Monday, December 7, 2009


In hindsight, I think I may have been a little overexcited for the season's first snow. Sure, it's beautiful to see the outdoors blanketed white, but I certainly underestimated the accompanying cold. Furthermore, I've realized that under normal circumstances, snow is especially refreshing because it provides a wonderfully good reason to stay inside and sink into a sea of covers. I, on the other hand, need no such excuse, as such is my daily existence, so unless I become particularly motivated to go outside and roll around in it, the snow has brought me only marginal satisfaction.

Nevertheless, I refuse to lose appreciation for those few things in which I find beauty. Being isolated, or sheltered, from the outside world makes it easy to forget what's out there. I don't want to forget that good things do exist, and that I may still find them, though I'm so jaded and discouraged by life's injustice.

When I was little, my mom and I used to make up bedtime stories. We thought we were pretty good at it, too. We said that one day, we'd go into business together writing children's books. I would do most of the writing (my mom always thought I was so creative), and she would do the illustrations. My mom is a very talented artist.

The main character in our stories was a boy named Bean-in-the-Box. Naturally, he was about my age, though I can't remember his real name, and he loved boxes. Bean-in-the-Box absolutely adored boxes. Cardboard boxes, wooden boxes, you name it, he wanted them. And by accumulating as many boxes as he could, Bean-in-the-Box was able to construct an enormous fort, or maze, that took up most of his bedroom. It had different levels where he could climb, and nooks in which he could hide, and every night Bean's dad would bring home a brand new box to add to the collection. Sure, Bean had a bed where he slept, I don't think anyone really wants to sleep in a box, but Bean-in-the-Box had a refuge; a secret world to which he could escape and not be bothered by anything or anyone.

Ironically, Bean-in-the-Box had a younger sister the same age as mine, with the same name, though I'm not sure she was allowed access into Bean's box world. What gets me, though, is the foresight Bean-in-the-Box had to know that he would always benefit from having a means of getting away from everything. He knew about trying to escape well before he ever knew the things that I know now. But he wasn't afraid of being alone, I'll give him that, and I have a suspicion he didn't find it hard to express the way he felt.

The trouble I saw with Bean-in-the-Box was that he may have been too complacent with his boxes. Sure, he was just a boy, but he needed to get out and pursue more adventure if he were ever really going to become a popular children's book character.

I keep coming back to this idea of escape; I can't seem to get away from it. I want so badly to step outside again, to try to be happy on my own terms, but I'm afraid I won't be able. I feel stuck, trapped, in this mold, and the longer I stay in it the harder I fear it will be to break free. Especially now, knowing so well how easily things break and how quickly they can disappear.

I know I can't hide in boxes, and I know that faithless can turn to faithful in an instant. I've fallen into something I'll never fully escape, through no fault of my own, but there's no place for fear.

Today, I'm jaded. Maybe tomorrow I'll be surprised.

1 comment:

  1. OK Bean-in-the-Box it is. What a wonderful story you and your amazing mother made. It's a good thing that you're not satisfied with this current fix you're in. It doesn't belong to you. When pain and illness pass they eventually dissappear and then you really can't quite remember what it's like. That's what I hope for you. Meantime, thanks for the enlargement of my world with your amazing writing, and for the introduction to box world.