Confession: I’m addicted to taking up space


Illustration by Anika Vučićević

Madeline Kemp, Lactose Sensitive

I’ve thought about it, and this confession needs to be made publicly. Only recently did I start to notice my strange habit, and I am hoping it doesn’t get any further out of hand. 

I became aware of the space I was taking up when I thought I had been minding my own business, reading and stretching out my limbs. You can imagine my shock when I realized that I was splayed out like a starfish in multiple seats, bag fully unpacked, its contents covering the surface area of a small yoga studio. What shocked me even more than the initial surprise was the wave of satisfaction that followed. I am not proud of it, but I take a sick pleasure in occupying tons of space. 

I keep catching myself in the act, probably because it can so easily be done. Place an item near an empty table, and most people respectfully assume it is reserved. It works anywhere on campus, too: the dining hall, library, you name it. I spread out my materials like pawns on a chessboard, sectioning off space the size of a standard swimming pool, to ‘work’ completely alone. I sit back and watch as people grow increasingly desperate to find a place to settle, circling hopelessly. This is truly a thrill. A deep and twisted part of me enjoys witnessing their despair.

I could not tell you where this comes from. I love the movie “The Lion King” and that line “everything the light touches is yours, Simba,” really resonates. Maybe, I replace the void where friends should be with empty space I am unwilling to share with anyone. 

Broadcasting my affliction will hold me accountable to change – I will miss this sweet rush. I appreciate your patience with my effort toward self-improvement.