I braved Costco today, you know, the classic “I’m going to get a couple things” and you come out with a cart full? Yep. Again.
I’m not a fan of crowds, so sometimes it takes a lot out of me to head over there. Thankfully the front half of the store was fairly sparsely populated. It wasn’t until the end that the carts picked up, with folks parked every which way waiting for their tasty morsel of pizza/pasta/asparagus tips (really people? asparagus tips?)
I was rounding the end of an aisle when there was a bit of a traffic jam. An older woman and her husband appeared to have the right of way, and so I paused to let them pass. She smiled warmly and ushered me out of the aisle and waited patiently for me to go ahead. She was kind. Her presence gentle and soft (which, might I add, is not always the vibe I give off at Costco.)
When I realized I’d forgotten an item on my list, I ended up again in an aisle with that same kind woman. I apologized for needing to get up in her space as I reached for an item beyond her, and she proceeded to gently scold me, “No need to apologize! It’s a beautiful day. I woke up this morning, and that is just great.”
I smiled, felt myself soften, and carried on. But this woman’s kindness and gentle reminder was poignant, and I found myself reflecting on it since I left the store.
I had apologized for taking up space. Oops.
This is not my favorite practice – and one that I definitely try and avoid. Yet sometimes, often if I’m feeling tired, or weary, or vulnerable, or kind of sort of like hiding, then I see the way language can change and how I shy away from holding my own shape. I make less eye contact. I apologize. I hover on the edge of a room. This woman kindly reminded me who I was, that it was okay for me to be there, and that I didn’t have to apologize for taking up some room.
It was such a gift of my day, this woman who held out space for me and ushered me into it. In doing so, she affirmed me as a human in ways that felt powerful and poignant.
Perhaps I’m not the only one who could use a reminder today. Please know that you, too, have every right to be here. The space that you hold in the world is sacred and valuable. You don’t need to apologize for being you, for having needs, or taking up room.
It’s a beautiful day. Wishing you eyes to see all the secret and small spaces beauty is hidden.