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the in between

I’m stuck in an in between.

I’m limited in what I can share at this precise time, but suffice it to say, life in 2019 has been anything but slow and easy. Rather, it’s been grueling in more respects that I could ever have anticipated.

Usually when you engage in grueling work, you end up having something tangible to show for it. You can point to some outcome, some result, some product; you point to it and marvel at everything you have accomplished through the tears and the toil. I long for that type of satisfaction but it eludes me.

Despite everything this year has thrown at me, I’m decidedly stuck in an in between world right now and I find this world debilitating in every sense. I keep trying to make lists of things that I can accomplish here. Of tasks that I can do. But each check mark seems to bring me full circle back to the purgatory that is now my home.

There is no true rest in this purgatory. There is no true growth here. There is no true peace here. I’ve searched for all three relentlessly and my only solace has been only catching small glimpses of them through the cage I now live in. I see how I might one day interact with them when I’m finally on the other side of this, but the the iron bars surrounding me are strong and I can’t reach them. For now, they elude me and I’m left deeply inhaling the faint whiff that trails each of them as they past by my prison. Their combined aroma brings my comfort so I cling to each as tightly as I once clung to the things that have left me behind.

So my head hits the pillow each night, deliriously torn between longing for either the past or the future, and cursing this in between and the lack of meaning to it all. But before I can drift off into another night of uneasy sleep and restless dreams, my mind replays the moments from the past for the millionth time. But this time it is different. Instead of watching only the highlight reels, I give myself permission to examine the scraps on the cutting room floor. I piece them together and arduously examine details long forgotten (either from willful ignorance or bliss I do not know). As the full picture comes into view, I lose my breath but somehow find my strength. I use my newfound strength to piece together these discarded scrapes and I pin them to the walls of my mind. I draw bright red circles around them and annotate them so that future me will not only remember them, but learn from them.

As the hands of the clock move closer towards midnight I find a frenzy of energy from this re-examination of my life and it gives me the space to process a re-imagination of the life I may still lead. At first, the re-imagination is unwelcomed. It feels as if I’ve slipped into a stranger’s shoes — they are okay, but surely not meant for me. I want the life that I broke in; the ones that are comfortable old friends. But I force myself to sit it in this discomfort. I try to examine it. Is it truly bad or is it just different than I the one I wanted? After awhile, I decide that it’s different. And then I decide that it’s okay. And as my eyes close, I finally decide that maybe one day, in the far future, it could be more than okay.

So I give my mind permission to stop. Permission to embrace this in between.

I’m okay.

I will be okay.

And one day, I’ll be more than okay.

That’s enough for now. It has to be.

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