Noticing from JetBlue Flight, Seat 18B
It was the first time since we’ve been together that Cookie and I didn’t sit next to one another. Because we bought our tickets late, we were both sitting in the center seats of two different rows.
Just thinking about the center seat makes my skin crawl.
Since I was a child I have had this overwhelming and largely irrational fear about having people between me and the aisle, door, or exit. This dread is the intersection of two competing needs: the freedom of knowing that I can move at will and my deep dislike of disturbing others with my needs, making myself seen.
Interrupting their nap to get up to use the restroom.
Reaching over them to receive my green tea and terra blue potato chips.
Putting my chair back and impinging on the space of the person sitting behind me.
I was sitting next to an enormous man who fell asleep sprawling into my personal space, head back and mouth open snoring.
He didn’t care that he was in my space, so what was I so afraid of?
When I had to get up, the very nice girl sitting next to me barely moved, swinging her legs to the side to let me out.
She didn’t care, so why did I?
Meeting My Need for Nourishment
I have the kind of body that is particular. Particularly sensitive. It is constantly switching around it’s needs and desires – having me running back and forth from caffeine to no caffeine and back again.
This makes it difficult for the people in my life to prepare food for me, or so I perceive.
And so I shrink when it comes to feeding myself, making my needs as small and manageable as I can.
Oh no it’s OK, I’ll eat that thing that will totally make me sick for days.
Because the physical discomfort of my body has been preferable to the inconvenience of my hungers – preferable to the emotional turmoil of constantly renegotiating and reinforcing my boundaries.
Preferable to being thought of as the difficult one.
But, in some capacities, food is love. Preparing, choosing, and being served food that is in tune with your body is a supreme act of love. Asking for and acquiring the food that makes you feel your best is self-love at it’s finest. It is the way that you tend to your home on this planet, your sacred vessel.
Am I worth that?
Am I worth the inconvenience, the conversation? Is it selfish to want to feel radiant?
Cultivating a Schedule That Prioritizes My Own Joy
Prospective client: I am only available after 8 pm and on the weekends.
Me: I’m sorry, I will not be able to work with you, but I will send you a list of really killer referrals.
Resisting the impulse to bend, acquiesce, shrink. To fit myself into the spaces in between. The few quiet moments. The breath between back to back clients. Working my way late into the night until I’m bleary eyed and stumbling to find my words – in the name of service, of being useful, of giving.
Because I am nothing, if I am not of service. Right? Right?!
Wrong. Instead: The steady structure of a pre-established schedule. A divine contract. A promise with myself that has my needs in mind. That it is enough simply to need – to want.
That it is enough to know yourself and to want a beautiful life for yourself.
But the coach down the virtual hall has a case load of 20 and works late into the night, every night.
But, but, but…
But I will not make myself small. I will take up my own space in the world. I will hold my the flexible structure with both hands and allow myself the opportunity to be here – to really be here – and to be seen.
Women, myself included, have this phenomenal tendency to shrink. This phenomenal tendency to make themselves small in the presence of others, curling into the fetal position as the feel themselves brimming with inconvenient needs and hungers.
Today I implore you to join me in stretching your arms out wide and spinning around, carving out your sacred space in this world. Then, hold that space about you as you move around your day, in your mind and in your heart.
Know this: You are deserving of your needs, no matter how large or small. You are deserving of taking up your own corner of this world. You are deserving of your own love and affection.
Make room for yourself. Stand in your truths.
Take up all the space that you need.