Take Up Space
Beginning to Take Up Space - Part One
When I first made a Take Up Space pin it was because these words really resonated with me. It was a promise to myself, a forward motion. I was in the middle of a season where I knew that redundancy from my job was approaching. My youngest child had just started school. My life was changing and so was I. It was time to take stock of what was, and take some steps towards what could be. I won’t lie: I had no idea what I was doing, I had no idea what I could do. My job was also my calling. It was ME. To see the end ahead with no plan for what is next was terrifying. Not just ‘how would I make a living?’ but ‘who would I even BE?’
I credit my friend Ray Dodd for challenging me on this. A woman who has known many changes herself, and has had to dig deep to find her own way. I was fortunate to know her as she started to share what she had learnt with the women around her. She prompted me to explore what I actually wanted out of my working life, what skills I had, and led me through exercises that would help to clarify where to invest my energy.
Take Up Space was the mantra.
To start to notice where self doubt and fear were holding me back. To start to notice where things I thought about myself were preventing me from stepping into my own potential. And to see where those thoughts intersected with what the world had taught me about being female, about being a mother, about having a body. What a lifetime of being told you talk too loud, too much, too fast; your body is too big, too much; your needs are too big; your appetite too large. You are a bit MUCH.
Stop waiting for permission to take up space
I discovered that I was waiting for permission to do things differently. I discovered that I was waiting for the ‘world’ to discover and invite me to do the things that I wanted. I was holding back on almost every idea I had because I didn’t want anyone to think I was pushy. I was holding back sharing my whole self in case people thought I was seeking attention. I was writing off every ambition, every dream as an unseemly outworking of my ego.
Although I believed I was a feminist, and that women deserved to exist without being subjucated to cultural rules they didn’t ask for- I was still imposing them on myself. Although I believed as a Christian that every person is made worthy, I was not behaving as if I believed that about myself. I spent more energy trying to not be like ‘how I am’ than I spent on anything else.
A call to action for women everywhere
Take Up Space was my rallying cry - to myself, to start to step into new and unfamiliar places. To allow myself to be who I am and believe I still deserved the things I wanted. To allow myself to lean into my ambitions without worrying that it was wrong to want to succeed. To let go of the very-millenial “so I did a thing, you can look at it if you wanna *shrug*“ and step into a more authentic, “I am doing this and I like it”.
Take Up Space then was about throwing off diet culture and channeling the energy I had spent worrying about how my body didn’t conform into projects I was passionate about. Taking Up Space was about doing things without waiting for permission. Starting the groups I wanted to be in, making work that I enjoyed, stepping past the voice in my head that said ‘you are not good enough to do that’ and damn well giving it a go anyway. Take Up space was about allowing myself the risk of failure in front of other people, and learning that it’s not the end of the world when things do go wrong.
A celebratory journey of becoming who I am and fully inhabiting my own space in the world! I was on firreeeeee.
This is not the end of my deep dive into taking up space Part Two is here
How do you feel about taking up space? Leave me a note below or head over and join the conversation over on the Milk and Moon Instagram. And don’t forget you can get your own little reminder to Take Up Space with this pin.