The space between my strides

While billionaires are busy tickling the heavens with their aluminum airborne erections, I am just trying to take it step by step.

I never felt like taking up much space. When you grow up as one of the smaller kids in your age group, you automatically live in your very own stratosphere. It’s usually not one you share, there is not much space and really just about enough oxygen to entertain one. But it’s in people’s weird nature to step into whatever stands out, creating harmful holes in my very own ozone while they do so. I’m not talking about bullying here, something my atmosphere has always been quite resistant towards. No, it’s more about the penetrating force of well meant, but often misguided love. You see love is a monkey with a gun, a kid with a laser light & a t-rex at a gas station. Difficult to regulate and for some people even harder to tolerate. I was one of those people. I couldn’t take ‘compliments’ well. At least not when I thought that they were out of place, which they most often were. Many innocent & sweet sounding words, plummeted into my personal orbit, like an asteroid from outer space. It did not belong here and it for sure wasn’t received very well. Here are a couple of those asteroids by name:

‘This will be easy for you’, ‘you’re gonna do great things’ or my personal favorite: ‘We are already so proud of you’.

By now you must be thinking, that doesn’t sound that bad, in contrary, that is pretty sweet. You’re absolutely right, the sweet intentions pour out on all sides but that’s the thing with intentions, they usually only work well within your own stratosphere and therefore, we think it can only do well within others. Wrong.

In my space, where I make the rules and abide by them, these words are not understood as they would be elsewhere. They are not grand gestures of appreciation or belief, they are belittling words of false entitlement destined to keep me exactly where I was.

Me, aged “5 or so”. (source: Mother)

I fixed the holes, stopped looking for falling stars and looked forward into the distance. My space grew and so did I. step by step, I crossed kilometers and increased centimeters. My space was no longer a tiny ecosystem revolving around what it contained. It had become a place for others to visit, as long as they swallowed their asteroids. This space thrived on the soil it was built on and what belonged to the sky, should remain there.

As I’ve been walking my way in life, I noticed my space growing by the step. People step in and out from time to time, leaving either joyous memories or suffocating dust behind. Luckily, dust fades quickly if you keep a tidy ship and the horizon once again becomes the next destination. My steps increased in tempo and so did my learning curve.

Not all compliments are out there to bite you in the behind. Perhaps a thick atmosphere is a toxic one. Because all that you keep in, can’t get out either. Perhaps a thinner layer will do. Perhaps the layer is only there because it was once necessary. But the best protection always laid right in front of me: the next step. As long as you move forward, you can’t be held back, no matter how big the asteroid, or however small the distance is.

What I figured out in the end, is that it’s not the space around me so much or what comes falling down from the sky, as it is about the space between my strides that has made me who I have become. Let’s move on.

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