Updated: Jun 15
This older white man sat next to me in the train today and demanded space.
He sat down in the space a little to small for him next to me with the expectation that I would yield.
The first thought that came to my mind was an indignant, “No.”, accompanied by very strong feelings of how dare he.
When he demanded my space, my first response wasn’t to cower and adjust, it was to defend. This is a big deal for me, because yielding has always been my initial reaction, but to be able to not only maintain, but defend my space.
*pats self on the back* Hello growth!
Don't get me wrong, he tried. He tried to push himself into the space that was a little too small for him, without an "excuse me" or any kind of acknowledgement that I was already existing in the space. But once he realized that I would not yield, he relaxed and adjusted himself to fit the space available.
This is important. Allowing yourself to exist comfortably in a space you already occupy should be your initial and natural response.
I didn't yell. I didn't push him, I didn't even expand my presence to include the little space that was available. I just did not give him access to the space that I already was existing in. I did not allow him to make me feel guilty for just existing.
But why make a blog post about what, in the grand scheme of things, is an inconsequential interaction with a stranger in a public space?
Because it's really not. It is an interaction representative of my growth as I navigate how to exist fully and unapologetically.
This is a reminder to stop making yourself smaller because it makes others comfortable.
In Christ and in life.
God will make space for you, but it will always be your responsibility to occupy it.
*S|N: He fell asleep a couple of stops in, and ended up taking up less space. Which goes to show that he didn’t need the space, he was just used to getting it.
How do you occupy your space? Sound off in the comments below: