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Quinn
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« on: January 08, 2014, 09:38:47 PM »

The subject of the societal boxes seems to come up regularly here, and it got me thinking. My thought went off in two directions. Ill explain one train of thought at a time, and then hope to hear some other viewpoints.  Some people like to think they are nonconformists and dont fit in the box. From what Ive seen they have a different box. Ill give an example. A number of years ago, I had a teenage foster son who was hell bent staying out of the box, with being a nonconformist. He had long hair when it wasnt fashionable, dyed some locks blue, wore black nail polish, had large tattoos and  some piercings, and wore only black clothes. When he had friends over, I noticed they looked the same. And if one of them deviated by being too clean cut in any way, they made fun of him for conforming. In my opinion, they were simply conforming to a different groups box. Of course, I wasnt too popular when I expressed that opinion.

Sometimes it seems on CdM, were supposed to be polyamorous, have certain standards of attractiveness by wearing make-up, having a personal shopper to find our best look, and wearing sexy lingerie (females). We should be very sexually adventurous. Is this a box set up by a different group? I think it may be. Its a non-mainstream group, yes, but a group all the same. When I look at people I know, theres only one I know of who makes no effort to conform to anyone elses expectations. (And its not me). He is true to himself, without caring what anyone else thinks.

My second train of thought is that we may judge people by saying they are in the box, as if Its a bad thing. It is, for someone who doesnt want to be there and doesnt have the courage to get out. But some people are quite happy there, and thats their right. That doesnt make them bad people.

There are also people who seem to be in a certain box, but really arent. How many of we women who see companions have normal jobs and lives? How many would be afraid to tell others they see companions? Wed be amazed to find out how many people keep secrets. Its a way of doing what they want without being condemned. And, many of those who are open about alternative lifestyles still strive to fit in with others who live the same lifestyle.

The more I think about boxes, the more complex the subject seems. People are complicated and society is complicated, and that makes it hard to analyze the subject of boxes. Other thoughts?
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Maxime Durocher
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 06:51:45 PM »

Personally, I hate being in a box (it's no shocker at this point, I'm sure), and I also hate those who force people into boxes. However, those who choose to be in a box can do as they want.

Sometime, I find myself in a box, a place I chose to be (example, I love having threesomes with two bisexual women, a fantasy shared by many men), and I'm fine with that because it's a choice. Nonetheless it's a rare occasion, most of the time, I can't fit anywhere, and it was a big problem for most of my life. I had to accept that.

I think you can't fit in any box if you keep your mind open because if you find something interesting it can change your mind. If you change your mind, you defeat the box.

The way I see it, the box is a metaphor for a close-minded setting, something you cannot or won't deviate from.
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 03:55:59 PM »

I think you dont have to live outside the box to think outside the box. If people are fulfilled and happy in a certain framework, most likely they will not feel the need to change the way they live. Yet, they can still be open-minded people, which to me means accepting differences without judgement, not necessarily trying them out or deviating from what works for them.
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Quinn
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 05:03:25 PM »

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GA:I think you dont have to live outside the box to think outside the box.

I agree. It's hard for me to say that someone else lives in the box because I don't know what's in their mind and what secrets they keep. I'll use myself as an example. Anyone on this forum who met me in 'real life' would probably think I live in a box. I am very private and share only with the people closest to me. My career was definitely an 'in the box' career. But I chose never to marry, which is out of the box. I had an affair with a married man when I was in my 30's. And now I see a companion. I have many other secrets I don't share.

I think many of the men who are companions might appear to live in the box in terms of their day jobs and what they tell others. When we only know people casually, we aren't qualified to say someone else is trapped in a box.

As I thought more about this, I wondered what are the boxes society expects people to fit into. Is it to graduate from high school, earn a college degree, get on the career fast track, marry, buy a house, and have 2 children?  Is it to take a blue collar job right out of high school, marry and have 4 kids, and spend weekends as a sports fan? I'm not so sure because there are lots of boxes to choose from. In fact, I even think the 'I don't fit in anywhere' may be a box. There are lots of people who feel that way, and they want others to see them that way. If they feel bad about not fitting in, it's probably not a box, but if they're proud of it, it may be. Ultimately, though, the only one who can really say if a given person is in a box, is that person. We are the only ones who know what is going on in our own minds - whether or not we have that open mindedness and how willing we are to try new things throughout life. 
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g.a.
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 08:53:36 AM »

As I thought more about this, I wondered what are the boxes society expects people to fit into. Is it to graduate from high school, earn a college degree, get on the career fast track, marry, buy a house, and have 2 children?  Is it to take a blue collar job right out of high school, marry and have 4 kids, and spend weekends as a sports fan? I'm not so sure because there are lots of boxes to choose from.  

This reminded me that you can fit in one part of the world and not in another, and the concept of what is in or outside the box changes over time too. For example one hundred and fifty years ago a woman wearing pants, wanting to study and have her own job would have been considered outside the box, to say the least. Nowadays there is nothing unconventional about this - but not in all parts of the world.

I suppose outside the box means you dont let yourself be constricted by these societal expectations. I think any choice is good as long as you are happy with it and dont force it onto others.
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Rhett DAngelo
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 01:27:10 PM »

To me, living a life out of boxes requires one giant leap: honesty.

Say what you want fearlessly. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you won't. Of course you expose yourself to judgements to the people you are honest to. "Oh, he's THAT kind of guy..." but who cares!?

That would be step two: acceptance.

