Living In That Box

I remember words from August of 2010.
Words spoken by a friend.
As he tried so very hard
To explain to me
How things were,
And why people behaved
The way they did.

“They’re private people, Mark.
They don’t show what they’re feeling.
They don’t talk about such things.
They just do their work.”

I didn’t understand his words.
They left me confused
And lost.
Without a shred of understanding
Of how people are.
Of how they behave.

I remember words from September of 2010.
Spoken by another friend.
He knew what would happen to me.
He saw it coming.
Tried to warn me.

“I know working here sucks.
But you have to behave.
Be like they want you to be.
‘Cause they’ll get rid of you.
Doesn’t matter how good you are.
If you don’t fit in.
They’ll get rid of you.”

I didn’t understand his words.
They made no sense to me.
Fit in.
Behave.
How could people be
Someone they are not?

I remember words I spoke
To her.
The Lenten Rose.
On the last day I worked
In the job
I used to have.

October 6th.
2010.

“They’re all broken,
Aren’t they?
Every one of them.”

I remember how she smiled.
I remember how she nodded.
“Yes.”
Was all she said.

I never returned
To that land of work.

I remember words
My boss spoke to me.
When he expressed his frustration
In dealing with me.
It was his way of saying
That I had to learn
To live inside the box.

“But you can’t be that way,
Mark.”

I could have tried to say something.
To explain to him.
That I can’t be any other way.
That I can’t fit
Back in that box.

But I knew
He wouldn’t understand.
So I didn’t try.
I let him believe
What he wanted to.
‘Cause I knew
All he saw
Was inside the bounds
Of that box.
And in his eyes
There is not other way
To be.

I remember several months.
In 2011.
Starting with May 1st,
And Ending in October.

I tried to go to church.
I did.
I tried to find a place
Where I could fit in.
Where I could feel
Like I belonged.

At that church I found
An old friend.
One I hadn’t seen in decades.
It was great to see her
Once again.

But as time went by
I ran into the same thing
I’d run into
In the land of work.

I did things differently.
Reacted differently.
Felt differently.
About almost everything.
About the word of God.
About the way things are.
About how people
Should behave.

And I saw once again,
How very broken deep inside
Almost everyone there was.

This time I didn’t wait
To be pushed away.
This time
I walked away
All on my own.

I’ve written many times
Since then.
About how I pray for them.
The people I once knew.
I’ve spoken with my doctor
Week after week.
For months on end.
About what I see
When I think of them.

They live inside a box.
A single box.
That defines how life
Should be.
And never step outside that box.
For any reason.

It’s very much as if
Outside the box is where
All the monsters live.
And if you leave the box
You’ll get eaten.
You’ll be some monsters
Lunch.

And I’m outside their box.
Outside their way of life.
I see things differently.
Which bothers them
A lot.

So here I am
Outside their box.
Wishing they could understand
How I care for them.
How I wish them well.
How I wish they would wake up and see
The scares upon their hearts.
The chains upon their souls.

But I know.
I’ve learned.
Through time.
And pain.
They don’t see things
As I do.

To them.
I’m wrong.
I’m dangerous.
Hell,
I’m a spawn of Satan,
Don’t you know.

Their world is all there is.
And that works for them.
And in their world,
Inside that box.
Everything’s OK.
There’s nothing wrong
With them.

They don’t even understand,
And they don’t see at all.
How broken and afraid
They really are.

All they know is
That they have to stay
Inside the box.
Where it’s safe.

God,
How I pray for them.

I will never fit
Inside the box
That they live in.
I will never be
Like them.
Never do things
In their way.

But I won’t judge
A single soul
That lives inside the box.
How could I?
When just two years ago
I lived inside the box
With them?
And just like them
I didn’t know,
And couldn’t see
How hurt and broken
I’d become.

Living in that box.

But I woke up.
Came back to life.
And stepped outside the box.

Now that I can see
The way things are
Inside that box.
I know this simple truth.
There is nothing I want.
Nothing left for me.
No reason at all
For me to stay

Living in that box.

I’m free.

And I like being that way.

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