"A Motivational Speech for Those of Us
Made of Cardboard" by Benjamin Brindise


Have you ever woke up in a shoebox diorama?

Have you, like me, looked out over the water to see cellophane
and the hand drawn curves of a blue highlighter?

Have you ever felt like a cut out,

paper doll, an art installation titled “Puppet Sans Strings”?


Have you ever stood next to your best friend on the coast line,

looked up at the sun and wondered to yourself,

“What the fuck do you find so interesting about a yellow circle made of construction paper
when it’s obvious a seven year old stuck it up there with Elmer’s glue.”

Have you ever felt your feet leave the ground?

Have you ever come out of your body and been unsure if you can get back in?

Has the front door to your soul ever changed the locks on you and not left out the spare key? —


Have you ever had months, where every day feels like traversing uncharted terrain

where the GPS gives you directions on how to “go to hell”

When you get to skip to the front of the line

but the line is actually Karma’s, who stopped being a circle

and became a line just so it could punch you repeatedly in the face


Have you ever been empty? 

I mean “spaghetti sauce jar upside down on Grandma’s sink” empty

I mean “wine bottle in a suburban housewife’s kitchen” empty

I mean “your entire life was a reel of film that got left out in the sun
and there’s not a thing about yourself that you’re able to remember
” empty—


is being unable to find one's way

It also denotes something that is taken and can not be recovered

So when you are emptied of the things you can never get back 

When inspirational quotes are all context and no content 

When everyone wants to tell you how much you’re supposed to be able to handle 



They say “not all those who wander are lost” —

Which would suggest that most who wander are

So for those of us that are lost —

This is the middle ground of “you are strong enough” and “you wanting to give up is valid”

The halfway point between a motivational speech and realism

The center between “some days I want to be inspired and change the world single handedly”
and “some days I want to roll myself into a blanket burrito and never see outside again”


We were uploaded into an open world game 

with no map, few definable objectives, and no instructions 

Is it so surprising so many of us circle back to familiar places
and have no idea what the fuck we’re doing?


One of the cruelest parts of this world is that some flowers bloom early
and die when they could have survived a later season

That some flowers never bloom at all

That some seeds never found the soil to be planted 

So if you’re still trying to find home

if the world still feels like set pieces and sound stages 

if the North Star is a spotlight that keeps moving in the rafters

Keep going — or if you can’t, or don’t want to 

set down on the path, put down your bags

see if you can make home there