One of my favorite movies is Boxtrolls. It is a magical stop-motion original story that aside from completely brilliant costumes has a truly heartwarming message. Everyone should totally go and watch the movie, and also all the documentaries about how it was made. One of the beautiful moments in the film is when Boxtroll eggs is confronted by human girl Winnie that he doesn’t look much like a Boxtroll. Boxtroll eggs is offended and goes on to explain that actually, he is simply having some rare decease and speech-impairment that makes him look and sound like a boy. The scene is truly beautiful and an example of how other peoples views on our way of living can kind of shake our foundations. Not because they say completely new things, but because they formulate the things that are in the back of our minds clearly, and not so subtlely.
That brings me to the second reason why this post is called boxes. A while ago I was explaining someone how starting something new, and feeling comfortable doing it always kind of messes me up. And at some point, he said: “You know, the way you explain it just sounds that you have so many boxes to fit in everything you feel and experience- but maybe you should just- let it be.”(hope I paraphrase correctly). But it was quite a correct observation of what was going on. When I am insecure about something, or overwhelmed, or just stressed I make it my mission to file these feelings and happenings under some kind of label. These labels range from ‘this is ok’ or ‘this is not ok’ to ‘this is normal’ and ‘this is just part of life’ and ‘you can do this but not that’ and ‘things you can better not want’. It is rather energy consuming, but it seems easier than to just let everything happen and feel things without crystallization. These lables aren’t even things to better understand myself, but rather rules I impose unto myself, or that I use trying to make sure the new experience fits in with my pre-existing idea about what the world is, what it should be and what is impossible.
These days I try to pray for things I don’t believe are possible. Not because I want or need I miracles necessaryy, or because I feel that my faith is not enough, but because I believe I can learn so much about myself by experiencing the things I thought could not happen. The things I do or don’t believe are what make up the boxes I get so stuck in. And that brings me to the third reference in the title ‘Hokjes vakjes’ – ‘spaces, boxes’- although ‘spaces and boxes’ sounds way more spacious than ‘hokjes vakjes’ does in dutch. ‘Hokjes vakjes’ is the start of a refrain in an Elly & Rikkert song prevalent in my childhood: ‘Hokjes vakjes, we stoppen iedereen in hokjes vakjes, als ze anders zijn dan wij’. The song, with different relatable ‘case studies’ illustrates how we are often eager to reduce something to a box, a space, or blokjes, plakjes – cubes and slices. We cut things into pieces in order to reduce them to something we have power over. Something bite size things that we can swallow hole.
These days I hope to not be so eager to cut all my experiences into bite size portions that help me to swallow it, but rather I hope to honor these things, to look at them, to taste it, and to share this meals with the ones around me.