Wallflower space

When you walk down the street, do you move aside when someone is coming toward you? Or do you just keep going, figuring they’ll move?

When you sit on a bus, do you take whatever seat there is? Or do you find one that won’t encroach on someone else?

I move. I find the least difficult seat.

I’ve been thinking about the way I take up space on this little planet. Mainly because I’ve been going to the pool, which is good for the pain in my hips. When I’m there, I take the lane closest to the wall, where I can take up the least amount of space. If I can’t I get anxious. I don’t want to encroach.

Often, while I’m dithering on the steps about where to slot in, or whether I should just give up and go away, someone else will pass me and just go for it. They clearly feel the right to work out like the other folks and have no compunction about taking up space.

Why do I feel like I have less of a right to physical space? Clearly there are other issues at work, and I’m having a little perusal of those. I’d say it’s a gender thing too, that women are taught to take up less space. But in the pool women don’t seem to follow that edict, so I’m not sure it holds in every case.

Maybe it’s a wall flower thing. I prefer to blend into the woodwork overall anyway, and taking up space means not doing so.

Do you take up space? Do you own it? Or do you give it up?

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6 thoughts on “Wallflower space

  1. I used to be very conscious of not taking up space when I was younger. Nowadays, not so much. Not that I’m pushy, but I am very clear about ‘claiming MY space’, and honouring that claim.

    I agree with you though, that women are socialised into it before they can even walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been conscious (self conscious) of how much space I occupy my entire life. As a small child it was because I was aggressively socialized to be quiet, small and unobtrusive, both because of my youth and because I was a girl. As I grew older, I was constantly being told (directly and indirectly) that I was too big, too loud, too weird and not entitled to all the physical and emotional space required to contain me. Now that I’ve accepted myself (mostly) and have a measure of success that permits more ‘luxury’ in more aspects of life, I find it easier to occupy the space I need. For example, when I’m dressed well, feel stylish and clean and sharp, I don’t feel as much of an imposition on those around me. Whereas, when I was younger and poorer and just making do and not as easily presenting as my true butch self, I felt like much more of an intrusion on society, a messy blotch that imposed on people, so I tried to as invisible and compressed as possible. I failed miserably most of the time. I still move aside, try to take up the least space as possible, but more for my comfort rather than because I feel I don’t deserve it.

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