I spent the last two days snowed in at my sister's house. It wasn't a bad place to be, considering her endless supply of junk food, Cher wig (for laughs) and the fact that she's the perfect companion for movie marathons and cabin fever. Despite all of the fun, I felt suffocated and anxious. I wanted to hop in my car and drive, an event made impossible by the 4 foot snow drift blocking the road. When I finally, finally made it back to my small but clean apartment tonight I felt my entire body exhale. I walked around, marveling at how despite its moderate size, my apartment, with its pale yellow walls and minimalist decor made me feel like I could stretch and breathe. Like suddenly, I'd been transported to an Iowa field in late summer. So strong is this urge for space (both physical and emotional) that I don't even feel like myself when I lack it. I remember traveling through the Ecuadorian countryside while studying abroad there. Inside our bus, I was crammed between feisty college students looking to get wasted. Outside, we endured multiple forced stops due to mud, llama crossings and fallen timber. I felt so trapped by my situational anxieties, brought on by physical roadblocks and my rowdy peers, that I could hardly appreciate the natural beauty we encountered.
Since Ecuador I've been more vigilant of my space. I've made sure to avoid situations that leave me feeling trapped within myself. I would like to say that my heart remains open and that my soul has enough room to breathe no matter where I am. That I'm so flexible that my heart can swell even in the tiniest of spaces. But some days are better than others. Sometimes the sheer uncertainty of a present situation makes me want to scream. Some days the best I can do is retreat to my apartment, my sacred space, and silence my heart, striving to feel a hopeful openness that nothing and no one can touch.