liminal |ˈlimənl|

1. of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.

2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[1]) is a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the “threshold” of or between two different existential planes, as defined in neurological psychology (a “liminal state”) and in the anthropological theories of ritual by such writers as Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner[2].

As developed by van Gennep (and later Turner), the term is used to “refer to in-between situations and conditions that are characterized by the dislocation of established structures, the reversal of hierarchies, and uncertainty regarding the continuity of tradition and future outcomes”[3].


One foot through the door, raised in the air, free before landing the step. While the other foot lingers, maybe even appearing rooted to the floor. One hand floating far ahead, fingers extended waiting to touch what’s next. The other hand clasped behind, knuckles engaged fierce grip on the known. A face of welcome with an expression of rejection. A balance struck out of refusal to commit.


Peeking through open windows to see how ‘they’ do it, catching their unfamiliar scent of satisfaction, of certainty, of the knowledge that this, this is it.

We are told we who are from the outside in. We’re given labels and categories and containers that fit. We arrive in the world without question of where we belong because we are claimed by our kin.

Identity is poured on us like concrete, time just passes to let it set. But what if you are casted as different? I mean, the cement casing, the label, the very identity that you are locked into by your family is in fact the label of DIFFERENT. Maybe special, maybe blessed, maybe damaged, maybe distressed. Being different, I feel I was instructed to look for something else always, something else, always something else. Never here. Never now. Never this.

Cement casings get heavy. They crumble. They prevent fluidity. We can crash into obstacles, learn to smash the joints and edges strategically. Work our way free via destruction.

Freedom through destruction.

Dismantling. I got good at dismantling. Once free, the goal is never to be caught again. Ever. A floating spirit, a flickering flame. The drive to live unencumbered wins out over any other hunger, because the only alternative I’ve ever known is heavy binding cement.

Cloud or statue? Lightning strike or suit of armor? Streaming wind or rolling boulder? Which would you chose if you had to answer? Being of both and neither. Of many and none. Liminal.

Tagged on: