Belonging and Learning To Take Up Space

Michelle Hopewell

Actor/Writer at Funemployment
Black British, faith filled, curvy actress with a love for food, great music, good movies, life changing literature and awkward moments.

Latest posts by Michelle Hopewell (see all)

Belonging and learning to take up space

When we are very, very small and the world has not yet gotten to us, we believe, unless told otherwise, without a shadow of a doubt that we belong and that we can do anything.

The idea of taking up space used to be a concept I absolutely could not comprehend. I didn’t want to be seen and I certainly didn’t want to be heard. I did my best to squeeze myself into the smallest of places. I didn’t want to be anything but a gentle breeze because that’s how people wanted me to be right?

They needed me to be all soft features and voice and ideas and opinions, to match my equally soft body. You stay in this little corner and in this little box because you are this sex, this colour, this shape, this size and pretty soon you wind up feeling like there is no place you can go to exist.

I found I came into being whenever I listened to music or sang or read or watched movies or saw a piece of theatre. It was like a light would go on in me and suddenly the invisible girl was visible, even for the shortest of time, she was suddenly there again and I could live, but then it would end and the light would go out.

Darkness once more, but there was more light coming.

The body positive movement was that other light, and coupled with all the things that I love, it meant that finally, the light wasn’t going out so easily any more. It was starting to turn on and stay on.

A sense of belonging is important, taking up space is important and knowing we are enough is important. Along the way the things that support these truths are what help us grow into that next level of our lives. Here are some of those things:


1. Self Care – This the ultimate act of self acceptance and acknowledgement. When you take the time to get to know yourself and to care for yourself you are saying: you are enough, you are worth knowing, you are worth caring for and that is the gift of belonging to ourselves.


“Self care is never a selfish act – It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on this earth to offer to others.” – Parker Palmer.


2. Purposeful Actions – Be deliberate when taking up space! Instead of choosing the easy option, the default option, make a bolder choice to step out and be brave. When you’re in that class, sit at the front instead of at the back. When you’re ordering that thing make a definite choice to speak up so that you can be heard. Whether its cleaning out your room or giving a talk in front of a whole bunch of people, be purposeful and unapologetic about being there and being present.


“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and they day you find out why.” – Mark Twain


3. Do Something That Scares You – There are a whole host of things that actually put the terror in me and I am conquering those things one at a time. Life is too short for us to stay in a little bubble that has been created for us or that we have created for ourselves out of fear. We learn our greatest lessons when we are out of our comfort zone and challenging ourselves. So pick something, big or small today that scares you but that’s going to push and challenge you to grow!


“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Agatha Christie


4. Find Your Community – It matters who you surround yourself with. It is possible to have great relationships in some seasons in our lives, and for those same relationships to turn toxic when we enter into a different season. It’s so important you surround yourself with people who are excited to be part of your journey and who are there to encourage you and vice versa. We need to know that we can be building each other up and not tearing down. Not all the relationships we start off with our capable of handling that. Its always quality of quantity. So while you’re community might not end up looking like the first unattainable pilot episode of friends, you should be aiming to have people in your life championing healing in your life!


“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki


5. Letting Go Of The Past – We could spend our whole lives living in the past and our past circumstances. We could spend the rest of our lives grieving what was lost, how we were treated, and the ways we’ve been hurt, but there comes a time when we must leave the past and move through the present and look to the future. Until we get our hands on a Tardis, we cannot rewrite the past, and even then, we shouldn’t want to because its informing us and growing us. Forge forwards and dare to let go of the issues you tying you down or hiding you away from the person you are allowed to be.


“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” – M Kathleen Casey


Nobody puts baby in the corner comes to mind when I think of how we are all searching to belong.  We are in the world but we are not strictly of this world. We are made of all of these complex, divine and beautiful things, and all of those things come together to create you, and so you are very much existing right here.

You are belonging right now.

You are alive and it is wonderful.

Now go take up some space. Go make some noise. Go spread some love.

Michelle Hopewell
Michelle Hopewell

Black British, faith filled, curvy actress with a love for food, great music, good movies, life changing literature and awkward moments.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


Leave a Reply