This Dark Box

A metaphor for fear & depression

Aabye-Gayle F.


A dark photo of several boxes of different shapes and sizes.
Photo by Esther Jiao on Unsplash.

Her prison is small, but to her looks limitless. She has tried to dream dreams and plot escapes to get out, but with disuse her tools have been misplaced, decayed, or rusted out. Each link in the shackles that bind her was forged in fear and hardened with doubt. And so, resigned to make this dark box her home, she has tried to make it more habitable. She has decorated it with cozy concessions, hung hesitations and second-guesses upon the walls, planted pretty practicals in the yard, and painted the whole exterior an unassuming shade of doubt.

She lowers her head and lives a minute and unassuming life. She’s just too afraid to wield her weapon and fight. It lies in the corner losing its luster, collecting dust and ambivalence. The ideas and dreams that once sparkled and gleamed with newness and potential are becoming dull and coated with cobwebs. She is stuck in the quicksand of self-criticism. She is sinking in the mires of regret and self-condemnation. She longs to be noticed and wants to be heard, but she’s too riddled with insecurity to show her true self or speak up.

Once upon a time her fears were just fleeting anxieties — flitting and fluttering in and out of her mind like impish fairies. Now those fears have grown into giants — big brutes that routinely assail her walls of confidence, storm her creative castle, and mock its contents.

It has been so long since she’s ventured out on a limb that she’s forgotten how well one can live on a dream and a whim. Didn’t she used to be big and uncontained? Didn’t she used to run and sing — dance and speak — live and think with impunity — unhindered by shame? In her bolder days, nothing could hold her back, or down, or in.

Recalling those freer days, she walks distracted down her memory’s lane. Forgetting to watch her step and limit her stride, she steps on a small doubt and it dies. Emboldened, she progresses until that dark box is just the shadow of a speck on the horizon of her recollection. She may look back to see how far she’s come, but she will not turn back now that she’s moved on.

Her future is full of freedom not foreboding. She will not be paralyzed by panic, curtailed by criticism, or impeded by insecurity. She finds fear less terrifying now. Failure is a teacher, not a monster. She resides in love, laughter, and light. She is going to dream her dreams and live with life.

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