Professor Boswell, M.S., MFT
Living in the In-Between 101
5 November, 2020
A Land Between
Some days the sunshine is right there, spilling from the corners of my mouth. Just waiting for some unsuspecting Jane Doe to small talk, “How are you?” Brilliant! Beautiful! Glorious! Phenomenal! Other days the tears swell rich and fat on my lower lids. Just waiting for some well-meaning familiar to ask, “How are you?” I am full. Overflowing. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. But mostly? Mostly, I am happy-sad. Yes, usually I am sad-happy. My sorrow battles the laws of physics, always trumping the puny properties of cohesion and adhesion to tattoo my cheeks with tattle-tale rivulets. My joy spills over and shakes the room with the reverberation of my meaty unshackled laughter.
Some days I soar, bounding from peak to peak. Achieving. High priestess of productivity to the god of to-do lists. Checking off. Gathering accolades and gratitude into brilliant bouquets to brighten the altars of my mind. Other days I crawl, wading through life sticky-sweet as molasses. Trudging. Purgatoried penitent half-heartedly turning a whip of thou-shalt-nots on myself. Not enough. Sweeping up old wounds from the corners of my mind to gather in a heap. But mostly? Mostly, I am high-low. Yes, usually I am low-high. My valleys stretch out in deep shadow, impenetrable and dank. My mountaintops stand lush and soaring against blue skies, bathed in sunlight.
Some days I relish, open vessel so brimming I have a splash zone. My only concern chasing laughter and adventure, floating on the breeze. A puppy sprung from her leash, tumbling through a cloud of dandelion fluff. Succulent. Opulent. Sumptuous. Other days I repress, fists so tight, I engrave half-moons in both palms. A coiled spring, compressed by the weight of who I should be. Pressurized. Restrained. Imprisoned. But mostly? Mostly, I am free-fettered. Yes, usually I am fettered-free. My rigidity wags a stern finger, halting idle play. My abandon merrily pipes, calling forth a snaking string of revelers.
I have heard happily-ever-afters about a land between. Is there a land between? A place where the others live and breath. Pause their chores to look out the window. Watch TV instead of saving the world. Pick up take-out rather than sobbing on the floor of the closet when dinner is impossible. I have hunkered down and crossed my legs, given myself permission to take up space. My fingers unfurled, I have begun to stretch my arms. Breathing great quenching draughts so my lungs expand. Pushing back the edges to find the place between. And this, this land between, births magic, yes. But dragons roam here. And ogres and witches too. Fear roams here. Because aren’t I happy-sad, high-low, free-fettered? Aren’t I the edges and the outside? Who am I in this land between?