It was the beginning of the summer of 2002, my cousin Nate and I were hanging out at my apartment discussing our young lives. I do not quite remember how we came to the decision to claim a summer theme… but that is exactly what happened. And thus the season was dubbed the “Summer of Drama.”
We enlisted (and by “enlisted” I mean demanded) that another cousin and my brother join in the fun. Participants of the Summer of Drama were obligated to dramatize the romantic events of their life to the extreme. The 4 of us would write emails to journal our drama. The losers were contracted to buy the winner a Slurpee. (Except Rob, he had to buy the winner something really cool because he made way more money than us college students.)
We wrote out a contract. It ended with “Start the engines. Chocolate chip, honey dip, can I get a scoop!” We all signed in agreement.
So why in the hell would I, a person dedicated to staying away from all that may be viewed as dramatic, then turn to purposefully and wholeheartedly agree to participate in all that she normally despises, dodges, and disassociates from? At the time I believed that it was just amusing, later I realized the bigger picture that my subconscious knew all along.
I was living in a box. It was a really small box that someone else made and put me into. While I could have left at any time, the box was all that I knew and it did not feel safe to leave it. I decorated the box the way I wanted to and that was often disapproved of by the makers of the box… but I always kept it within the limits and so it was never strictly against the rules. That was as far as my rebellion would go. There were WAY too many questions that would arise if I left the box. But in the box… oh in the omnipotent box I had certainty. I “knew” things. I “knew” that if I did A and B… I would get C. I “knew” that because the box builders told me so.
Participating in the Summer of Drama was engaging in something out of my normal routine. To dramatize events in my life rather than bob and weave life experiences while downplaying anything that may actually make its way in. Peeking my head out of that box… just a little… maybe put a finger out to test the waters and see what happens.
Let’s be honest… I conjured up very little romantic drama that summer. I did join in on some activities that I may not have otherwise committed to for the sake of the theme, but I still thought I needed the safety of my shelter that I had known for so long. I returned my whole self to the box without truly testing anything out. Vulnerability was just way to scary. Although I had no idea that I feared anything at all.
I kept living in that box for YEARS. I would peek my head out here and there. But I always retreated back to the safety and “knowledge” of the box… where all is predictable and I have control. (It is hilarious to me now that I thought I had control.)
One day… like 7 years later… I placed my arm out of the box and just left it there. Oh my goodness! This was so much more comfortable. I could stretch out a little and it felt amazing. I was being judged by some, but sweet home Alabama the stretching out was AMAZING! I should have done this years ago! Kinks leaving my body. I felt more at ease. So then I stuck a leg out just to see how it would feel. Holy crap! The air is so much more crisp and lovely… stretching it out like Caramello!
It did not take long before I burst out of the box. I was not asking for input, I was not requesting permission. I had outgrown the box a long time ago… I was doing A and B for a really long time, and it didn't actually ever lead to C for me… I think I was in someone else’s box, someone who needed a box. And I was finally brave enough to leave it behind. I did not build myself a new container so I could have more room. I declared the Universe my “box”. The infinities are my safe haven. It may be scary, but scary does not mean bad or evil. Scary has led me to incredible experiences, surprising life lessons, and a mind-blowing relationship!
I do not belittle myself for living in the box for so long. I congratulate myself for making a decision for me...And then a million more decisions followed.
(And for those concerned about who won the Summer of Drama… I regret to inform you that I do not remember who won/lost the contest. But I can assure you that Nate is definitely winning at the Life of Drama. …… love you Nate! I think you deserve a Slurpee!)