Life in Boxes


Throughout a person’s life, experiences and socialization shape their identity to encompass “who” they are. People are, by nature, impressionable and conformists; they have to be to survive in society. In the course of my own life, my identity was shaped by my nature, but it also consists of where and how I grew up, who I grew up with and all of my unique experiences along the way. While I would love to consider myself entirely independent and “different” from the status quo, I am self-aware enough to understand that I–like everyone else–fit neatly into a box somewhere.   

Unfortunately, I have learned in life that these boxes are not always so cut and dry, and many times, the boxes are rotting.   

To survive as humans, socialization to any degree is necessary. We must conform and choose the box in which we reside. This grouping may be natural, but it can also be toxic, especially in the age of such widespread communication.   

From cancel-culture to forced societal standards based on trends, people are micromanaged within their demographic and feel pressured to keep walking along a predetermined line. Non-conformity and deviation from those predetermined standards meet with hatred and judgment. Though we preach about the individual and unique attributes, we set a standard for complete assimilation and adherence to these “special” standards.   

We live in a toxic culture. It perpetuates itself through social media and the powerful minority that controls the platform. The constant gaslighting and rapid judgments within this “accepting” world create a narrative that we are moving forward toward peace and equity. In reality, we are proving Orwell right and falling into the trap of groupthink and blindly following the loud and powerful like naïve sheep.   

If society has not deemed an issue important enough, there will not be resources available to victims for help. If it is not widely publicized by the news and social media, then it was not important enough to matter; it never really happened. If the powerful minority that runs the social and political world does not think something is acceptable, then that aspect is immediately blacklisted, and those associated are targeted and punished.   

In some ways, through this extreme shift in the social dynamic, we have made progress with crucial issues. For example, the new standards for what is acceptable regarding race and gender are helpful and significant, but these new standards do not encompass all that needs to change. By ignoring other glaring issues to focus on specific things, we may focus more resources on pertinent issues, but it creates this precedent that the one or two focuses of society are the only focus period.   

Right now, birth control and women’s rights are being infringed upon by governments. This issue is getting more publicized, but it does not fit within the framework of what is “important” to this new, manufactured society. It might, in the future, become a focus; yet, the idea that it can only be a universal focus if social media and the loud and powerful leaders deem it so is concerning.   

I want all of us, within our various boxes, to be able to see all that goes on around us, despite the tall four walls of our boxes. We may need to stay in boxes for human nature’s sake, but we should be able to dismantle the rotting boxes and move to new ones when necessary. We may be made up of a universe of experiences and influenced by it all, but that means that we need to manipulate this controlled identity into something meaningful. We need to make sure that if we will be impacted by everything in life, the impact makes a positive difference rather than perpetuating a toxic culture.