// “you couldn’t tie me down to anything / and that’s enough for me.” //

{Or, why we should really stop trying to fit people into boxes.}


“I don’t do well if I’m kept behind / an office desk inside, it makes me lose my mind…”


“…which wanders endlessly, where all the birds fly freely / with their silhouettes in perfect symmetry…”

Someone recently told a friend of mine that she “didn’t look like she knew much about __________ [fill in the blank with anything intellectual and/or geeky, as you please].” My friend was a little affronted by this (and rightfully so), because since when do your looks indicate what you’re interested in and knowledgeable about?

But no, clearly girls with natural beauty and charm who enjoy dressing vintage-classy can’t possibly be interested in superheroes and sci-fi. Don’t be ridiculous, Em. How dare you ignore societal rules and stereotypes!

See, my friend was being placed in a box labeled “pretty, classy, and sweet”– and then the person who attributed that label to her made the mistake of figuring that was all there was to her.

But no, this dear friend of mine with the biggest heart, a charming smile, and a love of all things vintage and lovely? She’s actually one of the most mischievous and rebellious humans I’ve ever met. She gets herself (and usually the rest of us) into about as many scrapes as the Anne Shirleys and Jo Marches of literature renown (perhaps even more than they do). And she absolutely adores Marvel and Star Wars, and could sit you down and talk in-depth with you about those movies– and characters– and actors– for hours. And even this is just the barest sketch of who she is.

She cannot be placed into a neat little box– and the rest of us can’t, either.

Humans are so incredibly complex and beautiful, guys. And sure, we try to make sense of who we are by sticking labels on ourselves and others, we try to identify with various things that give us a sense of connectedness and belonging– INFJ, introvert, Hufflepuff, dreamer, writer, Tennesseean, fangirl, psychology major, Christian— and this can be a good thing to a certain extent, but I think we too often fall into knowing people only by those labels. And then we begin to ascribe certain characteristics of those labels to that person, and when that person breaks out of the box that we’ve subconsciously placed them in, we have the audacity to be surprised by the fact that this human is actually as complex and seemingly self-contradictory as we ourselves are.

There’s a reason we get a little indignant when we realize that people have been trying to fit us into a box: It’s because we are all so much more than that. We were made to break the mold– to defy the stereotypes– to be unpredictable every now and then.

We were not created to fit into neat little boxes. How can a light shine in a dark world when it’s confined to societal packaging?

When you first began to follow Christ, you were called to be a light– to shine so brightly that you point the world to our Savior.

Light cannot help but stand out. It can’t help but illuminate the whole of the space it inhabits. It can’t help but break through the darkness.

Be light. Be unpredictable. Be free. Be wholly and authentically you, with all the interests and quirks and thoughts and dreams that make up who you are as a human– and extend the same grace to others when you look at them.

Let’s stop placing people (and ourselves) in boxes they (we) were never made to fit into, yeah?

“…I’ve got a pocketful of poetry / I’ve got a head full of songs, a heart with wings / You couldn’t tie me down to anything, and that’s enough for me.”

// Pocketful of Poetry, by Mindy Gledhill //

{love always, Em}

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