The Box

Why do I wait to write? What stifles the compulsion so successfully that I avoid putting pen to paper so often? Why do I hide the key that opens the box inside that I know holds all my truths, my unique voice and my capacity to share it with the world?
vintage key and treasure box
I have a box, and I’ve known about it for some time. I suppose not everyone knows they have one, but we do. I am sure of it. Sometimes I open it up and let a few things out onto paper, letting these truths breathe and develop but then I do the most terrible of things. I carefully tuck them back into the box, close the lid and lock it all up.

Lately, my box is beginning to feel very crowded. I feel numb with the overload and am having trouble putting pen to paper, as it were, and fear that if I do not do something soon, my box may explode and with it, all my carefully developed and protected words will float up into the air like ticket-tape and be lost to the winds forever.

How is it that fear can wrap itself around me so quickly that I am not aware of its strangle hold until it’s nearly too late? Like an anaconda, it seems to move slowly, mesmerising me and hypnotising me into servitude to its will. Suddenly I am no more capable of releasing my words than I am of changing the colour of my skin. It has won another round and succeeded in keeping my treasured truths from the ears and eyes of the world.

I move day after day, in this state of hypnotised thinking, and convince myself that every other pursuit on my list is vitally more significant than what I have known since early childhood was my one thing to do for the world. I can, in this state, even write thousands of words for anyone or anything, as long as it does not touch the core of my own truth.

Under the guise of ‘making a living’ I wrap myself up in my need to pay bills, feed my family and live a comfortable life and let the muscular snakelike body of Fear squeeze the motivation from my soul and use it for these reasonable needs instead of freeing the voice that lives within like Rapunzel in her tower.

Sometimes I ask myself questions. I ask for answers that I already know.  I know the truth of who I am and I know what my writing looks and feels like when I am revealing the contents of my safely guarded box. It’s like honey, so viscous and pure. It looks like mercury as it pours out: freed from my soul it covers me, protecting me and feeding the dry bones that have become brittle from too much exposure to Fear.

And so, I let it free. And I write. Sometimes for hours. Like a steam train it picks up speed, hurtling toward the finish with reckless abandon and all my words glisten with the exhilarating sweat of being set free.

So why is this stuff still sitting on the shelf?

Why I am still stuck?

I have written thousands and thousands of words.  I am wordy by nature and my brain seems completely wired to tell things in detail, to not only jump in the pool and exclaim it is nice, but to describe the ebb and flow of the liquid surrounding my now weightless body.

So why do I wait?

I am afraid.

I know the voice of Fear. It has been my unwelcome companion for more years than I can remember and has succeeded so far to keep me silent. But as I force my eyes open, and struggle free from its hypnotic gaze, I see that perhaps, with my box so full, my words are finding ways to store themselves inside my very being, under my skin even, and soon, there will be no choice but to release them, or die from the suffocating squeeze of Fear, always wondering what would happen if I opened the floodgates and tossed the key.

A life lived wondering over lost dreams is more powerful a motivator now than Fear ever can be.  It is I therefore, who am this box, and the only thing stopping me from moving forward and writing freely, is the key I hold in my hand. Only I stop the flow of  being true to the voice that I have carefully locked away.

Now that I recognise Fear, now that I feel these life-breathing words rippling under my skin, forcing their way to the surface of my fingertips, I have little choice but to release them.

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