The In-Between, it's alive and well, and confusing AF
Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, wrote about something I am smack dab in the middle of this last week in an email. She wrote:
The in-between is unavoidable on your way to fulfillment. Predictability and fixating on the past will not bring you to your inner peace and genuine power. You’re on the Hero’s Journey now, my love. You can’t run back to the safety (now a prison) of old structures. And straight ahead is a whole lot of darkness, with intermittent flashes of better ideas and possible outcomes.
You’ll grasp for something solid to hold onto. Call a psychic. Sleep with your ex. Take the dumb job. Go home for the holidays even though you’ve never travelled abroad. Some kinds of familiarity are truly nourishing. But in the in-between, clinging to what you thought was good for you just prolongs the confusion.
You’re becoming a new person and your evolving self requires new sources of refreshment… which take time to spring forth and seep into you.
The same is true for me right now about my own grief. I am in the unavoidable in between. Freshly out of that dreaded first year, I am no longer grieving in the explainable ways and at the understandable times.
I am not in my grief, but I am also not out of it.
In someways, being IN it would be easier. I wouldn't have to carry the emotional labour of it all. Others are willing to carry it with me, understanding my pain, appreciating it, expecting it.
But I am not in it - AND I am not out of it. I am in the in between. Unexpected, rude, messy, unpredictable. AND lively, fun, dynamic, free. My life is not a constant of one or the other. I can not always know where I will be from one day to the next. Gosh, in some days - it's more like one moment to the next.
There is the grief of my mom, and all of what that brings, and then there is the budding grief that comes from this recent passing of all that have gone before her - my dad and all four of my grandparents, leaving me with little family, history or tether to where I come from and what that means about me now.
So what can happen is that I can take on the responsibility of managing other people’s emotions around me having my emotions. Watching what I say (or don’t say), making sure I’m not too messy. Not too much. Not too good. Not too bad. It’s exhausting and I don’t always do a great job. In fact recently, I did a piss-poor job. What can I say? I just did.
I am also reading “It’s Okay that you’re Not Okay - Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand” by Megan Devine. In it when talking about why she shares the truth about what she hears from others about the support they receive in their grief she says, “I tell the truth about what it’s like to feel unsupported and dismissed inside grief. I tell the truth about how much we fail each other. I’m not afraid to say what grieving people all of the world think to themselves a million times every single day. I’m not afraid to say out loud, “You are not helping”
In a culture where we are trained to be polite we are told to put on a happy face, smile and nod (don’t smile too big though) and say “thank you for thinking of me” when we really want to scream and yell and tell them to go fuck themselves and take their niceties and jam them up their ass.
Yes, the in-between - some days I am fully grieving, some days I am fully at peace.
So often in grief we are told, “Well, you were doing abc, so I assumed you were feeling xyz”. You know what they say about ASSumptions…. Because trust me, our reality is always different than your assumptions. There are days when I don’t even know what my reality is, how the hell do you think you know? Nor do I expect you too.
So, at this stage of the newly in-between, I wonder…. I wonder, as someone who has never experienced this level of grief. Who has never experienced the floating experience of the untethering to an earthly background, what happens after the in-between? How long might I be here? What will this feel like tomorrow? Next Christmas? At the 5 year anniversary? At my daughters wedding?
And if YOU think you know, I can assure you, you are wrong and I’m not going to bare the emotional labour of educating you in that. If you want to know, if you really want to know because you care, you’ll educate yourself. You’ll be willing to be in the divine unknowing that we are all in. You will see your own in-betweens and have compassion for all of us on this journey. My own compassion for myself and others is become so much more refined as I navigate through - a seeker in the ever-changing path to the walk home.