Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy


Feeling like there’s not enough space and nowhere to go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 5:54 pm

(This post is part of a series of daily letters from me to my future children reporting from the emerging paradigm.)

Dear Kids:

I went to the grocery store today and I had a meltdown I have not had since I lived in a city–going on 8 months now. It would happen a lot in New York City the 11 years I lived there, and occasionally in Los Angeles. The meltdown is when I feel like there’s not enough space to be a person and it seems like there’s nowhere for me to “be” that isn’t “in the way.”

I have to think that thin people experience this, too, but my experience of feeling like there’s not enough space has everything to do with being fat. This happens in stores where the aisles are small, big crowds of people, restaurants that are too crowded, having wait staff hitting your chair a bunch. Basically for me, it’s feeling like there’s not enough space and nowhere for me to go.

No one in my life has ever clocked me for this but frequently if we arrive at a party together you’ll eventually find me entirely outside. My threshold for dealing with crowds has been waning steadily over the years. I remember a house party in Brooklyn (the worst for feeling like there’s anyplace to be that’s not in the way) where there were easily a hundred people crushed into a living room, a backyard that was filling up fast and the only exit through the front door via that crushing crowd.

Once I get to the point of feeling the meltdown of “there’s nowhere to be” I take deep breaths and get myself out of there. Today at the grocery store was NOTHING compared to NYC lifestyles but it stopped me from finishing my shopping. I just went right to the checkstand and started solving for next time.

I’m a fan of evaluated experience and today’s evaluation was: What factors lead to the grocery store feeling so crowded? What can I do differently?

I already make sure when I go to town I am not in a time crunch because going slow is the way to stay safer during a pandemic. I typically find a time block that I’m not already using for work and slide in there. However, Friday afternoon in a town that has a swell of population in the summer and lots of tourism is probably a popular time to go to the grocery store. I could choose to go in on a Tuesday morning. It means I can’t see clients that morning but it does mean I won’t feel boxed in or frustrated by too many people.

It used to be this feeling would land me in being frustrated about my fat body. Now that I’m of the mind that all bodies are good bodies and we take up the space we’re meant to, it didn’t even get to that for me today. I was just frustrated at the volume of people at a typically pretty chill food co-op. The problem is not a body size the problem is a world that is crowded and not built for actual human diversity.

I don’t know what wisdom I have to share from this, except to just remember what you have control over and what you don’t. That it’s okay to occasionally abandon plans when it feels like the circumstances aren’t aligning. If you develop your psychic abilities your crowd tolerance will likely wane. That you get to decide how you feel about crowds, parties, circumstances and follow your gut instincts always–I got out of that dangerous Brooklyn house party ASAP. And don’t stick around parties that don’t have enough fire exits.



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