Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Outside of My Box

I have always played with the idea of posting my thoughts and experiences on the web. Instead, I would tend to lock all of those things up in what I considered to be a safe place. Yet, with the encouragement of my new friend Natasha of and some extremely profound podcasts from The Black Women's Round Table of, I decided to give blogging a chance.

Now, I don't claim to be as clever and thought provoking as Natasha; nor do I claim to be as educated and well-versed as Gina from Whataboutourdaughters. However, I do claim to have a voice. It is my hope that this voice will be encouraging, inspiring and at times a little convicting. I, like most women, am a woman with experiences, life questions and life lessons. I plan to make these things available to be used as a compass, gauge or even a key that might be used to unlock a closed mind. Bear with me as I work my way into the driver's seat of this blog. This is completely new to me; but it is essential to my venture outside of my box. .

In my day to day living, I have noticed that I am constantly in the space of people that are living what I consider to be unfulfilled lives. There is so much talent wasted and trapped inside of personalized boxes that are carried to businesses 8 hours per day. I can't help but wonder what this world would look like if more people lived fearlessly and actively sought to fulfill their dreams and purposes. This topic is so broad that it would be impossible for me to cover it in its entirety. But, I would like to attempt to scratch the surface of "boxed" living and hopefully ignite something in someone to abandon it.

To truly understand the importance of stepping outside of a "box", we should probably first examine the effects of living in one. When packing a box with an item, we usually seek one that will comfortably fit it with little or no extra room. In fact, if we discover that there is spare room, we will take extra measures to find useless material and stuff the box with it. We will continue to stuff that box until the main object in it is immovable. After being satisfied with the security of the packed item, we close the box and seal it.

Unfortunately, there are many of us living our day to day lives in this exact state. Consider the conditions of the box's interior. Such conditions are detrimental to the growth of anything. The darkness limits our ability to see beyond our current circumstances. It distorts our perception into believing that the only tools accessible to us are the useless pieces of material that we used to stuff our cramped surroundings. Such materials could be easily recognized as fear, hopelessness, self-doubt, and self-pity. Other materials can be viewed as wasted ideas, untouched goals and unused solutions. Like shredded newspapers and bubble wrap, these things can render one paralyzed. At this moment, you may be wondering "If the living conditions of a box are that poor, why do we choose to reside in them?" The answer, in my opinion, is simple. It feels safe.

We often use boxes to contain, hide and/or store items that we do not want to throw away. Why do we not want to throw them away? Because, somewhere deep inside, we still see the value in them. Have you ever been on a quest to clean out your garage and happened upon a box full of items that you simply could not get rid of? You would probably stare at it and try to determine exactly WHY you still had it. After what would seem like an eternity, I'm guessing that more often than not, you would return it to its original spot and move on. Here is my question: Is the item any more useful to you in the box than it would be in the trash?

Let me attempt to be a little transparent for a moment. I will confess that although I have stepped out of my box, I have not strayed too far from it. Now, I am not one to boast, but I consider myself to be full of potential. I have many developed and undeveloped talents and gifts. But, someone close to me once said that unused "potential" is worthless. He went on to say that he would accept a hard-worker over someone that is full of "potential" any day. To me, this statement was simple; yet profound.

The longer I sat inside of my box, the more I witnessed my skills, abilities and "potential" go to waste. The more I witnessed them go to waste, the more my confidence declined. The more my confidence declined the more I settled. Why is it possible for us to be so content with watching our dreams deteriorate? Is it really more comforting to settle for less than it is to take a risk and achieve dreams and/or a purpose? Ok, I will speak for myself and answer this question with a shameful, yet resounding "YES!" But something happened in 2007. I got tired of my situation. I got tired of being the victim of the circumstances that I ultimately chose or created.

When the discomfort of sitting in a box becomes greater than the unconfirmed discomfort that MAY be awaiting you on the outside, movement will be made. You'll begin to recognize the needless things that you have packed into your life and slowly begin to dislodge yourself. This can be a slow and painful process because you must first take a true look at everything in your box, determine whether or not it is serving as a help or hindrance to your purpose and remove all unnecessary and harmful materials. However, hold onto those untouched goals. You will later find great value in them.

Once you have completed this process, take a moment to allow yourself to dream. Visualize yourself living the way you want to live. Don't place any limits on this vision. It doesn't cost to dream, so take it all the way. Remember your dream; don't lose it. You are going to need it to fuel your courage later.

After the dream has been developed, you are going to need a plan. The key here (in my unprofessional opinion) is to create your plan in small achievable pieces. The quickest way to find yourself back in your box is to attempt to take on too much too soon. Create a plan that will provide flexibility and will allow you to take your time. Attach small goals and realistic target dates to your plan. Remember, as long as there is progress, there is victory.

OK! Here's the tough part. Stand up. Take a deep breath and inhale a spirit of commitment. Be committed to yourself and your dream. Remind yourself that you are worth it. Now, one foot at a time, step out of the box and work your plan.

Yes, this can be intimidating because your new surroundings will no longer be filled with the familiar. But, if you give yourself a real chance, you are bound to embrace a new sense of empowerment, freedom and adventure. Although my box is still within reach, each of my small victories gives me the courage to step further away. I have made the commitment to myself. I want to know how far I can go. I have decided that I deserve it. I have not only made it my mission to step outside of my box, but it is my commitment to take up residency there. If you are living comfortably inside of your box, I am extending you a sincere invitation. Please, join me.

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The Diary of a Shy Black Woman said...

Thank you for sharing this!!!

A Voice From the Battlefield said...

Absolutely! And thank you for stopping by :)