Learning to take up space as a woman can be difficult. I found having to constantly advocate for myself and rail against ingrained societal expectations in almost every aspect of my life to be incredibly draining. It was for this reason that I decided to go in the opposite direction – to stop trying to take up space, and start collapsing in on myself like a late-stage, dying star.
The shift was instantaneous: I went from trying not to minimize myself in work meetings to minimizing myself to such an extent that I self-imploded and created a point in space so dense that not even light could exist – let alone the PowerPoint deck I spent hours making that my coworker Daniel had attempted to take sole credit for. It was the ultimate form of self-advocacy.
I admit, at first, I felt like a failure for turning inward – for shrinking myself. But as I continued diminishing, I realized that while it is powerful to take up space, what’s even more powerful is collapsing inward so forcefully that you create an all-consumptive black hole that devours everything in your immediate vicinity. It freed me of all societal expectations – not to mention space, time, matter, and the laws of nature as we know them!
Now, instead of trying to stand my ground when a man refused to make room for me on the sidewalk – and potentially bumping into him in the process – I simply crushed my limbs so far inward that my own center of gravity collapsed in on itself, forging an event horizon beyond which all points in space-time cease to exist. In this way, not only did I avoid having to deal with facing down that man on the sidewalk, I made it so men and sidewalks no longer exist at all!
I’d call that a win!
By becoming so small that I created a hole in space-time, completely altering the fabric of our universe, I was able to transcend the patriarchy entirely. I no longer had to fight to make myself seen and heard – there was no longer a need for me to negotiate a salary raise just to make as much as my male counterparts. If the theories of physics cease to exist, then I think the pay gap is gone too!
Ultimately, I found channeling the self-destructive energy of an end stage dying star to be empowering – if only because I no longer had to regularly stop meetings to finish my sentence after being interrupted by my coworker Daniel. Even the existential uncertainty that comes with being sucked into a black hole is better than that.