How much space do you take up in your relationships? When my therapist first asked me this question, I honestly didn’t know what the fuck to tell her. Taking up space is a complicated concept for me – well for all of us, I’d imagine. The pressure to minimize ourselves as women is overwhelmingly omnipresent – on a physical level, certainly, but also on an emotional one. For me, growing up in fat body (though I imagine this gets amplified 100x as we layer on additional intersections), I’ve spent the majority of my young adult life feeling like I had to compensate for my size by staying silent about any and all basic emotional asks. Instead, I served the emotional needs of others – being the confidant, the advice-giver, the outlet (read: receptacle) for external frustrations and sadness and vents. In many ways, doing this was strategic – a way for me to access value in a body deemed otherwise should go without. Attending to my own needs would mean jeopardizing feeling NEEDED – which, for a long time, was the best case scenario I thought my fat body would ever be able to hope for. The risks of being “selfish” – setting boundaries, saying no, voicing discontent, god forbid for a split second NOT being "chill” – were just too fucking high. In a fatphobic reality, having no needs at all was the best way I knew how to cope. But here’s the thing about needs guys: every single human being on this earth has them. You have needs. I have needs. WE ALL HAVE FUCKING NEEDS. And we deserve to have them – despite the myriad of ways this fucked up world will try to disempower us from making them known. A really shocking part of my recovery has been making the slow realization of how little I know about what my needs even are – 25 years of stifling them makes the thought of letting someone take care of me extremely uncomfortable. But asking this question – how much space am I taking up in my relationships? – is something I’m finding helpful. How much space do I take up in my relationship with my mom? My dad? My best friends? My ex-boyfriend? The answers are pretty revealing.