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Stories from safe spaces

By Maya Tuviera Published Sep 22, 2022 5:00 am

Picture, for a moment, your favorite place. The color of the walls, the way light enters and fills the space, the sound you make when you step inside. What do you like about that place? Is it the things that fill it? The feeling it brings? What makes it your safe space? 

It’s probably difficult to answer these questions because safe spaces are so deeply personal. Oftentimes, they evoke a joy unknowable to any other. That space chose you to love it, and you chose it to be your place of comfort.

For this article, Young STAR asks: what’s your safe space?

For Apples, their bedroom is the pinnacle of their whole personality, a piece of their own peace. 

My bedroom is my safe space. Specifically, the floor of my bedroom. I like to slide off my chair and sink onto the ground to calm down when I have panic attacks. I sit there and stare at all my favorite things that line my shelves. I notice all of my trinkets, from the Post-It notes that cover my walls to the manga books that I spend all my money on.

I’m reminded that I can still fill my life with things I love. It’s easier to breathe that way.  — Apples

Debate rooms are my safe space. Although we’ve been debating virtually for two years now, I’ve learned to find the same joys in angrily gibbering over Zoom as I do in calculating my words on a real podium. I get excited when I find loopholes in an opponent’s arguments, or when I’m thrown a line of analysis I don’t expect that pushes me deeper under the debate’s surface.

"To me, nothing beats the feeling of believing in yourself."

Although I’m not a huge fan of training six hours a week, burying my nose in lengthy documents, or listening to judges point out my many flaws, I do it all with enthusiasm. To me, nothing beats the feeling of believing in yourself.  — Audible

The bathroom is my safe space for many reasons. It stores my makeup and self-care collections that make me feel happy and cared for. It houses the bathtub I cry in when I’ve had a rough day. Most of all, it has a large mirror with scribbled-on messages, stick-on shelves, and a warm light that illuminates the face that stares back.

For some, staying in the bathroom and spending time to pamper themselves is their safest hour of the day.

I do everything for myself in the bathroom. In the mirror, I can try out the eyeshadow look I saw on Pinterest. I can be bad at it. I can wipe it off and try again. No one is watching but me. — Golden

"Twitter is where I go to feel something in the most honest way I know how."

It’s probably the opposite for a lot of people, but Twitter is definitely my safe space. In real life, I can’t imagine blurting out my random intrusive thoughts the second they come, but I always do that on Twitter. Also, many of my followers are mutuals I’ve met over years on the platform. It’s amazing to meet people who are so ready to love and bond with you over things that my IRLs usually deem silly, like fan art or memes. Twitter is where I go to feel something in the most honest way I know how. — Duckling

"It’s the mess I know better than any other. It houses all of the best things that have ever been mine."

The inside of my closet is a huge mess. If you got on your knees and dug through the bottommost shelves, you’d find a smatter of all the weird things I collected growing up. As messy and chaotic as it is, that closet is my sense of calm in the storm. It’s the mess I know better than any other. It houses all of the best things that have ever been mine (including my Taylor Swift CDs). — Clutter

In collecting these stories, I was reminded of how easy it is to find joy in the mundane. Our safe spaces don’t need to be pretty, popular, or perfect. They just need to be ours. 

Dance studios used to be a source of fear for me; I felt uncomfortable in very “perfectionist” environments that thrived on intimidation as a means of disciplining dancers.

"I realized it wasn’t the ambiance or the size of the space that made it my home studio. It was the people I surrounded myself with that made it a safe space."

Eventually, I went out of my comfort zone and explored other studios to hone my craft. When I did find one, I realized it wasn’t the ambiance or the size of the space that made it my home studio. It was the people I surrounded myself with that made it a safe space. — Sage

Picture a weekend pop-up bazaar in the middle of a crowded mall. Each stall is selling something unique, whether it be giant cookies or eccentric jewelry. You’re picturing my favorite place in the world.

It’s not the specific location of the bazaars that I love. It’s the consistency: how I can always count on finding a light dessert to nibble on or a tiny gift to bring home to my dog. At the same time, I enjoy the surprises that mall bazaars never fail to provide. — Glaze

When my parents decided to move halfway across NCR six years ago, my sisters and I didn’t know what to think. We had only seen the inside of the new house twice before we got into our car and left our home forever.

"My sisters and I instantly warmed up to the beautiful kitchen."

For a long time, a lot of it felt unfamiliar to me. Even a year after moving in, our water dispenser was still lined with plastic. However, my sisters and I instantly warmed up to the beautiful kitchen. It had a marble island, a huge oven, and an even larger pantry that my mom always kept full. In that kitchen, my sisters and I learned how to bake hundreds of delicious treats. We started a family business featuring our favorite homemade treats. Its motto is “Baked with love.”

Now that I’ve moved abroad for college, I’m most homesick for the moments we spent in that kitchen. — Spatula

If you had asked me this question three or four years ago, I would’ve said anywhere but the badminton court. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I spent two hours running around a full-sized court, doing warm-ups that made my bones ache, and losing to players with more experience in their wrists than I had in my whole body. 

I always complained that I hated every minute of it. The truth is, my days were spent waiting for the next training. It was on the court where I experienced my first wins, big and small. I learned how to be diligent and strategic. I learned how to make friends across the net. Most of all, I learned how to scoop a shuttlecock with my racket. — Silver

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In collecting these stories, I was reminded of how easy it is to find joy in the mundane. Our safe spaces don’t need to be pretty, popular, or perfect. They just need to be ours. 

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Special thanks to the contributors who allowed me to publish, edit, and/or write about their intimate stories.