Update – Great News!!!

Minus The Box is changing its name!!!

Moving forward Minus The Box will be known as Live Your Life Inspired. This name change is reflective of our new direction and hope for the future.

Live Your Life Inspired is a place where you can discover inspirational and motivational content from around the world. This will continue to be a safe and supportive community for people who wish to learn, grow, evolve, and live a wholehearted lifestyle.

Our core will remain the same but at Live Your Life Inspired we look forward to renewed growth.

Welcome to Live Your Life Inspired!!

Magic Monday – Detroit

We are all aware of the struggles this once famous Motor City is now enduring. From loss of jobs, to corruption, to a general economic downturn, Detroit has had it rough. But this video showcases a growing movement that will lead to positive change for the city. Here, young women discuss their passion for the city and what drives the work that they do. Enjoy!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/67615399″>A Girls Guide to Detroit</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/fourexitfour”>4exit4</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

TED Talk Tuesday – Nina Jablonski: Skin Color Is An Illusion

Ohh do I love science. The answer to ignorance, science and information can lead to clarity and awareness. In today’s TED Talk, noted and well respected academic Nina Jablonski discusses the evolution of skin color. As a biological anthropologist and paleobiologist, Nina Jablonski has dedicated her career to understanding the history and diversity of complexion.

“Now what is wonderful about the evolution of human skin pigmentation, and the phenomenon of pigmentation, is that it is the demonstration, the evidence, of evolution by natural selection, right on your body. When people ask you, “What is the evidence for evolution?” You don’t have to think about some exotic examples, or fossils. You just have to look at your skin.”

“Darwin, I think, would have appreciated this, even though he eschewed the importance of climate on the evolution of pigmentation during his own life. I think, were he able to look at the evidence we have today, he would understand it. He would appreciate it. And most of all, he would teach it.”

“You, you can teach it. You can touch it. You can understand it. Take it out of this room. Take your skin color, and celebrate it. Spread the word. You have the evolution of the history of our species, part of it, written in your skin. Understand it. Appreciate it. Celebrate it. Go out. Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it wonderful?You are the products of evolution. Thank you.”

Becoming Me by K. Kenneth Edusei

I’m becoming me,
What does that mean?
I’m getting comfortable,
With the person I see,
I’m learning to accept my fire,
My passion burns bright,
I am accepting my quirky doings,
The annoying things about my life,
I’m learning to accept my faults,
Yes, I do have a few,
My yin and my yang,
I strive to balance the two,
I’m learning to deal with my body,
This is insanely perplexing,
Reject harmful female body image,
Aesthetic masculinity needs dissecting,
I love my random knowledge,
How long is an exasecond?
When’s the golden age of hip-hop?
And video-game history deserves a mention,
Though, I’m still trying to find my place,
Still sort of a lost soul,
Some things are still tough to accept,
Some things hinder my growth,
I feel like I am really far behind,
Relativity impresses upon the psyche,
There is that sense of inadequacy,
When compared to others in life,
That’s why I said “becoming”,
Not totally happy with who I see,
I’m moving toward that state of being,
Moving toward becoming me.

Resolutions Are Made to Be Broken so Let’s Make Promises Instead by Ren Martinez

1. Enjoy more pajama days, eating cereal out of the box and laughing when Netflix asks you “Are you okay?”

2. Stop seeing people I could get to know wearing the faces of those that have already hurt me. Tear those masks off the faces of strangers and see them as they truly are.

3. Be less embarrassed by how much I love fangirly things. Squee as if no one’s watching, flail as if I’m behind a computer screen, and laugh because I want to.

4. Hear him whisper “I love you” even if he never says it out loud. Feel it written on my skin by his shaking hands, see adoration in the curl of his smile. Listen to the morse code of his heart beat against my chest, devotion swimming in his ventricles and contentment sighing in his lungs.

5. Try and get out of bed within the first hour of waking up, rather than watch daylight smear across the walls and wonder if my feet will ever touch the floor again.

6. Trust in what I know and don’t be afraid of what I don’t.

7. Go for more walks. My eyes have only seen 1% of the world, a statistically insignificant sample. How will I ever prove my hypothesis without more data?

8. Tell the people I love “I love you” as if they’ve never heard it before, as if I’ll never say it again.

9. Breathe.

10. Write every day, even if it’s just the line of a memo or the verse of a song. Write on napkins and notebooks and in Word documents. Write until my knuckles burn and my wrists sulk in irritation and all the stories in my head are finally made real.

