Ever feel like you’re not who you were, but you’re not quite who you’re going to be? You’re not where you were, but you’re not quite where you’re going either?
I do. And it can be uncomfortable, right?
I was pondering this curious place a few weeks ago and wrote a song about it. Here’s the first verse:
When I try to run back
To the comfort of what I’ve known,
It feels like a suit that I once loved,
But somehow I’ve outgrown.
I look around my closet,
For a new piece to replace it,
But empty hangers line the rack,
While I’m standing here naked.
The In Between.
What happens when all the identities we used to dress ourselves up in are gone, or at least they don’t fit the way they used to?
I’m learning that the more I open myself up to growth, certain things, habits, beliefs and even relationships don’t seem to fit any more. And that’s ok.
Sometimes when I clean out my closet and there's a piece that I know I should donate, it’s still difficult to let go of because it feels so familiar and comfortable. Ultimately I tell myself to let it go and make room.
But then there’s that space. Those empty hangers. And the thoughts creep in...
Like regret..I guess I could’ve paired that top with a skirt instead of jeans? Did I make the wrong decision?
Or sentimentality... Aw, I remember when I bought that shirt. It was such a steal! And I wore it to that holiday party when I first met so and so...
Or fear...ohmygod what am I going to wear now? I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR.
There have been times in the past when I was so uncomfortable by the thoughts and the nakedness that I grabbed at the next closest thing, even though it wasn’t my size or style. This will be fine. I’ll make it work. Just put a belt on it, I’d say.
But the more and more mediocre pieces I accumulated, I still had "nothing to wear." A closet full of settling seemed to feed my need for more.
What if, instead of settling for the good enough version of what was next, I was brave enough to stand naked and believe that anything was possible?
That’s where I’m trying to stand now. I’m learning not to rush and fill the space with new suits or armor. I’m learning to appreciate the naked. The uncertainty.
I used to think The In Between was unkind and unfair to me: “But, I worked hard! or “I didn’t plan for this.” But now I’m starting to wonder if I’ve been unkind to The In Between, this magic space of reinvention.
Although I do believe fiercely in clean closets and minimalism and surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy, this whole closet scenario is a metaphor for the identities and roles we assume in life.
Naked is how we come into the world, before we were programmed to be the obedient one or the middle child or the one who is always late; before we wore “busy” as a badge of honor or clung to whatever ladder we perceived to be the way to success; before we imposed ceilings on ourselves for how much love or abundance we were willing to receive.
Maybe sometimes we need to go back to the birthday suit.
Maybe The In Between is just an invitation to get naked?
How might we strip down the beliefs, identities and assumptions that no longer serve us? How can we put on our metaphorical birthday suits more often?