My high school felt like a prison to me. The architecture (designed by someone who designed prisons, I was told) reminded me of a prison (no windows, blocks of cells/classrooms, two yards surrounded by the building,) the air, the bells, the shouting in the hallways, all of it added up to Prisonville. But more than anything, I felt trapped in it. I was constantly straining at its bounds. I searched out loop holes and I found them. In retrospect, that sense of confinement may have served me well. If I hadn’t been searching for ways to escape, I wouldn’t have found a way to take a class at the University during the school day. I wouldn’t have found all those outside activities and communities and cultures. Being confined, I learned how to fly.
I wonder now if the tight restrictions of a prison-like high school experience had the effect of Temple Grandin’s hugging machine. I wonder if being tightly squeezed like that, made me feel freer to expand whenever I was released. Now – while I often feel trapped or stuck or limited in my life choices -I am never really confined. I wheel around like a pinball in a machine, hitting walls and falling into holes, but always on the move. I suppose even a free wheelin’ pinball is still confined in its game.