11. Have that second slice of pie (I could be hit by a bus later).

12. Fall even more in love with the space I’ve created for myself and the world I’m surrounded by. Let the universe inside my skin continue expanding, crawling through the dark until all I know is littered with stars.

13. Catch up on Doctor Who (and Supernatural and Sherlock and Teen Wolf and all the worlds I love so much).

14. Remember that happiness isn’t the end goal. It’s a constant process, an enzymatic reaction that loops back around even after catalysis is reached. Never-ending, always beginning.

15. It all starts now

Cause I’ve Been ‘Fraid of Changin’ by Ren Martinez

Someone told me that becoming is more human than being. Later, I understood that to be a philosophical point, debated in academic circles, but at the time I heard it as only words. I brushed them off like dust and continued down my road, only to have my feet falter and stop. Because it’s not often we’re confronted with truth and it’s more than foolish to let it pass by without a glance.

Becoming means transformation. It means evolution. To Become is to change, mutate, expand. What you once were is no longer as the process of what you will be is underway. We seem to know ourselves better, the tiny atoms that make up our bodies, the strings of carbon that knit together into bones and breath, when we don’t know ourselves at all. Only that we are midway in a journey that we can no longer stop. We know the calluses on our fingers and the doubts like pearls heavy around our necks. We know we can’t see the future of what is happening but we reach for it anyway.

Transition is our most basic state. Humans are not meant for stagnation; we become bored, restless with energy, nearly frenetic. We are at our best when we barely know ourselves at all, but are learning as each piece settles into place. And then, with a heavy sigh, everything is slotted together until we ARE. We are defined; we are known. Like the state of rest after an enzymatic change, the catalyst used up and leveling out into a measurable result.

But, we are not meant to remain here. Once we have the pieces in place, our atoms ache to scatter again, to form something new. We meet new obstacles/enemies/allies, and we shift into transition yet again, change resonating like a old song never forgotten. And I, despite the terror of the unknown, despite doubt and stress and worry, sing those words as boldly as ever.

Because, in the end, I only know who I am when I’m becoming myself.

Happy Birthday!!!!!

Many Thank Yous

Last Friday, Minus The Box (MTB) celebrated its one year anniversary. I would like to take this (belated) moment to issue a special thank you to all the volunteers and followers who make this effort worth while. Everyday you give me hope that this site can be a space for growth and hope. Thank you.

Yet To Come

As MTB grows into its second year you will witness an on going evolution. This evolution will included a new site, mission, categories, and much more. So stay tuned!

Again a sincere and absolute thank you to all of you. Thank for helping making this site what it is.

Editor & Founder

Through the Looking Glass and Into the Wardrobe by Ren Martinez

There’s something uniquely special about a used bookstore.

Plywood shelves brimming over in paperbacks, their spines lined with use. The smell of paper and ink, a slight mustiness that clings to your clothes even after you leave. The utter silence of them, except for perhaps the sounds of Ximena Sarinana or some other obscure singer-songwriter quietly humming through the space. I could be content for hours, my fingers brushing against the jam-packed shelves, my gaze caught by a short story anthology from an author I’ve never heard of but summarily fall in love with. My arms brim over with fantasy tales, history texts, comic books, and treatises on government. I discover a small, worn notebook of french poetry and, despite the fact that I can’t read a word of the language, have to blink away tears.

We’re in an age of technological advancement. I’m on the internet for hours a day, whether I’m goofing around on Facebook or checking my email for any responses to the countless job applications I’ve sent or researching a plot point for the latest chapter of my manuscript. I recognize and am mesmerized by social media and its effect on our lives, how we can connect with people so like ourselves in places we will never see, how we can all raise our fists in anger the moment an injustice is done. As a child of the millennium, I own four video game consoles, one laptop, one smartphone, and a Kindle. The Kindle is one of my favorites, actually. It’s never been easier to read whatever I want anywhere I go. I can instantly cruise Amazon and find that sequel to the book I’ve just finished or discover a literary unknown that turns out to be a veritable gem.

That being said, I am a child of paper. I have three bookcases in my apartment, stuffed with old textbooks and well-worn novels that I can read over and over again. There are also plenty that I have yet to begin, just waiting for me to open them up and discover their secrets. There is something so singular about reading a book, turning pages covered in ink until you shut the back cover, the soft sound, one of finality. It’s an experience that has defined my childhood and is a pillar of the person I am today, this fledgling adult with no sense of direction except upwards and onwards.

Today, I plan on going to my local bookstore and getting lost again. Because, every time I get lost, I end up somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.