Taking Up Space

I have issues about taking up space. I feel very guilty about it. I have, on the whole, gotten over my immense guilt about being alive. And am getting better at not wanting the ground to swallow me up when sharing my creative talents. But there are two areas where my space issues still show up.

My body. And my living spaces.

Being heavier than I have ever been, I have also found a sort of peace. I am allowed to take up this much room. I have my own permission to eat as much as I need to. I am allowed to take up space. As a person, as a woman. It is OK. I need not apologise for my body, my appetites, for my size. I am allowed to be big… in every are of my life, if I want.

The other issue, as I said, is with living space. It takes me years of living in a place, to feel I have the right to make it my own… to actually move in.

Instead I camp in space. Living out of bags and boxes. Not wanting to make any mark on the space… as I know I will be moving on soon enough. For most people decorating a space is something they do straight away when they move in, usually with great relish. They don’t think twice about hanging a painting on the wall. Or painting the wall for that matter. For me it is such a serious move it takes a couple of years to get up the courage to give myself permission to make my mark, even in a small way.

It stems, I am sure, from a lifetime of moving between parent’s homes, boarding school rooms and rented accommodation. Space of my own is always borrowed, transient and can be reclaimed at a moment’s notice for someone else.

Mr Dreaming Aloud has no such bullshit in his brain – perhaps because of having had his own room in the same home for 20 years of his life. So he is happy to paint walls, put up shelves, heck even put up nails to hang paintings on.

Me, I only hang paintings where nails exist already.

And so, after three and a half years of living in our own home, I am finally getting settled in. Little by little. We have two of my paintings in our bedroom, one of which is actually hanging on a newly placed nail! My favourite books are on shelves by my bed. For me home is where my books and journals are.

And so today, emboldened by the successful launch of The Rainbow Way, I started phase one of “make my studio my own” .

Mr Dreaming Aloud helped once more – having heard me say umpteen times about wanting an armchair to curl up in brought one of ours from home up for me last week. And me…I have cleared out (most of) the boxes. I have (propped) the paintings that I want to look at. And my father gave me a little heater so that I do not freeze any more. I have cleared and tended my little creative altar. And intend to make myself a vision board above my desk, and get some lino to cover the tiled floor so I can paint without anxiety about ruining the beautiful tiles.

 Little by little I am taking up space. Making it a room of my own.

Though, I must be honest here, I have yet to put things into the cupboards – I can feel the nausea rise just at the thought of it.

Slowly, slowly I am taking up space.

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