Back in April I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by my dear friend Charise Fraizer who is the host of Hello Beautiful’s Speak Her podcast, where the theme is Take Up Space Sis!
One of the questions that Charise asked me was “How are you taking up space?” Since our conversation I have continued to think about that question, and it seems that every month I have a new answer. It has also had me thinking about the journey I have taken to come to a place where I felt “allowed” to take up space.
One of the things I love to remind people of when leading a yoga class is to “Take up space”. So many of us feel that we don’t have the right to take up space, so we move through life just trying to lay low as too not ruffle any feathers for fear of what others might think.
From a small child I myself was told that I was “too much” for some of my family members to handle. I was too loud, too big, too expressive, too emotional…basically just too much for them in general. A large part of my childhood was spent trying to make myself smaller in many ways. I fixated on trying to make myself physically smaller which in turn led to a life- long struggle with my weight. I would try not to laugh as loudly as I typically do, or not show how smart or creative I was. But, me being the Scorpio that I am, there was always a part of me that could not be suppressed and eventually the “real me” would always end up coming out.
As an adult, I began to see my family less and less, for many reasons, but feeling like I was not able to fully be myself when I was around them certainly played a large role in the seldom and/or short visits. When I did see them, I would find myself falling right back into my old behavior of shrinking myself to keep the peace. I could never quite figure out why my larger than life personality was so attractive to so many but not them. I mean, the reasons why so many others loved me were the same reasons that I had such discord with my family.
I couldn’t fully enjoy the time that we would spend together since it never made me feel good to not be able to authentically be myself, so I would purposely keep our visits to no more than 2 days so there was a finite amount of time that I had to keep up the charade. The thing is I don’t even think that I was truly aware of what I was doing until a few years ago.
After spending a year doing some major personal growth work on myself, I had a conversation with a family member that brought me right back to that young girl, and all of the feelings of being “too much”. This is not a place I wanted to be at all. In fact it was the exact opposite of where I was in my life. I had just spent the better part of a year working on healing my inner child, finding real self-love and sharing my story and myself with the world through my blog. I was not about to let anyone take that joy away from me, and I realized it was not my responsibility to shrink myself to make anyone else comfortable. I realized I was allowed to take up space as a positive human, so the plans I had to visit my family would need to be cancelled because I no longer had the energy to show up as anything other than myself. I was scared at first to set this new boundary but after a few days of thinking about what it had meant to stand up for myself and say I am just going to be me all the time I felt relieved and free.
Taking up space is about the way you walk into a room or anywhere for that matter. It is about believing that you have the right to be there and knowing that your voice is a valid one. It is about knowing that you deserve to take up space both physically and energetically.