in between

by lani

in between is a strange category.

in between is the space after this word, and in between is the atlantic ocean. it’s the point of blankness, pregnant with moving energy. a finite vacuum pulling toward a magnetic pole.

the view of in between is like the view of the grand canyon … from the bottom.

in between is really a retrospective category; as we move along our lifeline, we look back to see the times where it is dotted from point to point. and yet, even though it is most easily identified once one is no longer in between, there’s this sense in the moment- this sense of suspension. the flow of focused energy toward an unknown point moving through body and spirit. the feeling of moving forward, albeit without landmarks to signal progress.

the in between spirit is defined by unfelt resolve. i may feel like a toddler with my shaky baby steps, but the force that pulls me forward only gains strength when i fall. the in between spirit is anything but stagnant; it is a strong wind rattling with leaves of confusion. the leaves are loud, but the wind is sure. the in between spirit is also like a pinball, in that it’s easy to be fooled by the erratic bouncing into forgetting the unbeatable pull of gravity; all pinball games are eventually lost. in its frantic haste to move from point A to point Unknown, the in between spirit casts away the luggage it carries, streamlining, refining, gaining lightness.

what is a poor bruised pinball to do when the frenetic pinging requires so much energy to survive, that there is none left to devote to finding gravity? thankfully, gravity has a way of finding poor bruised pinballs eventually. i guess there’s not much to do except hope that one’s guardian angel is an exceptionally poor pinball player.

because being in between sucks.

i’ll bet that almost every new-ish parent experiences this feeling. no one tells you that there is time in between becoming a parent and feeling like one. no one tells you that there’s a very good chance that this little ball of human effervescence will destroy your career and land you soundly on your bottom on the cold hard ground of stay-at-home un- or under-employment. or, as i like to optimistically think of it, pre-employment.

we’re in between right now. in between childlessness and being used to this parenting gig. in between accruing the medical debt of the past couple years, and paying it off. i’m in between jobs, possibly careers, possibly school. in between the experience of loss and the acceptance of it. in between the fall of the tower of babel, and cutting the ribbon to the golden city.

our children are in between. in between birth and awareness, in between the advent of the self and the consciousness of the self. in between understanding and speaking. in between moving, and moving with confidence. the shakiness of their baby steps belies the strength of the indomitable force that pulls them forward.

and this is what happens when i try to write a life update post, and realize that the only thing to update about life is that there is no definite update. after being a stay-at-home mom for a year and a half, i’m starting to come up for air and think about what the next few years might look like. last week i was going to school to become an occupational therapist. this week i’m restarting my photography business. the week before i was operating an at-home montessori preschool, and next week i might be completing my degree in black studies from portland state university. the options are at once vastly unlimited and hopelessly constricted, kind of like the bottom of the grand canyon.

we in-betweens may seem like a fickle bunch, but give us grace – a lot of rustling must happen before the wind is cleared of leaves.