I haven’t written for a while. I mean, not here. Not like this. I’ve written thousands of words in the past year, most of them in the form of assignments for my MA. But those were words I had to write – words I loved writing, words that gave me life and satisfied my yearning to learn – but they were just words that ticked boxes. Words that do what they are meant to do.
I have composed emails and tweets and customer service replies, and worded witty Facebook comments and Instagram captions. But those were words I wrote for a reason, because I had to, for work, or to satiate my seemingly endless desire to document the minutiae of my life on social media.
This year I’ve written and shared far too many words in WhatsApp. Far, far too many. I’ve definitely written a lot of messages that I didn’t end up sending. But all those words, sent and unsent, were just noise. The kind of beautiful, meaningful, pointless, hilarious, nothing-and-everything noise that helps us make sense of the world and feel real and connected. Noise that is as important and essential and instinctive as breathing – I hear you and you hear me, and here we are together, laughing and crying and being confused at the absurdity of life through this app in our phones – but still, just noise.
I wrote a blog, briefly. I wrote about mental health and a bit about motherhood. About identity, well, my identity. About healing and journeying and learning, and feeling and growing. But I deleted it. Those words were too raw. Still are.
I have written about positive things in rambling Instagram captions – blue skies, self-care, how loved I am. Long captions. Shorter ones. Quotes I stole from whatever poet I was reading at the time. But those words were too sweet. They make me sound naive, asinine.
I have written words in my journal. Words with a pen, on paper, real and scratchy and blotchy, smudged and coffee-stained and greased with cake crumbs. I have written poetry. I even wrote a short story. And yet these words I discard, discount. They’re not me, because I’m not a writer; they’re just the words I think I should write.
But I’m tired of these words. I’m tired of writing what I think I should write, and I’m tired of ignoring the things that I can’t define. You could tell a story about me based on what I write and you wouldn’t be wrong, not really: academic, professional, friend, poet, over-thinker.
I look at what I’ve written in the past year and I just see what is missing. The words I haven’t written and the gaps they leave. The in-between words that go with the in-between feelings that don’t fit in neat boxes or labels. Where do I put those words?
Well, my friends. Here. This is where I put those words.
Welcome to my in-between.