Reveca Torres ReframedI wish I rode an ultra-light sexy wheelchair with a small turning radius, but I don’t. I traverse the world in a large, clunky, heavy power chair. It’s big, and together we take up a lot of space.

There was a time when my dimensions made me feel like I was in the way. I was embarrassed. I apologized for being there.

I was an inconvenience — an eyesore — a burden so big that all I wanted was to be invisible and disappear unnoticed. Taking up space was the last thing I wanted.

I am not sure how or when I started to realize that taking up space is wonderful, and I am deserving of it. If someone needs to get past me, they can wait for a moment while I move, and we can both exist in the world. No apologies needed.

Sometimes ignorant strangers get too close and I ask them to move and give me space. Sometimes when they see me coming down the hall, they move all the way to the other side, body up against the wall, attempting to give me room to pass … too much room … and I laugh.

It is not easy to take up space when so often the world implies we are not deserving. I don’t want to shrink anymore. I want to inhabit every room I enter with a confident presence. I want my voice to matter and to be allowed to feel happy, sad, angry or excited without judgment.

I am not there yet, so I will practice until I can take a breath and fill my lungs and then fill the room with my physicality and the power of my voice. There is space for all of us, and I will claim mine.