Liminal Living

I keep writing posts to abandon and scrap in the drafts pile.  I keep second guessing myself and even debate taking down the whole site.

Sometimes living in a both/and reality is exhausting.

The only truth I know to be true is that there is no one truth.  We all live countless conflicting, paradoxical truths everyday.

I want to pick one truth, one frame, one nice, neat either/or yes/no option.

I picked Jesus, “the way, the truth and the light.”  But the more I follow this the more I discover that there is no one truth here, either.  No, the truth I find here is very much a liminal, thin space of living.  It’s being both in and out at once.  It’s excepting ALL human AND ALL divine.  Both at the same time.  It’s excepting ALL sinner and ALL saint wrapped up in one.

To be honest I am more comfortable with this uncertainty than I ever could be with fundamentalism.  But it is much harder.

My life is like that, a snake-pit of conflicting truths and an oasis of beautiful butterflies.  Maybe that’s why it draws me.  This is a place where paradox is normal and liminal living is embraceable.  It’s a place where there can be no absolute certainty.  A place where a girl who’s spent 25 years regularly moving from one culture to another (like, every week!) isn’t out of place.  A place where I can have had both a happy childhood and a totally messed up one.  Both are true.

I am both a self-centered addict and a good mother who’s sacrificed over a decade for her kids.  I am both a math whiz and a devoted poet.  I am both a good kid who tried hard and excelled and a blacksheep who’s a perpetual disappointment and embarrassment.  I am both an introvert and a people-lover and they don’t have to conflict.  I can both be angry with someone and love them.  I am not responsible for anyone and I am responsible to everyone.  I don’t have to have a binary answer and don’t have to be in or out.  I am in and out.

But it sure can be hard to be both/and in and either/or world and with yes/no people.  And it makes it really hard to write a neat conclusion.  There is no conflict and no happy ending here.  There just is.  It doesn’t make for easy writing to capture this in between space.  It doesn’t make for easy living either.  It’s like living on a line, a very narrow road indeed.  And really, really easy to get pushed off or fall off.

I fall off several times in most minutes.  For a Libra I have terrible balance.  My inner ears aren’t very good.  Occasional bouts of vertigo have been known to send me rapidly to the fetal position on the floor.  It’s like that but with my heart and soul doing the crumbling to the ground and slowly staggering back up.

Sometimes it’s scary here.  There, I said it.

Liminal spaces are beautiful and mysterious.  And hideous and filled with lurking monsters.  And from here I see all too clearly how we are all like that, both beautiful and grotesque, marvelous and monstrous.

This is a space where I am simultaneously grieving what and who I have lost and celebrating what I have gained and where I am going.

Here the dominate advice about self-esteem and owning feelings and being authentic and having emotional honesty looks ridiculous and childish.  Here the shadow self and the light self collide in a prism and dance in rainbows.  Dazzling and dizzy.

There is no I, no Self, here.  How do I write about a place where I am not?

I feel rather as if I have un-eaten from the tree of knowledge.  I know nothing.  I am nothing.  I have no need of clothes or coverings.

Yet I must constantly interact with people who find nakedness offensive and vulnerability frightening.  People who try to dress me up and blend me in, to put me back in my tiny box and not see me.

Staying here is hard.  I’ve gotten here many times over the years.  But it is too easy to put back on the respectable roles of life.  All it takes is one moment of inattention or exhaustion, one toxic interaction or misplaced expectation and I’m back on the inside, trapped again in Self.



About m

My ego wants to think I'm a writer but my heart knows I'm just another one of God's Kids who sometimes has words to say. 2 human kids and 3 feline kids call me Mom. Or Mooooooom. Or mewom, depending which you ask. I'm kinda-sorta busy being a student again; this time I signed myself up for a bizarre torture known as Graduate School. Theoretically in 4ish years I'll have earned some more nice letters to put with my name. Let's face it, I'm addicted to learning and probably need rehab to restore me to sanity and remove the obsession to read books. I don't remember what free time is but I think I like to spend it sleeping or playing in the mud on a river bank.
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1 Response to Liminal Living

  1. Ambiguity is the broad gray expanse of time and space that makes up the universe. There are no lines. Only broad strokes of possibility and doubt. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. So what? I am. And even if that is the only thing I am sure of, it is enough.

    Liked by 1 person

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