On being stuck in between.
Liminality is an idea I am quickly becoming obsessed with. It is the concept of a threshold, an in between space that only exists as a throughway to get you from where you've been to where you are going. Liminal spaces are not designed to exist on their own; they would have no context if removed from the position they are in, between two other spaces.
Liminal spaces can be both mental or physical, and I can guarantee that you've occupied both kinds many times in your life. Physical liminal spaces have a very distinct feeling to them, an otherworldly atmosphere where reality appears to be altered. When we linger inside spaces which are made for passing through, our minds begin to try and contextualise them and can't, leading to the uneasy feeling they give us.
Some examples of physical liminal spaces are:
- Fire Escape Staircases
- Parking Lots
- Truck Stops
- Airport Terminals
- Waiting Rooms
Did visualising that list create a certain feeling in your mind? This is the effect of liminality.
Mental liminal spaces can be harder to explain, they are periods of time where you (or a whole society) exist between the person you have been and the person you will be. You feel no longer like you did and not yet like you will.
I now see the irony of my blog title The Halfway Point; the very definition of a liminal space. 2016 has been an in between year for me, where I have constantly felt not at all like the person I knew myself to be. It's like being trapped on an endless staircase, running up and up and up but never finding an exit; stuck in a place I was only ever meant to be passing through. I think perhaps everyone's early 20's are filled with liminality; where you are no longer as young and naive as your teenage self and yet you do not know enough to feel like an adult. You are suspended somewhere in between borders, living on no man's land.
Understanding this concept has given me something to grab onto in relation to how I've been feeling for this past year. Not completely existing inside reality is terrifying, and though I believe my brain's current disorientation is caused by much more than this, it is comforting to assure myself that I am in an in between. That one day soon I will find the staircase's exit, leave the waiting room, and come flying out the other end of the tunnel. It's all just a matter of time.