Confidence, Space, and being Upfront

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Creating Space

As I reflect on my Upfront journey so far, it strikes me how the concept of confidence has shifted for me.  I once envisaged confidence like a soaring skyscraper, a proud statue, or a towering oak tree. Firm foundations, stature, unwavering, grounded solidity, a ‘centredness’. Unapologetically visible: not just having a right to be there, but knowing in their core that by nature they are designed to be there; to be seen, to be used, to be signposted, to be celebrated.

I suppose, on the one hand, my aspiration for those qualities has not completely diminished. As I move forward in my Upfront journey, I know that a grounded and centred inner trust in myself, my opinions, and my value will provide a steady and stable terrain for my quest towards confidence.


But now, I am also seeing more than that. I am seeing the significance and the worth in the in-between, the magic in The Space.


My space was – is – somewhat confined. A box with glass ceiling and chalked borders. Some days, it felt like more than enough room to live in, and the safety of those limits was comforting. Other days, it was closing in on me, suffocating. I was like a trapped cat, climbing inside seemingly of my own volition, then frustrated and confused at the perceived restriction.


I willed the space I took up to be smaller. How can I shrink my body? Hunched shoulders, sucked-in tummy, decades with one eye on calories.


I would give away my mental and emotional space to others. Like a human Venn diagram, always mindful of the overlap, preoccupied with my impact on their emotions, their needs, and their comfort.


Waiting for permission to take up space. Falling to the back of the queue, letting others overtake (figuratively and literally!), waiting to speak, waiting to be offered a seat. Waiting for the waves to part.


I can feel the shift now. I can feel a release as the space expands around me.

Creating space for me. Space in my day to rest, to reflect, to be selfish.

Space to hold my own boundaries instead of being pushed up against their cold, hard cement.

Space to think, to notice, to choose differently.

Space to stop and… actually…just…not say sorry… or “does that make sense”?

Space to breathe.

Space to breathe. To pause. To dictate the pace.

Using the physical space around me, standing taller, wider.

Space to be on stage, on a big red sofa.

Space to fail. Space to woohoo!

Space to skateboard! To test, to try, to actively seek a clear road to safely roll down with acceptance and self-compassion cushioning any falls like the emotional equivalents of knee pads.

Space to talk, to take up time, take up attention.

Space to tell my story and know that there is abundant room for mine alongside everyone else’s.

Space for my success, and your success and their success. Plenty of space. 

Space to connect. Space for community.

Space to expand, and to keep expanding into infinity, like the universe is inside me.

Multiplying space.

The more space we take up, the more space we create. More space to grow, to rise up and to make room for others.

Thank you Lauren and the whole Upfront team for creating this space, and all the space.

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