Creating Space… Even When It Feels Like an Awkward First Date

There was a period of time that I had feelings of anger and bitterness and resentfulness over my former state of workaholism . But, at the end of the day, I’m proud of myself for not staying there. I’m proud that I fought my way out of those feelings.

At the very least, I found the strength to give myself space.

Does that phrase even make sense? Is space something you can possess, give away, or take ownership of?

Space is an interesting concept. It’s always there and yet it’s not. Its as if you literally have to say to it, “You belong here and even though you’ll be here whether I acknowledge you or not, I’m relenting to you. Space, you are welcome here."

Too abstract?

When I first started practicing the space exercise, I remember walking around my empty, undecorated house and just sort of moping around. Going from one object to the next. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to do - I had tons of unfinished projects around the house. I had tons of regular work I could be doing, too. (Read: I still do). But, this was the first time I had had space. And I was freaking out. I didn’t know what to do with my time, with my space, with my hands.

I’m going to go a step further and compare space to an awkward first date. You know that feeling of meeting someone for the first time and it just feels incredibly forced and awkward? Whatever you do, you strive to keep the conversation going, you think to yourself, because GOD FORBID there be a moment of awkward silence. Of nothingness.

That’s what space is.

It’s that first awkward silence with someone (or in this case, something) that you’ve just met. Where you’re both so aware of being around each other, but you don’t know enough about each other to have anything else to say.

"Space, it’s nice to meet you," you say. Although you’re secretly gritting your teeth and thinking about how you’d rather be anywhere but there in that moment.

But here’s the thing: you know when you press through that awkwardness and build a really close relationship with someone? The kind where periods of silence aren’t awkward at all, but welcomed and warm… a feeling of great comfort shared between you both?

That’s space, too. Exact same guy. You’ve just gotten to know him a little better.

When I first said, "Space. I want to get to know you. I want to make time and room and a place for you"… it was awkward. So awkward.

I had no idea what to do. I had no idea where to begin. I literally could have made myself so busy organizing my closets and never replied to Space’s awkward texts ever again. But, instead…. I sat with him. I endured the long awkward pauses.

Truth be told, I got on noise trade and downloaded some music.

I found Ellie Holcomb’s song As Sure As the Sun and bawled in my kitchen as she sang the most beautiful promise over me.

It felt awkward. I felt like I should be doing more with my time. Something. Anything. But every time, it was like Space’s over protective mother whispering to me, “Just give him some more time. You’ll get used to him."

And the weirdest thing happened: I did.

I embraced the awkward silences. I made it through the small talk. Soon, we knew enough about each other that we enjoyed each other’s company.

And now, though I can’t believe I’m even saying this - Space feels like the most natural thing in the world to me.

I can sense when I’m agreeing to something merely out of obligation or when I’m about to take on too much. And I take a step back. I have nothing to prove and nobody to impress any more. I made space my boo. We have fought for each other and we’re in this together. And it’s all (probably) going to be okay.

If you’re reading this and think it sounds nice but feel hopeless with no idea where to begin in this process, I’ll leave you with a question to think about that a friend & I were discussing this week:

“What are things I’ve chosen to spend my time on because I was scared and/or trying to create security for myself?"