Why is it important to identify safe spaces? I advocate for creating safe spaces for Black and Brown Womxn to gather and talk about mental health and spiritual wellness. Safe spaces have always been important to me, but I don’t think I fully understood until last week. Last week, work was being done in my apartment and I have had to work elsewhere. On Tuesday, I learned that the work was going to take the rest of the week. I only moved into my new home two weeks ago, so being displaced so suddenly during the COVID-19 pandemic left me feeling unsafe and invaded upon.
My home is carefully curated to ensure that I feel comfortable and safe in this time of uneasiness. Since a child, my bedroom was a sacred haven and a place to escape the cruelty of the outside world. Long story short, this week I ended up having an anxiety attack (and almost went to the E.R. – that is a whole other story). After having time to cry it out, sit with myself, and attend my therapy session I realized that I felt so much anxiety because I felt as if my safe space was being invaded.
What is a safe space?
A safe space can be a physical space, a virtual space, a mental state, even a person or a pet. A safe space is a space where you can feel at ease. In these spaces, you feel comfortable to be fully yourself, or just to be able to breathe, and a place where you can confront difficult thoughts and conversations. A judgment-free, loving zone.
Here are some of my safe spaces:
- My home
- Hosting Sailor Mooods Sister Circle
- In my “mind palace” – while in meditation
- Hugging my cat, Juji
- Therapy sessions
- Listening to music
- Watching the ocean
As you can see, a safe space can be more than physical. It is important to not only have multiple spaces but to include safe spaces that cannot be taken away from you – so mental/spiritual. There is a significance behind this. For example, last week when my physical safe space felt utterly invaded upon – I had no idea what to do. I based my happiness, my drive to get anything done, and my will to take care of myself on a place. Because my home was temporarily inhabitable, I stopped taking care of myself. because I thought: “what’s the point”? You can see the danger in this. We cannot solely depend on a place or person.
Why are safe spaces important?
They provide an oasis from all that troubles you. I strive to form relationships that promote safe spaces. In these relationships, I can show up as my truest self. When I can show up as myself I am able to communicate with others better – there is no hiding, walking on eggshells, or pretending.
Have you ever felt so alone and overwhelmed with your emotions? Have you ever felt as if no one could possibly understand you? Sometimes we can feel this way because we have not identified safe spaces/relationships. Growing up, I often felt this way. Partly due to being an angsty teen – but I just felt like no one “got me”. There were times when I was even younger and thought of myself as “Casper the Ghost”, I felt invisible and unnoticed.
Reflecting on this today, I can recognize that growing up I felt that I could not be myself. I did not feel safe so I tried to be what the people around me wanted me to be. I thought that if they knew who I really was they would be disappointed and dislike me. This caused me to bottle so much up and did not allow me to learn how to work through difficult emotions. My childhood is the exact reason why I created my sister circle. I wanted to curate a space where women could feel safe and comfortable to talk about the dark things that linger in their minds. Sometime’s getting it out and realizing that others feel or have felt the same is validating.
Your home/room as a safe space
Ensuring that your home or at least one room in your house is a space where you can let your guard down and be is crucial. In a past relationship, I lived in a tiny and overcrowded studio. I remember I needed just one space where no one would touch so I set up an altar on the microwave. When I say I would go off if anyone put anything on top of that microwave that did not belong. So maybe there were a few times I overreacted. But I had no room to get away from the people I was living with. My only sacred space was my altar.
Because I began feeling I had no safe space I began doing unsafe things – like storming out in the middle of the night because I could not take living and breathing in a room with three other people. I felt better going on walks late at night because there was no one around to look at me or speak at me. Alternatively I would go visit the ocean and just stare out at her for hours.
If you do not have a safe space in your home, safely find somewhere to go. I suggest being in nature. But remember, do not put yourself at risk even if physically you cannot get somewhere. This brings up again the importance of having a mental safe space
Creating your mental safe space
Mental safe spaces can be a lifesaver and there is no one way to create one. They are deeply personal. These safe spaces can be used even when you are in public to ground yourself and help you feel safe and protected. Mental safe spaces can be created during guided visualization meditations, listening to music that soothes you, fleeing to the pages of a book, and many mindfulness techniques. The secret is, a mental safe space is not a distraction. For example, scrolling through the endless reels on Instagram is not a safe space. That is avoidance.
A safe space’s purpose is to grant you peace of mind and help you ground yourself. Ultimately it will help you feel like yourself again – you’ll feel rejuvenated. If you’re reading this I bet you have some mental safe spaces that you have just not identified yet. But can you think of any?
Identify your safe spaces
Now it’s your turn. I hope that this blog post aligns and resonates with those who need it. I challenge you today to reflect what a safe space means to you and think about identifying them. Remember, there is no one way to have a safe space. It is truly up to you because after all, it is a place where you feel safe.
Looking for a virtual safe space? Be sure to check out and register for Sailor Mooods Sister Circle‘s every Monday at 6:30pm pst.