I live in the in-betweens, those back alleys that aren’t really a place of their own but clearly have who we were at one end and who we will become on the other. While looking back everything is relatively clear, distinct, sharp, looking forward is often filled with fog, hazy, not clear.
I live, physically, in a small apartment with my kids and husband. It too is an in-between space, where we landed as we figured out our next steps. Now we are here, waiting and doing what we need to move onto our next planned step, not knowing what will come our way to change our course and seeing clearly all the choices we made and didn’t make that brought us to this space now.
These in-between spaces are my life. The older I become the more I know, deep in my bones that these in-betweens, these back alleys that lead us into our next ways of being, our next iterations, our next phases of life, are life itself. Those unseen destinations ahead of us are often mirages that shape-shift with our whims and choices and non-choices and with the wind and with things far beyond our knowing or control.
These liminal spaces were once terrifying to me. My need for plans, for knowing, for having the false sense of control and safety was strong. I lacked resilience and would fall to pieces if the slightest thing went seemingly off track. It would take days or weeks for me to recover and even in the recovery of the disappointment or frustration there lived a deep resentment and deeper fear of the fallout of things not having gone “my way.”
In time I learned the value in having fall back plans. This brought comfort in that if Plan A didn’t work out exactly I still had plans B-ZZZZZ to work through. These fall back plans were my safety nets. They both helped me learn to build resilience and also stunted my resilience. I still needed control. I still feared the unknown. I still could not bear the dissonance of the in-between spaces.
I’m not entirely sure I can pinpoint when it all changed. When these in-between spaces, when these gates into the Underworld, began to feel like home. When my resilience grew back wholly and completely. I can not tell you the date or the exact steps I took to land here. I know part of it was coming into my body. I know part of it was seeing an amazing therapist (or three). I know part of it was becoming a mother and wanting more and better and different for my child. I know part of it was the reading of All The Books and getting my own degree in psychology. I know part of it is simply growing older and no longer having any fucks to give.
Here I am. I have been walking with Inanna for years now, going down into the Underworld, learning to sit in the discomfort of my own grief and trauma, learning to hold space for others to do the same. With each descent and ascent more layers come off and I leave more of my masks and armor and distracting baubles behind.
I live in my body. In her very real liminal space, moving from motherhood into cronehood. Shifting and softening. Creaking and popping more than in years past, and even with the pains and aches that are new to me now, I feel more comfortable and at home in her than ever before. The anger and resentment and sense of betrayal that I once had for her feels like a distant memory and I almost question if I ever hated my body at all.
Almost question. Because I know. I know I hated her. I hated her softness and curves. I hated how she drew attention from some people but not from others. I hated how she felt weak and defenseless against the world, against men who only wanted to take her and use and then discard her like a piece of trash.
I know I resented her. I resented all her limitations. I resented how she “turned on” me, how she wouldn’t bend or sway or stand or leap or run or punch or kick in the ways other bodies did. I resented how she was built and what all that meant. I resented her nature and naturalness. I resented how she was a target for pain and beatings from those who were supposed to love me. I resented how she just kept taking it, kept going on, wouldn’t stop. I resented my body’s resilience with all my mind. I resented her because I could not understand her need to survive or keep going or keep living, even in the worst and most torturous of circumstances.
I know I felt betrayed by her. Again and again. Becoming pregnant when I didn’t want her to and then becoming infertile when I desperately wanted another child. I felt betrayed by her “unspecified” diagnosis and how there was no clear or straight path to fix her, according to the myriad of doctors who poked and prodded and cut and then sewed her back up. I felt betrayed again by her curves and the attention they received, both “positive” and less “positive.” I felt betrayed by her sicknesses. I felt betrayed that she wouldn’t do exactly what I wanted her to do when I wanted her to do it.
I lived in that space for a long time. The hatred and resentment and betrayal almost ate me alive.
And here I am. From where I am now that all feels so very long ago. Though I know it wasn’t.
Here I am now. Now, I love my body. I revere and respect her. I am honored and humbled and so deeply grateful that despite me she kept going. I am amazed at all she has endured and grateful that she has held these stories and truths about the experiences that made me in a safe space until I was ready to know them.
I am at home in her. At home in the pleasures and pains of her. At home in the discomforts and comforts. At home in what she is right now. At home with the aging body she is becoming.
This is where I live. In my body.
In this amazing body that has endured tortures and pleasures. In this amazing body that keeps going despite all my past attempts to stop her. In this amazing body that has given me two beautiful living children. In this amazing body that is shifting and moving in her own ways. In this amazing body that holds both my stories and the stories of my ancestors. In this amazing body that knows.
I live at home. In this body. In the liminal spaces of life. In this tiny apartment that keeps us warm and safe and dry.
I live at home. In my freedom and unapologeticness and strength and power and daring and light and wholeness and knowing.
I live at home in my being and becoming the Unleashed Woman who my body held and nurtured and kept safe and brave through all our years.
I live at home in me.
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Today’s post was inspired by two different writing and exploration courses. One by Jena Schwartz and the other by Isabel Abbott and Bronwyn Petry. I encourage you to explore their work and see if any of their future offerings are right for you. xoox