Liminality


On an unrelated note, I'm pretty sure I saw a fox today, hopping along on three legs through the middle of south-central.

On an unrelated note, I’m pretty sure I saw a fox today, hopping along on three legs through the middle of south-central. It wasn’t ^this^ fox, this was just an example of limned light, but it reminded me about seeing it.

I was reading an article earlier today wherein I was introduced to the word “liminality”. It wasn’t an unfamiliar word: I’ve mostly heard it in the context of lighting: someone being limned with light. I always took this to mean that they were edged with a bright rim of light like a hair-light or a back-light of some kind. I never stopped to wonder whether it has further meaning until today. The article cited the Wikipedia definition for liminality:

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold”[2] between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

If ever there was a word describing my current stage of life, then this would be it: standing on the threshold, disoriented and in-between identities. People keep asking me what I want and what I’m aiming for, and I continue to find myself struggling to answer the question in a meaningful way. It’s not that I don’t know what I want- that has always been clear to me: to direct films (and television). But that’s the summit of the mountain and I’m standing just outside of base camp: what isn’t clear is what I want to happen next in order to reach that summit.

I’m torn between warring impulses: the impulse for artistic satisfaction and the impulse to make money. I’m looking to work either way, but one impulse tells me to hold out for the perfect opportunity and to focus only on the things that I actually want to pursue. The other impulse tells me to not be too proud and to just get to work. When people ask me what I want to do, I’m torn between answering with my ideals: the ultimate goal that I’m aiming for, or with my realism: the jobs that I would be willing to do right now. One makes me seem like a dreamer with no sense of reality. The other makes me seem like I have no ambition. I’m not sure where the middle ground is yet.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 9, 2016.

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