As a dancer and someone who has grown up surrounded by design and an appreciation for catering to and creating products for making beautiful spaces, I’m familiar with the importance of (personal) space and how valuable it can be. Cultivating a space for myself in all aspects of life is something I’ve always been drawn to and found important for my mental health, and I think that especially in the context of our complicated current social and political realities, it’s important to create a space—in something like mindfulness or in a physical aspect of your life—to create for yourself.
Space plays a huge role in how I go about life. I have to be conscious of space and the ways in which I move through it and manipulate it when I dance. I have also always been extremely aware of my surrounding spaces and have taken it close to heart, including redecorating my room a gazillion times (my sun is in Virgo and I’ve definitely learned that it shows).
From a super young age, I’ve also always known when a space just wasn’t feeling right. Be it a reaction to the way something felt, or looked, or even something’s energy. The visual elements in the composition of a space which you think is satisfying go hand in hand with how a space can make you feel or an emotional space you might need or be experiencing. Space is so personal and so subjective.
In connection to this thought, I’ve had a lot of recent conversations touching on the idea that especially in our current reality—pandemic, politics, social media—space and navigating our personal definitions of what it means is especially important. Throughout the pandemic I think we’ve all observed so much re-evaluation of values regarding topics like mental health and work/school life: people questioning what we thought to consider “normal” - like the physical/mental grind of commuting and working at a desk in an office/classroom. I’ve also noticed the reinvention of spaces and how so many people I know have made changes after experiencing being at home so much more. This has meant changing the throw pillows on the couch that you’ve looked at way too much, to re-doing a bedroom, adding a home office, or even moving out of the city to a place with literally more space.
And from this I’ve further developed my values regarding space - that it’s healthy to practice paying more attention to what type of space we might need based on our circumstances. Stepping outside for a mental break and watching the stars - space. Tuning into our emotional needs - space. Surrounding ourselves with and finding things (big or small details) that make us aesthetically/visually - space.
The word space has a meaningful versatility. I first thought of it as having seemingly separate definitions, yet in my reflection I realize it has the ability to be thought of as a whole. Space can mean literal outer space, air and one’s surrounding environment, a need or desire, or even a room. All of which can be connected to each other, and space will always be present in or around us. How do you define space?
- Marlo is a dancer and artist who lives between Upstate NY and Berkeley, CA and is studying at Berkeley High in the 10th grade.