tidy piles.
Since I began living my life outside of the box I’ve failed. I’ve fallen. I’ve made massive mistakes. But I’ve succeeded too. And had moments of awe. It’s been thrilling, exhilarating and exhausting. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Staying in the box is safe, but nothing new comes from staying there. Sometimes the box is drawn by Society. Sometimes the box is created by our own fears. Either way its just a box. A box that is easily toppled over.
So what's keeping you inside your box? I'll tel you. Only you. I encourage you to try that thing you've always wanted to try. Take that class. Learn that language. Hike that mountain. Write that story. Sing that song. And when the naysayers come and tell you "You shouldn't do that!" You can say,
"Thank you, but Yes! I can!"
Come on! Join us! There’s plenty of room!