taking up space

In the past few months, I’ve binned donated 10 bags of clothes and shoes, sold an iPad on eBay, and de-cluttered my bookshelf by passing any book that isn’t nailed down on to friends who might need or want them. I’m trying to make space for the next decade of shit. There’s a world of gift shop tat out there just waiting for me. I’ve not gone all minimalist in the ‘now all my belongings fit into a Waitrose jute bag’ sort of way. But the cathartic kind of spring clean that happens once every few years, not at all every spring.

I think the binning is necessary, by the way. I’m not trying to sell anyone on this as ‘kooky’ behaviour. My desk still has too much on it, and I still forget to bin magazines every week until I find them under the sofa, or stacked in threes on the coffee table. But having a permanent home for the first time in a long while, having stability, is making me bunker down. I’m being a recluse, though one that keeps in touch. It’s easy really, making space at home. Now I’m buzzing every morning to drink coffee on the sofa, to come home and spend more time drinking coffee on the sofa, to stay up late reading or watching TV. To feel absolutely un-stifled by the shit I never needed, and by the idea that what I do outside of the home is what really matters.

Loveheart shaped cake
I’m baking for fuck sake! What’s happening?

Clearing space and taking up space are kind of the same thing. I’m making room for my home life to exist, in a way that I’ve never focused on before. I’ve always looked towards the next thing coming, studying, finding a new job, you name it. What all this clearing has led me to is that it’s so much harder to take up space in other settings. Not tucked into bed at a friend’s house with the telly left on all night – that’s easy. But working in – even imagining – professional spaces as ones you’re entitled to be in is the new de-cluttering. I’m telling you, it’s the next big thing and it’s near impossible. How am I supposed to declutter all of my own ideas about about what I’m supposed to do? Using my education, or even trying to figure how I possibly could in the work place feels frivelous when there are bills to pay and the world is dying.

Why can I not mentally make space for myself in situations I already have space in? Education is the biggest one for me, maybe because I’m thinking about it so much as I come to the end of my MA. My dissertation is due in two weeks. It’s such a privilege to have the means and the opportunity to be self-indulgent enough to do a Creative Writing masters. But thinking back over my last four years of education, I can’t avoid the insecurity and feeling of being an imposter who has blagged my way into a setting I have no right or reason to be in. If anything, as I attempt to allow myself to exist in these professional and academic settings, I hope I’m sort of entering a season of thinking less. At least about all the wrong things, the thoughts that slow me down when I’m being productive or throwing things at the wall and trying to come to an understanding. I need to be making time to practice this – either in the morning or in a meeting.




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