This is my second blog post about taking up space. Here’s the link to part one. I started writing it over a year ago but never published it. Today is the day I change that.
I suppose this topic has been on my mind a lot, so I have much to say about it. (Shocker! This is a bit of a warning. I’m not a long story short kinda girl, I’m short story long all the way. I have to tell you the backstory to really drive a story home. I try to whittle down my words, but, well, you know, I just struggle with it.)
In January 2021, I made a post on social media about taking up space, and I will share it here.
“A while ago, I joined my dear friend’s Homefires Beta group. (Life changing. I’m not exaggerating.) Cristy Duce challenged us to “dance it out”. I mean, closing the door, cranking your music and giving it ALL you’ve got. I accepted the challenge.
I danced around my room and moved my WHOLE body. I sang my heart out. I was unapologetic about how extra I was. And then I sobbed. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as I moved and sang. It was so unexpectedly cathartic and I couldn’t believe the release I felt. I couldn’t believe all the things I was feeling. I’m so grateful Cristy challenged me to do that. (And now, I challenge you. )
Afterwards, I couldn’t get over how liberated I felt. I didn’t realize how apologetic I tend to be for taking up space. Physical space (I’m big), my words (I’m long-winded and loud), my feelings (I feel a lot), my thoughts (I think a lot and…squirrel), my ideas, and the list goes on.
I felt liberated because I took up space. I took up the space I wanted. And I didn’t apologize.
I love learning, but I sometimes put the things I’ve learned on the back burner. They’re still in my mind, but I need reminding. So, Libby, thanks for reminding me how I should be living. Look at her taking up ALL the space. Sometimes I make myself small. This puts an unseen and unnecessary weight on me. I loved the release I felt when I danced it out and I can apply this in so many ways. There is room for us all. There really is.
This momma is going to take the space I need. And I’m not going to apologize for it. I hope you join me in this. The world is big enough for us to do so. ”
Reading this a year later brought tears to my eyes. Oh, how I need this reminder!
Now here is my follow up post from February 2021.
“I made a post a while back about taking up space. There are so many ways to take up space. It looks different for everyone and it is a very personal thing, I think.
One way I am taking up space is giving myself space. Like actual space. My birthday is next week and the only thing I want is to stay at a hotel overnight. BY MYSELF. That kind of gift hasn’t really been on my radar before, but it sure is now.
January (2021) was a hard month for me. After talking to family and friends and doing some reading, I realized it was a hard month for the majority of people. February seems to be a hard month for the majority, too. Jeesh!!! Even with the hard, though, I have found lots of joy. I’m giving space for the hard and the good. I *try* to embrace the suck and also find joy in the every day. (The hotel stay brought me joy too, but that’s not something I can do often. Or can I? Maybe this should become a thing for me.)
I’m trying to give other people their space, too.
I haven’t always been super good at taking care of myself, but it’s become a priority now.
Cristy Duce encouraged me to write myself a letter back when I was doing Homefires with her. I just found the letter a while ago and read it again. Woah. Thank you July 2020 Jacquie. And thank you Cristy. (Also, it may appear I’m obsessed with Cristy because I reference her OFTEN. Hahah! Maybe I am, and maybe I am. )
In case you needed the reminder, “YOU ARE WORTH THE INVESTMENT”, whatever that looks like for you.
P.S. I’m so curious. What are some things you do for yourself??”
Once again, I’m grateful for this reminder!!
Since these Facebook/Instagram posts, I have stayed at a hotel by myself twice! Once for my birthday mentioned above, and once in May 2022 after we sold our house. (I’ll write about that journey at some point.)
For my birthday stay, I made sure, thanks to a suggestion from my sister, to book with a hotel that has a restaurant attached. Priorities. The pandemic restrictions were lifted a little to include the opening of swimming pools, and “my” hotel had a swimming pool. I decided to bring my kids to the hotel with me so they could enjoy swimming in a pool for the first time in nearly a year. They were elated! And they loved hanging out in my hotel room waiting for our scheduled pool time. It was a great way to start my getaway. Another great way to start my getaway? Birthday cannoli left in my mini fridge, compliments of the amazing staff at the Sandman Lodge.
