All my life I have been told or treated like I’ve been taking up too much space. I know I’m not the only one who has been told “to be seen and not heard” to quiet down, to “sshhh”. Or had people cut them what seems like a wide berth. I’ve gotten all this even when I was a 90 pound teenager. I started to listen, my anxiety grew. With it all the bad habits that would grow every other part of my life except my personality. Except for who I was.
Instead of speaking my mind or speaking up I would bite my lip. A habit that stays with me to this day, constant nervous lip biting. Instead of putting anything into a conversation I would sit quietly and eventually found solace in solitude and food. I am no longer a 90 pound teenager. I’m a 5 foot 9 woman at almost 200 pounds. I now take up more physical space then I would ever have liked. All because I refused to take up the space I deserved.
Instead of taking up space, speaking my mind, owning a room and myself. I started to take up space in other aspects of my life. In the clutter of my apartment, of my mind, an obsessive over eating disorder, nervous habits. A growing body to take over the space physically that my mind wants to take up personally. The space we all deserve to take up.
Then there are those who were never told not to take up space. Or have come to a place in their lives where they are comfortable enough in their own skin to take up the space that everyone told them not to. It is these people I envy, and am the most uncomfortable around. They don’t mind speaking their minds, taking up and moving around physical spaces like they own the place, even when they’ve never been there before.
Others who almost effortlessly and without fear take up space. They are loud, they are inquisitive. They are not afraid to ask or take or touch or move and stand wherever they want. There are no apologies or side shuffling, no shame or anxiety. To a point that to those of us who have been told not to take up space feel they maybe take up too much space. To the point where it feels disrespectful to others and their personal boundaries.
If anyone makes you feel like you take up too much space you are in the wrong place. You deserve to take up the space you need, so long as it is not someone elses. I know with anxiety and other mental health issues this seems like an impossibility but it isn’t. Take up space, even if it is the space you make for yourself, in the privacy of your home. Laugh, dance it out, express yourself because without it, everything else in your life will find a way to make up for it. If you’re finding yourself buying too much, eating, drinking or sleeping too much, ask yourself why? Are you not taking up the space you deserve in your life? Are you hiding yourself away from others in fear of judgement and ridicule?
Putting yourself out there will get you noticed, and not always in the best ways, but if you don’t put yourself out there in ways that you enjoy, your life will find ways to compensate. Stay healthy, stay happy and take up your space.