As an adult, my secret little safe space has always been a bedroom closet. Nobody could get to me, find me, hear me or see me when I disappeared behind the door to my closet.
While I was married in my early 20’s, I lived in a small two-house with closets just big enough for me to hide in. I built a wall of shoe boxes in that closet and whenever I felt my life threatened, I dashed behind that wall of boxes for safety.
Later in my life, when I was a single mother, I bought a four-bedroom home for my sons and I to live in. I made sure my master bedroom had a walk-in closet big enough for me to stand or lay down in. When I didn’t know how I was going to make ends meet financially, or when my children’s father would disappoint them again, I took 15-minutes aside to kneel down in my closet and pray for guidance, scream or cry my eyes out until there was nothing left to purge.
Over time, I started to see my closet as a safe space I could process emotions that I thought to be toxic and ugly. I never wanted to be a burden on anyone. Even in my darkest days of surviving horrific abuse, I would sit in my closet, in the dark, to handle living in fear rather than reach out to someone to ask for help.
Despite my claustrophobia, whenever I sat in a small enclosed closet I felt protected. I felt taken care of. I looked at it as my support team and I would purge the feelings I couldn’t stand to harbor anymore. The closet was the only place I could really purge and find release in.
Throughout my life, the various bedroom closets I’ve owned have been my hideaway to survive abuse, support my son through cancer, recreate myself after a divorce and thrive as a single mother.
Gratefully, my closets helped me reach a point in my own development where there was nothing left to purge. I processed the fear and anger from old love. I came to peace with the circumstance of being a mother to a son in the fight of his life against a disease. I found strength to grow into a woman of joy and hope for me and my children.
At some point, after my son’s cancer went into remission, I noticed that my hideaway turned into a sanctuary. I was still single and searching for answers for how my little family would get from point A to point B, but I felt calmer and could hear my thoughts easier. When I would turn to my closet I didn’t need to cry and scream and release. Instead I craved guidance and clarity.
It was with that new found clarity that I made three commitments to myself within my sanctuary that have served me well over the years.
- I refused to speak negatively about my children’s father in front of them.
2. I promised myself that I would always provide for my children no matter what it cost me.
3. My sons would know me as a pillar of strength.
Even though I no longer need the comfort of a closet to find guidance or clarity as I continue to grow into a woman of greater joy and substance, I am grateful for what I’ve both lost and gained over the years. Both purging and prayer have been great friends of mine. And I found them both within the small confines of a closet.