You're Taking Up Space
I can guarantee that as long as you are reading this article right now, no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, that you are taking up some space. Maybe you don’t like the space you are taking up. Maybe it is a little uncomfortable for you right now, or it doesn’t exactly look as you’d hope it would at this moment in your life, but still, you’re taking up space. As long as you have been alive, if you are in this present moment, and if you desire to be here tomorrow, you will always have a space, that is yours, to be. The beauty of it, though difficult from time to time and season to season, is that since we are guaranteed to have space when we are alive and a part of this world, I get to determine in this moment every day what the quality of my space will be with how I choose to live today.
I am allowed to dictate the quality of my space. If we can come to an agreement that a condition of our humanity is an eb and flow of both suffering and misery as well as that of joy and peace, then I would like to pose from that viewpoint that I am allowed to take from life what I desire within my space, and not allow rules and societal understandings to dictate the worth of my space. For example, one person may find it to be a wonderful use of their space to read a book daily for hours on end, but another person will find it wonderful to use their space to exercise. Which is right? Is either wrong? Usually, within our cultural framework, we’ll state to each their own and they can both live fulfilled lives. We don’t do this with everything though, especially not with the misery and hurt we experience, or the rules we were taught to live by.
Instead, a great tragedy occurs. The rule, the law, the woulds, coulds, and shoulds of societal norms, and an unhealthy desire to exclusively only ever feel at peace overtake the narrative, and the quality of the space begins to waver. We are so buried in these things with a blind following that they are supposed to provide us with peace, and therefore the quality of our space will only be true when we feel at peace. Why do we do this? It is what we are taught. It is a reinforced narrative that exists within this blind following. If you were to ask anyone directly if their peace within their space exclusively comes from the law, societal norms, and expectations, they most often will tell you with passion, “No way! I live my life and it is an adventure!” We have great pride in our autonomy within our society. If that is the case though, why the blanket rules for how to manage our space, drawing from the same well that causes us misery?
The answer comes in the call to the present moment to live the life we desire to live in this moment while accepting that life is easy and hard while understanding that the quality of my space is not determined by either, but instead by how I choose to live. We’re already going to take up space today, so what do we want that to look like? Here come the rules though, every time.
“I’m no good.” “I’ve been cast out and rejected.”
“I don’t feel the best though.”
“I’ve been hurt.”
“I’ve made mistakes.”
With each one of these statements comes a list of rules and norms that all state that you can only exist within your space according to the hurt reflected in those statements. The quality of your space does not have to be determined by these things. As I have mentioned before in past posts, turn to your values, and utilize them to live a quality life within your space.
Give space to everything in your life that is you both good and bad, and the quality of your space will be immeasurable! I refer to my colleague Lindsey Devaughn’s post “Running Parts 1&2” as an example, in which self-care routines through exercise and lifestyle are mentioned in the midst of personal turmoil and strife. Pain does not have to dictate the quality of our space if within that framework of that space we allow for us to be a human, rather than the rigidity of rules and unrealistic expectations we burden ourselves with. It is okay for the quality of our space to take a hit. It is natural and expected and it is okay that we treat it as such. There is a difference between a permanent dwelling and a temporary campsite, and it is for each of us to know and appreciate our space enough to determine when that time is or what it will look like.
I would end this post with a call for patience and practice. It takes time to develop these skills and see that life can be about more than our hurt when we have really been hurt in significant ways. It doesn’t have to define our lives. We have to step outside of the realm of ability with can and cannot, and step into the realm of will and want. Once again, I guarantee, we are taking up some space today, and I would love nothing more than to know that we all made that space the highest quality space that we wanted.