“What creates space?” I wrote in my journal this morning. Amazed, the answer came!
Stillness. Stillness creates space.
I’ve been running around like wild fighting to find space for myself and it’s been here all along.
It is right here, in this very moment. It is all around me, in the air I breathe and the space I take up. It is in the room I walk through. It is outside my window and inside my mind.
It is created when I am at peace and in stillness. When I am drinking my morning coffee, when I pause to take a deep breath. It is here with me when I am alone—it surrounds me when I write in my journal each morning. It is in this very moment, as I slide my hot-pink pen across the page.
It lies between the letters I write, the words I say, the thoughts I think. It is always here. Space is my constant companion.
I was born into it! I may have been caught by two arms and held by two hands, but there was space for me! From the moment I came into existence, a space was created for me!
From the womb to this very moment, it is here. It is mine. It is my birthright. Yours, too! I remember feeling it as a child. It was a palpable thing—space. It was an actual presence beside me, near me, with me, in me—this sensation of space.
And then one day it was gone. Or maybe it leaked away slowly without my notice. No matter. One day I woke up and it was no longer there—that buffer between me and the world.
From then on, it was just my skin pressed up against the outside world. After awhile, I stopped believing. Believing space was my birthright, too.
Did I lose this belief while watching a lifetime of sacrifice? Watching my mother give up everything for me and my stepfather? She gave up her art, her career ideas, even parts of herself—parts I now know were essential to her humanness. Her woman-ness.
Maybe it was a culture that told me, a female child, to be silent and unseen. That as a young girl and then woman, I was here to serve. To meet other’s needs, to give up what was mine, starting with my personal space. I was taught that it was my duty as a female on this earth to sacrifice myself for others.
This message must have started early and gone deep to circumvent my own inner knowing—the one we are all born with.
As a teenager, I was already apologetic for the space I took up, for the actual physical space my body occupied on this earth. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was my own feelings of undeserving and unworthiness that sucked up my space.
So what did I do in my 30’s? I didn’t get married or have a child. Nor did I buy a house or dive headlong into a career. Nope. I moved across the world! And guess what? Through writing for hours, days, weeks, months, years…I found my space again! Where? Everywhere! From Parisian cafés to balconies overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, I wrote—reclaiming my Self and the Space I was born into.
Fast forward six years of living abroad and luxuriating in that space—literally half a world away—to landing back in New York, where I swiftly fell in love and baby. While tumbling wildly away from my traveler’s solitude and into my dreams of family, I unknowingly gave up my birthright in exchange for partnership, homeownership and motherhood.
I forgot my inner knowing and went into a state of cultural amnesia the moment I became a “wife” and "mother."
But. In this desperate, desperate time when I find myself a single mom almost 24/7 – surrounded by a world of Covid and isolated from any sense of normalcy—I am remembering what I have always known.
This Space I was born into—it’s mine.
I don’t have to create it—it’s been here all along!