This reminds me of a conversation I heard in the shuttle bus to my hotel. A woman sitting behind me was talking on her phone and complaining that "some old guy" asked her if she would switch seats to sit by his "old-ass wife." She said no and was offended he'd even ask. In this conversation, she begged the person on the other end to tell her some secret. After a few quiet moments of listening, she responded, "Yeah, you're right. I can't keep a secret."

I was sitting there thinking, "What a horrible person! How does she have any friends to even have this conversation with?" ...and believe me, this conversation got worse and worse as we sat in traffic.

But there you have it: she was completely honest about her antisocial actions and wasn't afraid of what that meant about her. People accepted her in her life because they knew they could at least trust her to be unpleasant.

Trust is an impossible thing nowadays! Being trustworthy to be lousy is better than expecting people to trust that you will act in a way that you see yourself as (and not how you actually are).

It takes a lot to know and accept yourself, but once your there and truly loving yourself there, you can get away with murder amongst your friends because they already KNOW this about you. You can fit into all parts of your world and be both inside and outside of boxes as long as you feel comfortable in your own skin.
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Quinn
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 01:50:15 PM »

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Rhett: But there you have it: she was completely honest about her antisocial actions and wasn't afraid of what that meant about her. People accepted her in her life because they knew they could at least trust her to be unpleasant.

This doesn't always work out. I immediately thought of a family member. He is honest about who he is, but part of that is that he is arrogant and thinks he's perfect. He criticizes everyone else because they don't measure up to him in his mind. I don't know of a single person who genuinely likes the man. Sure, people talk to him and are pleasant to him - it's just easier that way because he has the ability to make life miserable for others. I find myself wondering if the woman on the bus was in a similar situation. If someone's true self is a dishonest, secret-revealing, obnoxious jerk ... well, we can try not to judge, but I'll stay as far away as I can.
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Kat O'9Tales
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 06:56:59 PM »

I, too, try to avoid people who tend to belittle and humiliate. Sadly, the world seems to be in a grumpy place right now.

I don't think in terms of boxes, I think in terms of labels. If I take a look at my labels, I find that I have much in common with others who share similar labels. For example, I'm human and I'm a woman. Beyond that, I'm a daughter, wife, mother, employee, and someone who spends far too much time commuting. I'm a reader, knitter, paper crafter, explorer of ideas, admirer of beauty. I'm a nerd, a goof ball, and a I love to laugh. There are labels that don't fit me, for example, bully, athlete, or rocket scientist, or bigot.

Should I have a strong emotional reaction to a label someone wants to slap onto me, then it generally means that there's something that I need to explore or perhaps reconcile within myself. That said, I resent it when people use sweeping generalizations or assign blame to a labeled group to which I belong - parents, for example. Yes, there are bad parents out there; but so are there great parents out there and parents who are doing the very best they can given their life's circumstances. So do I get royally pissed when I hear that the reason that our children are such awful, hateful little creatures is because of parents? You bet I do!

There comes a point when these labels no longer unify us, but go to great lengths to divide us or worse, give some ammunition to belittle others. That's sad. Sad for those who are being targeted and sad for the people who live lives of fear; therefore, those sad people must humiliate others to make themselves feel better.

Great topic, Quinn. I'm glad you've brought it up and I'm excited that's it's gotten so many responses!

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NoGNoG
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 08:44:30 PM »

To me, living a life out of boxes requires one giant leap: honesty.

Say what you want fearlessly. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you won't. Of course you expose yourself to judgements to the people you are honest to. "Oh, he's THAT kind of guy..." but who cares!?

That would be step two: acceptance.

It takes a lot to know and accept yourself, but once your there and truly loving yourself there, you can get away with murder amongst your friends because they already KNOW this about you. You can fit into all parts of your world and be both inside and outside of boxes as long as you feel comfortable in your own skin.

There is no truer statements then the ones above.  Thank you, Rhett.

Boxes or labels?  Kat is correct, doesn't matter what you want to call it.  Living in the late 60-s through the 70's was a time when we looked at Society in the face and flipped it off.  Whatever you were and whatever you did, no one cared as long as whoever didn't want to be involved was not pressured to join in.  It was live and let live.  Time and time again I was in a space where wild things were going on.  I could join in or not.  No pressure, no judgement.  I find this attitude to still be in my social group.   

To this day, when I have people over and when they say, "Time for us to leave."  I am immediately up getting coats, purses. I am heading for the door to say good-bye as they head out the door.  How many times do you go somewhere and there is inevitably a person who says, "Where are you going? Oh you can stay a little bit longer."  This can be in a home or a bar. 

When did this change?  I believe it was when AIDS came into our world.  Judgement bloomed again.  Does anyone else have an idea of when judgement bloomed again?

Thank you, Quinn. Great topic.
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Kat O'9Tales
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2014, 08:52:53 PM »

I think you're spot on, NoGNog - judgement did bloom again and it seems to coinside with the AIDS entrance into the world.

I'm so done with judgement, fear mongers, and all that rot.
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Maxime Durocher
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 11:33:30 AM »

I suppose outside the box means you dont let yourself be constricted by these societal expectations.

My thoughts exactly.
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2014, 05:58:20 PM »

It seems you are thinking a little to much.

We all have our tendencies to drift  toward people that make you feel at ease and that you can trust.
I can see it extending to Groups of people whom Identify with one or 2 causes. "common interests"
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 04:31:35 PM »

Oh yes, this box (think inside /outside the box" idea still crops up among people. How high the box, how wide? How many boxes? It's a vague way for some one to think they can get a handle on you. Very common. It's another consequence of an over socially re-engineered society where the "planners" did not have an out come - just throw these ideas at the wall and see what sticks.

Nog, keep on flipping.  ^-^
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