Being Small – Spaces

When you’re small you can fit into small spaces. I know when I was young this was a great advantage when playing hide and seek. I was good at hide and seek not because I was clever but because I was small and could hide. I don’t know that I was so good at seeking. When everyo9ne ran away I was not all that interested in trying to find them. They were gone and that didn’t really bother or motivate me so much.

Hiding wasn’t just for games. In a large family it was essential for solitude. Our house had a dual sliding door closet near the back of the house. The closet had some shelves and was filled with typical domestic things like blankets and winter coats and table cloths and such objects. One half of the closet floor was devoted to shoes. Mostly shoes that had been outgrown or grown out of favor or we’re seasonal. I am sure there were a handful of unmatched shoes that could have been parted with but sorting through the old shoes was never a priority. The bottom shelf above the shoes was about 18 inches off the floor. It was tight fit but not so tight that my pre-school self couldn’t just slide under the shelf onto the pile of lumpy shoes and slide the door back shut.

And so, I was alone there, a simple and rare luxury in a large family. I still remember the smell of the old shoes. Other places presented themselves to a small one for hiding. In the winter I would hide in the basement in a small slice of real estate between the furnace and the water heater. Small, cozy and warm. A bit like a womb I suppose.  Even now there are times when overwhelmed by the world I have a desire to sneak into the basement and hide in a corner to keep the noise of the world at bay. Just the thought if doing that often has a soothing affect.

Though sometimes being small has its drawbacks, especially if you have a conniving older sister. I am sure I was often her Linus and she was my Lucy. I’ll give her props for being persuasive. She could convince me to crawl into a suitcase which she would then close and torture me a bit before she let me out. I suppose I was to feel grateful that she let me out. I must admit I was probably grateful.

But I was not grateful the time she convinced me to crawl in the dryer and turned it on. Rump-a-tump-thump. As I recall it only spun a few times and either she turned it off or my legs knocked the door open. I’d like to imagine she panicked from all the noise and was more worried the dryer would break than me.

There are drawbacks to being small as an adult too. The number of attics I’ve crawled through to install insulation or pull wiring or who knows what else is countless. People can take advantage of that or make assumptions. I suppose it was on me to resist. Sometimes I do.

Having a small psychological footprint can be helpful as well. You can’t always send in the big personalities to address delicate things. Bulls in china shops. Sometimes an unintrusive personality is best, less threatening. Perhaps people open up more. You’re one of them. You can move among them, go into places big personalities can’t.

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