I have a friend whose favorite saying is, “Checked off that box.” She said this when her son finished his required three years of piano lessons. When the family took the African safari they’d talked about for years. Whenever she sends signed paperwork in at the beginning of each school year.
She loves checking the boxes.
She is crazy.
In my humble opinion.
I’ve been asked to check one too many boxes this week. And these are not metaphorical boxes—they’re real.
I have had to check a new “age range” box on every form filled out this week. And I’m a little iffy on the new bracket. I’m only one year older but it seems I’m closer to the AARP now than the Junior League. Not that I’m particularly excited about either group.
I convinced myself to look reality square in the eye and click “curvy” on my body type on an online form this week. I wanted to check two boxes—toned and curvy. But this form was persnickety (now that’s a word a card-carrying member of AARP would use—see? I’m on my way already). I couldn’t be both toned and curvy—although I like to think I am. I had to choose. Do my curves negate being fit and toned? Last time I checked, Beyonce looked pretty darn good. I’m no Beyonce but the principle remains—even those of us with child-bearing hips can look good. Those little boxes don’t seem to take that into consideration.
In filling out a form regarding my sons, I was asked about their ethnicity. As I tried to check Caucasian and Hispanic/Latino, the form blipped. I had to choose. But they’re both. They come from proud European traditions on my side, gobbling bratwurst in a way that would have made my German grandfather puff up with pride. But they also know the difference between an empanada and a croqueta, courtesy of their father’s Cuban and Colombian roots. How do you boil that down to just one box? And why do we feel the need to do so?
Most of us don’t fit neatly into a box. Or maybe I just have an aversion to those who think we do. Or should.
Life is messy, no? So are we. In a very beautiful, human way.
They should have a box for that.