I have a question I ask myself daily. It’s a broad question, and my answer varies depending on the day, but I always try to ask it of myself regardless of. It actually started as a different question that someone had asked me years ago, and I couldn’t let go of it. (Have I lost you yet? Stick with me! Stick with me!)
It was asked by my (former) therapist on my first day of recovery. I had made the decision to start treatment for my eating disorder about 10 years after I had started binging, and on this first day, I was deeply ashamed and terrified at the prospect of speaking openly with a stranger. After sitting in silence for the first ten minutes of our session, she asked, “Kate, are you aware of how small you’re trying to make yourself?”
I couldn’t answer. The truth was, I wasn’t aware. I had very little concept of what my body was doing in space at all. I didn’t even know what day it was. The purpose of binging, for me, was to numb myself out, to disconnect myself from my body, from past failures, from insecurities, from my life. After a few minutes, she presented me with a hand mirror up so that I could observe myself. It was painful to see. I was sitting on my hands, elbows tucked into my ribcage. I was folded over at the waist so that my chest was resting on top of my knees. I had pressed myself up against the arm of the sofa. I was literally trying to make myself as small as possible. I was wholly unwilling to take up space.
The concept of how much space I take continues to come up for me during my recovery- not just with my body, but with my voice, my advocacy, my interests, the love I show others and the love I believe I’m worthy to receive. So, this question has become:
How much space am I willing to take?
Aha! (See, we got there eventually.) So that’s the driving force behind this blog! This is a space that celebrates the question that has made my life full again. I need a space to be creative and loving and open. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I also wanted to have an outlet to speak openly about recovery, mental health, self care, body positivity and acceptance. It is my intention to make this blog an inclusive and supportive space. I continue to be inspired by so many others like me who face social stigmas about our bodies, our advocacy, our self worth. But conversation challenges these stigmas. By living our lives fully, by taking up space with every part of ourselves, we can challenge the structures that been built to hold us back.
Taking space can be whatever you want it to be. This is my version, and I’d love to share it with you.