My husband picked up my kids and I went on my way. I went shopping for some very adulty type things that I’ve been putting off. Keep your mind outta the gutter-I was shopping for a printer, a pair of running shoes and a dress. I took all the time I needed and made friends with all the cashiers without my kids being annoyed.
I went back to the hotel and ordered delicious food to eat in my room. Then I called my family to say goodnight. I didn’t feel guilt over being by myself. I don’t know if I could have said that even a year ago. I had brought all manner of things with me to do if I felt so inclined. What happened though? I ate my dinner, and then called a friend. She just happened to be working a sleepover shift on a day that she typically doesn’t work. We had an amazing visit that lasted THREE hours. Three! We never could’ve done that in our normal situations. It was so serendipitous and it filled my soul. I went to bed and slept like a dream.
My morning was full and I wasn’t planning on going home until dinner time. I was so filled up that I didn’t feel the need to prolong my getaway just because. I genuinely wanted to go home to my family.
Honestly, it was exactly what I needed. One of my friends mentioned that she goes and stays by herself in Waterton. (One of my favourite places ever.) I’m adding that to my bucket list. The second time I stayed at a hotel, I left feeling the same way. I really needed the time completely on my own. I returned to my family recharged and in a much better space.
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had much time to think, to spend time with family, and with myself. I’ve had therapy sessions and other opportunities for learning. Through these experiences, I’ve started to focus on my triggers; what they are, what my patterns are and what I can do about them. I’m a work in progress, that’s for certain!
I have an experience to share which includes my triggers and taking up space.
In the springtime, the weather started warming up and we’d go for walks/scooter rides. Our puppy Libby would join us. It was something to look forward to. It seemed the whole town would be out and about taking advantage of the nice weather and paths. We saw a friend with her family and their dog. While the friend and I visited, the kids wanted to take turns taking the two dogs while on their scooters. My youngest child couldn’t handle the dogs’ strength so I said he couldn’t have a turn. He had a hard time with that decision, and I understood. I gave him space to feel all the big feelings. And then I sent the kids to keep going on the path so I could finish my conversation with my friend, with the intention of catching up to my kids afterwards. My youngest, who was five at the time, wouldn’t listen. He was extra clingy and kept yelling at me. His behaviour was escalating and I could feel myself getting worked up and I didn’t like it. It felt like I was about to Hulk out.
Thankfully, I was able to recognize what was happening and pumped the breaks. I said something like,
‘I’m feeling really triggered right now. I need to feel my big feelings and then I can let it go. You are yelling at me and not giving me the space I need right now. Please give me space so I can feel it and let it go.” And guess what happened next? Right after I said that, he scootered away to catch up to his siblings. It was a simple and powerful lesson to me.
Since this has been on my mind so much, I’m trying to notice when I’m not giving enough space. Take my plant, for example. I never re-potted it when I should have. I never gave it the opportunity to reach its potential. The directions on this plant said, “Don’t be fooled by this plant’s small size. Give it time and patience, and it can grow up to 4 or 5 feet if you let it.” I didn’t let it to reach its potential. I stunted it. I know at times I’ve stunted my own growth. It hurts me to say it, but I’ve probably stunted growth in others, too, just by not giving enough space. The great thing about us being us, is that we can take our space. We aren’t like this plant; we don’t have to wait for others to give us that. We can take it!!!
Giving space to ourselves and others is the gift that keeps on giving. Same thing applies to giving grace to ourselves and others. Space and grace-I need to remember that concept! And I like the reminder on the plant tag: “It can grow…if we let it.” Here’s to taking action (giving, receiving, letting) and giving space and grace. Here’s to the growing, healing, and learning opportunities that go along with them. Clink! (Pretend we tapped our glasses of our preferred beverages. Mine is a cold Fresca from a can.)