Monday, November 21, 2011

Everything in Transit

I love liminal spaces. Anywhere in which transition is tangible – doorways, hallways, stairwells, bridges – I love the feeling of being physically in-between. Traveling is made easier and all the less stressful because I typically take more delight in the train ride than the arrival at the station (and who would enjoy a book, save ones about travel spots and historical places, perhaps, that is all climax and no journey?). I even have a semicolon tattooed on my wrist to exalt in the smallest of breaths between two independent chunks of sentence, and to remind me to take one of those breaths myself when the many sides of my life grow too compact and solid around me.

The unfortunate dark side to this particular moon, however, is what this means. While I may be just fine in transit out in the world, I can't move on the inside. Physical crossroads are no problem, exciting even. Figurative ones are frightening.

For me, fear is at once a great motivator and a cause of paralysis. When I first left my family, two jobs, and my comfort zone of California for Seattle, I luckily had the wonderful distractions of my boyfriend, Adam, and my dear friend and sometimes-roommate, Stacy, as well as the task of the move itself. While I had saved as much money as I could for the life change, I still needed to find a way to support it. I had only two familiar faces for hundreds of miles among the constellation of unfamiliar lights that was my new city-home, and suddenly, I needed to become an urban astronaut (or an adult, as some might more commonly call it).

I found a job with a Seattle-based bank less than 2 months and hundreds of resume-attached emails later – out of fear, out of simply needing money. I am grateful for the lessons learned and the enormous amount of growth I experienced over nearly 3 years, as well as the invaluable friends I made. But after all that time, I couldn’t work at a bank anymore. That’s not who I was when I started, not while I worked there, not who child-version of Kait ever wanted to be (in fact, she was probably sitting in a corner somewhere with her head in her hands, moping that she wasn’t Indiana Jones, or at least, a teacher like she’d always wanted as a close second to adventurer/archeologist). So I couldn’t do it. I had known it for a while, but I was terrified of the change it would bring if I actually acted. With enough nudges – both patient and frustrated – from friends and family and my incredibly supportive boyfriend alike, I finally left.

I could barely recognize the old writery, canvas-wielding me obscured by the gray pencil skirts and numb talk of debits and credits, but with a trusty pair of jeans and a few sketches later, I think I see her in there. But she’s scared. She’s terrified, seeking refuge in a stairwell because she doesn’t know what to do. No longer with the trappings of standard “success,” I am now voluntarily without job and income. For someone growing up crying if she got less than an A (that first B from my high school chemistry class will always haunt me) and who always knew what came next, not over-achieving or even just achieving by choice is a lot to swallow. But I have to keep reminding myself, when I catch own my unemployed eye in the mirror, that while I may not be considered successful by convention, what I am doing is allowing myself the opportunity to find my own version. And that in itself can hopefully be considered a success in some small way.

So now, here I am, afraid, in transit, and in pajamas (I am unemployed and at home, after all, and it’s cold – let’s not judge). Said incredibly supportive boyfriend kissed me goodbye before leaving for work, and my cat is snoring at my side with his paws over his nose. There is laundry and grocery-buying to be done, and then there is anything I like. I don’t know what comes next. But I will sing and paint and cook and create and write write write, and if I’m lucky, I will be too busy being successful to be afraid. And if some days I do feel a little fearful, that’s okay – there’s a lovely stairwell just outside my door.


  1. We might be soul mates. Let's just elope now.

  2. Thrilled to see you writing again, Kait. I've missed your voice around these parts! I understand completely what you mean about liminality... incidentally, liminal spaces are usually a perfect place to start a story.

    Seems mighty appropriate.

  3. Killian, you mighta be right - you've got yourself a deal. Stacy, thank you so much for your encouragement; knowing I have a good reader in my corner means a lot.