There’s a brilliant new oracle deck, the Dream Weaver’s oracle, by Colette Baron-Reid, and one of the cards reads “When you’re neither here nor there.”
The card shows two playful monster-dragon-looking creatures, each with a dynamic eye, covered in a rainbow of scales with a tube of multicolored light between them.
The luminescent glow around each creature implies this in-between state is, in fact, a magical place. Encouraging the reader to lean into this enchanted space, the oracle book says, “So, with one foot still in the past and one reaching for the future, you discover you’re in an in-between world.”
Have you woken up in an in-between state, aware you’re not who you were but not fully who you’re becoming?
I have found myself in this in-between world for quite some time now. I get glimpses of the world waiting for me in meditation, and I’m excited to grow into that place. It’s an evolution into my most authentic self. This is refreshing after years of learning to drop protective masks and unzip my old layers, sometimes in gratitude, sometimes less gently, and let them fall away.
In the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast episodes, Glennon Doyle mentions the costumes we wear. This concept has been pinging around in my head a lot lately. I have many costumes. We all do. We go to yoga class in yoga costumes, soccer in soccer costumes, and work in work costumes.
But what purpose do these costumes serve? Well for one (right or wrong), they send a signal to the world about how to treat us, where we fit, or where we don’t belong, and who we are. If I’m in a suit, you will likely tell yourself the story that I’m important, so you’ll treat me with respect. If I wear a soccer uniform, you will likely assume I play soccer. If I’m in yoga clothes all day long, you may assume I teach yoga every day. Or…what stories come to mind?
These costumes can also serve as a layer of protective gear, creating a barrier between us and the person next to us. Stepping into our costumes, sinking into the walls they can create, we can hide behind our layers of clothing. If I put myself together in a certain way, I’m nearly guaranteed to feel safe, knowing you can’t see the real me behind the black suit, vibrant tank top, black heels and sparkling jewelry. You may see a story of me, but I can promise it’s not the most authentic version of me.
These costumes can also be an invitation. “Look at me! Notice me.” Please see my value, my worth. Please see me as important. Please see me as (fill in the blank).” Or, “Ignore me. There’s nothing to see here.”
Our costumes can camouflage us to the world, allowing us to blend into the background. You can almost feel the messages: “Do not see me. Please don’t talk to me. I’m not sure what I can contribute. I don’t want to be judged.”
There are plenty of stories about the masks we wear, but this concept of costumes has come to the forefront of my thoughts as I stare at my closet. My old work clothes don’t fit the job I’ve been doing for the past few years and can act as a barrier in my new role. There are pieces that I love but don’t fit my work now. And when I’m honest, I can see I’ve emotionally outgrown most of that part of my closet. These pieces don’t resonate anymore. Working mostly from home now, what I have to wear has changed dramatically. No longer who I was and not fully formed into who I’m becoming, I definitely feel neither here nor there. My closet reflects my current state.
It takes patience to be in the in-between, like a butterfly in a chrysalis. We can’t go back to where we were, but where we’re going and who we are becoming is yet to be solidified. Meditation is a great tool to navigate this in-between. Walks in nature where we pay attention to the details around us can help too.
As I consider my costumes, my mind takes me back to Marie Kondo’s book on tidying up. Kondo encourages us to take everything out of the closet and then pick up each item. Feel into it. If it doesn’t spark joy, release it with gratitude.
I think if I did that right now, my closet would be nearly empty (and could be rebuilt with time, capsule wardrobe style with less excess and more intention). And perhaps that’s what needs to happen.
By letting go of old costumes, perhaps that cleared space becomes an invitation for more authenticity. To live into this becoming, to clear space for possibilities, to allow the world to see me as my most open-hearted, genuine self. Thrilling and terrifying, all at once.
Are you feeling neither here nor there? Do your costumes feel like they’re not quite right?
Here are some questions to ponder or journal as you investigate your authenticity and your costumes:
>> What costumes do you wear?
>> What does each costume feel like?
>> How do you show up wearing each one?
>> Which is your favorite costume and what prevents you from wearing it each day?
>> Which is your least favorite costume, and why do you continue to wear it?
>> How can you create alignment between your costume(s) and your authenticity?
>> So often the answers can boil down to love or fear. What costume do you wear because of love? What costume do you wear out of fear?
>> What’s waiting for you on the other side being neither here nor there?