Chad Grayson

Liminal Space

a series of open white a grey doors

I’m going to be honest here, people, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. I thought I had everything worked out with regards to my housing situation, but in the middle of march it became apparent that my fiancé and I were not going to be approved for a mortgage on my house, and my parents desperately needed to sell it, so the hammer fell. My fiancé moved back to his house and started working to get it out of the state that it was in. So, I had to move out of my house and in with my parents, which really makes you feel great about yourself when you are my age.

It is what it is. In six months, or so, my fiancé will be ready for me to move into his house, and that will happen. For now, I have taken over One and a half rooms in my parents’ house. I’m grateful they’re giving me a place to stay for a while, and we get along, in general, but it still has been a rough transition.

When bad things happen to me, such as when I suffer a loss, my general strategy is to pivot to whatever is next and focus on things that I can actually control. Now, as strategies go, that is not the worst one, but it usually means that I never deal with the big feelings the loss as brought up, sometimes never. I’ve been working through a lot of this in therapy, finally grieving things that happened years and years ago. And it’s allowed me to accept my role in some of what happened and speak honestly about for the first time.

So, when this happened, and it kind of happened out of the blue, for a lot of reasons I won’t go into here, I did what I usually did. I focused on moving my stuff and Jimmy’s stuff, deciding what was going where, renting a storage unit for the stuff I didn’t have room for but didn’t want to give away, then moving into my parents’ house and getting things set up in a way that suited me. None of those were bad things. They needed to be done. No actual mistakes were made in this stage. That was all the first week of April, which coincided with spring break.

Then, week two hit. I’d done all the stuff I was excited about, the stuff I’d pivoted towards. Now came the work of removing everything else from the house and doing the clean-up. It was a big job, and I started the process and then … I just kind of unraveled.

I didn’t sleep for four days, even though I felt extremely tired. I couldn’t face anything. I had fantasies about driving my car off a bridge (no serious ones, but still). My parents and my daughter and son and law were helping me in this stage. I got everything out that I wanted, and then just collapsed for a couple of days. Still not sleeping for more than an hour or two at a time once or twice a day. School had started again. I skipped all of my classes for a week. I did no work.  I don’t even remember exactly what it was I was actually doing. Nothing helpful, that’s for sure.

It just so happened that, on the Wednesday of that week, I had an appointment with my therapist. I was honest with her about what I was feeling, and said, “I don’t know why I’m like this right now. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I think if she’d had a rolled-up newspaper she would have smacked me with it. She was like, “I know exactly why this happened. You just lost your home. This is grief. And also, probably a dysphoric mania episode. You did okay last week because you had something interesting to do and did not think about what was happening. Now … here you go …”

And she was right. That night, I took a larger than usual dose of my anxiety medication (which I’m allowed to do occasionally) and I finally slept through the night for the first time in a week. In the morning, I helped Dad with a dump run and then I went to my afternoon class. I emailed my professors and said basically, “Hi. I just moved and had kind of a mental breakdown, which is why I disappeared, and everything is late. But I’ back now and will catch up.” They were understanding. Turns out, I’m not the first student to take an unscheduled vacay in the middle of a semester.

So, I’ve taken the last few days to kind of embrace the grief and really feel the feelings, which is super uncomfortable. I’d much rather pivot, but that will only kick further mental breakdowns further down the road. So, yeah. I moved. I lost my home. The place I raised my children, the place I first became myself. The first place I lived with my fiance. And it wasn’t my choice. I don’t really know exactly what is coming next.

My fiancé and I are committed to living mostly apart for at least the next six months. Our relationship is fine. We are still planning on getting married (probably next summer), but a lot of stuff has come up for both of us and we both have some work to do. I won’t be discussing the nature of that work because it’s very personal, but we are still in love and committed to each other. Last year for a lot of reasons we sped-run through a lot of relationship milestones and it’s probably a good idea to pull back a bit and then move forward together from a stronger place. 

What’s going to happen in six months? I have some ideas, but I don’t really know. None of us really knows anything about the future, no matter how much planning and preparation we do.

So, I find myself in a sort of liminal space. The past is gone. The future is only in dim view. I find myself in the doorway between one place and another. I can’t stay in the doorway forever. But I can stay here for a while and enjoy what I can of my present circumstances. I have a roof over my head. I brought most of the stuff I loved about my house into my new space, so it feels like home.

I have a place to sleep and a place to work and even a place to relax. I spend at least one night a week at my fiance’s place. I am good for now, and as I write this, I realize that we are all of us in a liminal space, no matter our circumstances. The Past is gone. Any certainty we have about the future is an illusion. We live in an eternal now. But here’s the good news: present you has solved every problem you’ve ever had. It will continue to do so.

Of course, I’ve done no writing this month. But the house is finally sold and out of my area of concern. I left it for the last time this past Friday. I can finally move on to what’s next. And writing will begin again this week. The truth is, I have everything I need to be happy. I am thankful for the time I spent in my home, and the safe space it provided me to become myself fully and express myself in my environment, but I do not actually need it to live or feel safe. So, I thanked it for its service and said goodbye. And then cried in my car. Lol. Shut up.

This entire post is probably an overshare, but I don’t regret it. That’s the state of things. You can think you have things figured out, but sometimes life is waiting to ambush you. It’s a feature, not a bug. I will be okay. You will be ok if it happens to you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top