Have you ever felt physically too big for the space you take up?
I think I have spent so much of my life desperately trying to take up less space. I don’t know if it’s a woman thing we have been instructed to do and now it’s unconscious, but I’ve started to take notice of it. My whole life I have walked to walk with my hands hidden in my sleeves. I walk with my head down, feeling that people are looking at me, desperately feeling that I am taking up too much space. That people are looking at me because I am just so incredible huge, and judging me for it, despite the fact I’m pretty average sized – both weight and height.
I finally put words to it recently when I was sitting on a sofa with 3 other people and as I curled up, I found myself wishing that I could just be smaller, that I could fit neatly in the corner and didn’t have to be so big and ungainly. I always joke about wanting smaller boobs so I can wear bralets and different clothing that, let’s face it, bigger boobed ladies just either pour out of or look pregnant. I have always wished to be able to wear cuter clothes and have willed people to look where my body is not. I sleep in a small ball and if there’s ever a chance I will be smaller, I will.
I used to measure my waist every day with my hand span and judge it. I used to wish to be smaller because the boys I dated were only just taller than me and I worried about being too tall for them. Even now I joke daily about my boyfriend losing weight while eating McDonalds, and sometimes when I look at us together I wonder how he can look at me and not wish I were smaller.
I don’t know whether this came first or my personality came first, because some people have a big personality. They walk in a room and you know it, and it overwhelms you, or they astound you. I always try and keep my personality in check, keep it smaller. I feel that I am constantly modifying my personality depending on the situation I am in. If I can not say anything, I won’t. I will choose to be by myself rather than risk someone commenting on an aspect of myself, or how big I am, I bend over backwards to try and make sure everyone knows that I wish I was smaller. I make my opinions small, I make my voice small, I always make myself small. Now that I am really thinking about it, I feel that maybe I used to do it in school because I was one of the ‘clever’ ones, but in class if I got asked the answer, I would desperately wish it away. I didn’t want people looking at me or knowing that I knew the answer. At some points I wished my brain, my knowledge was smaller.
I wonder now if that’s why I can be quite awkward. Especially when I like someone, I try to fit into what I think they would want from me. I’m not good at just being openly me. I over-analyse every thing I say to try and match it what I think I should be saying, to how I think I should be. I have been honest before about how I struggle with expectations and this extends to the space I feel that I am taking up and putting pressure on myself for it.
I wish I could go back and tell little Rhianna that it’s okay to be bigger than other people. That the space you take up is your space to take, that is the space that has been given to you. You don’t have to apologise for the way you are and the air that you use. It’s now so ingrained in me that I don’t know how to shift it, and so I wish I could tell her that but it’s still something to remember now – to never feel guilty for the space you fill.
What would you tell your younger self if you could have that chance?
What I’m wearing:
Shirt: H&M Old (Similar)
Dress: H&M Old (Similar)