I was reading a book yesterday and a piece of it struck me intensely. The character talked about living in between the empty spaces left by other people. Squishing herself in to fit the areas of the world unoccupied by others. Limiting herself to the spaces, to the experiences that others aren’t already using.
This resonated for me in so many ways. For so long I’ve thought that I couldn’t share the gifts or strengths of my siblings – my sister is the artist, so I’ve never even attempted anything artistic. My brother is the smart one, so I’ve never pushed to excel there either. And in the larger world of people outside my family, on some subconscious level I think I’ve tried to work around the lives of others. Thinking I was only allowed to exist in those empty spaces. I’ve realized that the success of others often affects me negatively – but I didn’t think that the reason might be because my brain saw their success and added it to the list of things that were now "taken". The space where they succeeded became already occupied with no room for me.
So I’ve been limiting myself to the empty spaces. I’m not sure whether I’ve been living in those empty spaces out of a desire to leave experiences and choices to those who clearly excel? Or whether it’s been out of politeness, an “excuse me, pardon me” kind of approach to living, not wanting to step on anyone else’s toes. Regardless of the reason, last night I realized that the limits I’ve put on what I can do and who I can be are illusions created by me. And because they are simply illusions, they can be shattered.
I envisioned myself as a pliable mass, contorted and squished into the odd and uncomfortable shapes left between others, like play-doh smashed down into tight spaces. But now, instead of staying there, I rise up above those spaces let myself stretch, experiment, play with whatever shape might feel right to me. It was a completely liberating vision. I want to stretch so far beyond those empty spaces I’ve been restricting myself to.
Because I finally realize, there ARE no limits.