Finding Your Safe Space

 

 

Safety: the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.

OK.

We understand this, and we’re taught from a young age how to implement this.

But, once we get older that line seems to blur, doesn’t it? We think we get it, we think we’ll find those places, those people that will ensure our safety. Then we face a dilemma:

Where can safety be found? How can I get to safety? What if I can’t get to safety?

That’s scary, I know that. Which is why I emphasize now, please,

Find your safe spaces.

If you think I take this lightly and write this piece at 100 words per minute to fulfill a quota acceptable to whoever reads this, I don’t. I never write for acceptance from another. I do not expose myself because I like the wind against my skin. This concept of ‘safe spaces’, sanctuaries, whatever you call it cannot be ignored. And frankly, now, in 2018 where ‘fine’ is that new catchphrase where no one seems to know what it really means, where does that safety get pushed?

Apparently the “I” in “life” is not enough anymore.

 

Here’s the thing:

You will listen to my stories and you will think whatever you will of them. You will then wonder what YOU can do about finding your safe spaces. What must be remembered is two things (to start):

  1. There is no safe space more powerful, nor more permanent than within yourself, your own body, your own mind. This is the hardest to establish, that sort of lifelong process that seems intimidating, but really only requires your personal investment.

  2. Safe spaces will come with time, safe spaces will change, but safe spaces are ALWAYS available to you. As someone who always has to make sure of this fact, for myself, you can trust me on this.

And as a third anecdote, you’ll be reading the phrase ‘safe space’ a lot. Shocker I know.

 

My stories, my main building blocks, go as such:

 

My religion:

When I am in my synagogue, my teal Jerusalem tallit symbolizes my immersion in Jewish prayer, tefillah.

When I hold onto my prayer book, my siddur, I close my eyes as my head goes towards the clouds in silent recitation.

When the walls of the sanctuary reverberate with the sounds of true intention, kavanah, I cannot think of anything but how proud I am of my Judaism and my relationship to God, HaShem.

When each word is whispered, said, or shouted it is meditation for this unstable mind, returning to equilibrium with my soul, my spirit, nafshi.

When I hear prayer, when I see kavanah, I feel that safe space around me and within me; no wine cup can extinguish this flame.

 

My story:

When I talk about mental health, I turn on social media when others turn it off.

When I remind myself that I cannot use Instagram as #darkthoughts but I need to uplift myself, #recovery and #iamstrong because #bodypositivity never goes out of style

When #slipping is the understanding that the #vulnerability I spoke proudly of in my graduation speech is a #virtue for which I will gladly post those #selfies and #powerposes as that is where I find my peaceful, free of criticism, free of fear mental space.

When I write journal entries or the chapters of a novel, I remind myself with every word, every letter that there is a purpose in what I say, in what I write for MYSELF. No one can dictate what my journal says I do not give any person or entity that control.

No longer never again.

When I present to others my personal past, I emphasize the good because the sadness may be deep, the darkness may be immense, but it sometimes must be felt in order for the journey towards freedom, towards life to shine the brightest.

When I say ‘mental health’ no number of likes or #hashtags or compliments on how brave I am for saying what others are unable to say or afraid to hear will suffice or matter because this is MY safe space, a safe place for me, for you, for ALL of us to be welcomed, heard, and understood at the core of our being.

 

 

My person:

When I am in a room, alone by myself alone with my thoughts but I am not because I am with the person that I trust.

When I am sitting crying in front of the person who doesn’t judge me for being #vulnerable though I at that moment am not practicing what I preach as my mind is going too fast to even consider that.

When I am pacing around the room quickly but the person is pacing with me because my pain is their pain.

When I am sitting in denial allowing my sickness to talk through me but during one of many 30 minutes talks the person talks past it as they understand when it is not me talking.

When I am allowing my sickness to talk through me and for one of many 30 minutes the person talks right back at it with threats as they understand the real me is scared and wants my disorder to go away.

When I am sitting with this wonderful smile on my face discussing the future now that I am healthy and the person smiles back.

When the person no longer has anything to worry about but they will if they have to.

When the person is not with me but they don’t have to be anymore, not all the time; I am establishing my personal, internal space.

When you establish a support system those safe spaces transcend the tangible boundaries of a place.

 

So,

Where can safety be found? How can I get to safety? What if I can’t get to safety?

That’s scary, I know that.

Before we consider any of this we have to stop. We have to think for ourselves. You cannot think for me and I cannot think for you, both of those are clear. This being said, what we can do is search our minds for those times we felt safe. That person we felt safe with. Those moments when our authenticity glowed, and yeah maybe sometimes when we did like the wind against our skin because, man, can we talk about how good that liberation feels?!

To me, safety is not only about feeling protected but feeling no barrier standing between the rest of the world and who you wish to truly be. No Instagram filters nor the need for the explanation on why I’m ‘so transparent’ with these stories.

 

Safety: sometimes that line seems to blur, doesn’t it? We think we get it, we think we’ll find those places, those people that will ensure our safety. Then we face a dilemma -

There, that’s where this inner dialogue has to stop. It stops at that dilemma and it stops when we begin to question whether those safe spaces exist at all.

 

Which is why I emphasize now,

Please,

Find your safe spaces.