The World's a Box | Teen Ink

The World's a Box

September 26, 2009
By Xavier Leo BRONZE, Malden, Massachusetts
Xavier Leo BRONZE, Malden, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Contrary to popular belief, the human world is not round—it’s just a big box. Sorry Galileo. My humblest apologies Magellan. Australia, I don’t know how you handle hanging upside down like that. The world used to be round, back when there was freedom, back when there was still some value to individuality.
“I value individuality,” an indignant voice shouts from the crowd, faceless in the dim lights of the hall. “I’m an individual.” Of course he’s an individual, marked so clearly by his Hollister shirt, Abercrombie cologne, and Converse shoes. I can’t imagine how I missed that brilliant individuality, or, for that matter, the “individuals” on either side of him in parallel apparel.
As I was saying, we don’t live on a sphere, we live within a carefully constructed steel cube—a box. If you can’t fit in this box, if you so much as rub against its unyielding edges, you’d better get your hands on a space shuttle or prepare to be ground down till you slide in appropriately. Hardly anyone can get their hands on suitable space-craft these days, so it’s likely a personality-sandblast will be coming your way.
“It’s true,” says a sensible woman sitting in the first row, just off-center. “There’s so much pressure to—“ “Poor you,” Captain Individuality bellows coldly from a few seats back. “Yeah, poor you,” his mindless twins chirp mockingly. She’s startled to silence, and with expressions of self-satisfaction, the homogenous triplet of “individuals” know they’ve done their job. Order is restored.
I can’t stress enough my distaste for society’s hypocrisy. We say things like be yourself, or be all you can be, and we never mean it. We see someone who is unlike us and ostracize them for their (God forbid!) incongruities. As if hypocrisy wasn’t enough, it had to drag irony into the mix too.
No one is content to be so confined, and yet we try to contort ourselves to earn the respect of our peers. You have to be beautiful, you have to be a genius, you have to be involved, you have to be social, and you have to live in fear of who you might actually be. If everyone could focus on their own identity instead of playing a judgmental form of social Dominoes, instead of incessantly picking and being picked at, we’d live in a far more constructive world.
“Someone’s just mad they aren’t normal,” Captain Individuality chastises, guffawing heartily as if in triumph. If it’s normal to be so bland and ignorant, I’m happy to keep normal at a safe distance.
The audience jeers in robotic unison, and I look at that woman in the center row. She too laughs. She laughs with bright, fiery eyes and sagaciously upturned lips, not at me, but at them.
The audience jeers, but there’s only one person on this stage.

The author's comments:
Be an individual.

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This article has 7 comments.

on Aug. 5 2011 at 7:46 pm
bEllAhOPe BRONZE, Houston, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Flying is simple... you just throw yourself at the ground and miss.\"

I enjoyed reading this. The message is complex, yet you wrote it in such a smooth manner. I am impressed. Kudos.

on Apr. 17 2011 at 8:22 pm
JoPepper PLATINUM, Annandale, Virginia
35 articles 0 photos 782 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Freedom is the ability to not care what the other person thinks."

"Not all those who wander are lost" --JRR Tolkien

"When you are listening to music it is better to cover your eyes than your ears." --Jose' Bergamin

You're so right, we should be trying to stand out more. Ecspecially me. Yeah we're all hypocrites. :p 

on Mar. 4 2011 at 10:38 pm
SpringRayyn PLATINUM, Lakeville, Minnesota
34 articles 2 photos 658 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't punish yourself," she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness too. That was writing."
--Markus Zusak, "The Book Thief"

I liked how you used an audience in this thingy. But I would like to protest against the converse shoes thing. I wear converse because they're comfy and I like them myself. otherwise I don't wear name brand stuff. And also I draw on my shoes. :)

on Feb. 10 2011 at 10:05 am
CassidyMarturana BRONZE, Califon, New Jersey
1 article 4 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn't about just waiting out the storm. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

This was great! Funny and unique (well, of course, it was unique, but still...) Too true also; I'd really like to be myself and all, but if I tried, I'd quite possibly be crucified.

on Apr. 20 2010 at 4:17 pm
songofheaven BRONZE, East Amherst, New York
2 articles 2 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
I have found power in the mysteries of thought. -Euripides

Perfect. I think this really describes a lot of Middle and High Schools. It's as if everyone's staring at you. I'd like to come in to school for a day in a Zeppelin t-shirt you namely see on guys, and see what people say. I think it'd be really interesting to see how they'd try to make me feel bad.

on Nov. 1 2009 at 8:47 pm
Xavier Leo BRONZE, Malden, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I know this is a little late, but thanks! :D

ohhkar said...
on Oct. 30 2009 at 3:34 pm
(: i love this.