Take up space.
We’re hearing it more and more as more as more women, specifically, are breaking out of the molds society wants to tuck us neatly into.
Taking up space, despite some of the forward progression in the movement of women’s equality, is hard.
It shouldn’t be.
So what exactly does taking up space mean?
Taking up space means just that, taking up space.
The space we all deserve to have in order to live the truest to who we are, man or women, the most honest our voice can be, and to live fully. Happy and healthy are excellent side benefits to taking up space.
Women more often then men are deprived of taking up space. It comes in a variety of different ways. Society wanting moms to always be “Super Mom”, with it, always on top of things (re: 100% perfect parenting). Women are expected to “look good”, “stay fit”, always wear make up, etc.
Women are expected to have a certain kind of body, and if they don’t, they’re shamed for it. Made to feel small for it.
Women are expected to sit quietly with their opinions instead of voice them.
There’s a lot that society puts on its list of expectations from women. (Including not lifting too much weight, we wouldn’t want you to look “manly”!)
But they’re all bullshit. That’s right, bullshit.
A woman talks too much, she’s a gossip. She’s shy and doesn’t talk much? She’s a rude bitch. She’s assertive, she’s a bitch. She’s not assertive, she’s weak.
Mom did drop off in her yoga pants and a stained shirt? Call child services on her. A mom shows up in full hair, makeup and a carefully put together and planned outfit? She’s a “try hard”, or she doesn’t spend time with her kids (assumption), or “she must have a nanny”.
A new mom doesn’t have her “pre-baby body” “back” in just four short weeks? She’s let herself go, she’s a slob and it’s absolutely terrible. She becomes the butt of jokes, she’s ridiculed. Kicked down, and kicked some more.
See where I’m going here?
We let others hold the power to our own lives when we let them control the space we take up in this world.
And that’s not okay.
I’ve been rightfully taking up my own space for nearly a decade now. But, I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy to get to that place.
I don’t talk about much of my “story”. Some chapters very, very few know about. Some chapters have almost broken me. Others were defining moments that encouraged my bloom. My short, 33-years has had a lot of darkness, trauma, and abuse. From losing friends and attending over a half-dozen funerals before graduating high school, to two extremely abusive relationships, to having my own safety and life put in jeopardy, to being raped by someone whom I once considered a friend and a person I could trust.
I struggled for a better part of nearly a decade to plant my feet in a spot to bloom. To find my confidence. To surge my voice high above the others trying to keep me down.
I struggled to take up the space that was rightfully mine despite society around me telling me otherwise.
It takes time. Time to get your roots started. Time to get the negativity out and away. But the struggle is worth it.
Because the other side of this is beautiful.
You no longer feel that you have to have the negative. That you’re deserving of what’s going on and happening to you.
You discover that you’re worthy of good love. Healthy love. Happy love.
You discover that you’re worthy of good, healthy and happy relationships.
You find the people like you (they really do just sort of come like magnets to you), which help nourish and grow your bloom. Help you thrive in consuming the space you’re entitled to.
In the past eight years, after finally getting my roots dug into the ground, I have bloomed in a way I never thought possible. I have gained a love that is happy, healthy and I’m worthy of it. It took a year of that relationship to grasp that last part, but I am worthy of it.
My friendships have shifted away from some people, but it gave me room to allow others to come in. I have thrived as a compassionate, loving and caring human under those friendships. Their positivity has given me the space to live as the human being all of those before them had stifled me from being able to do.
I have been able to fall passionately into the things I have always loved doing. Writing, exercising, exploring… I even went back to school to get my certifications.
I take up space and stand proudly. I do it to inspire those around me. I do it to encourage. I do it because if just one person sees me living life in that light and goes “If she can, I can try too”, then my heart is full.
Just like with anything, there will be setbacks. Things that challenge your bloom, your space, your confidence.
Steve Handel from the Emotion Machine examples it perfectly:
Taking up space does mean that you’re more likely to be judged. But that’s only something you are going to get more used to and comfortable with once you start putting yourself out there more.
The more you’re judged, and the more you put yourself out there, the more you become desensitized to negative feedback. Which means you’re becoming more comfortable being yourself despite what others think – and that’s a very valuable trait to have.
I saw that, just recently, when someone whom I haven’t had really any interaction with, perceived the way I carry myself as a negative in their eyes. I let it bother me for a moment, where before, it would have sat with me for days. It challenges you. But continue growing and putting yourself out there.
Don’t give those people the power to tear you down. You’ve worked hard to get here. You deserve to be here.
Never let anyone take the sun away from your bloom.
Let your mind take up space. Let your energy take up space. Let your body take up space. Your dreams. Your heart. Your soul.
Let it all bloom and take, up, space.