Caught in the In-between

by Heligirl on July 7, 2011

in Confessions

Have you ever finished a book (or series), come home from a movie, been pulled into an inspiring painting or otherwise been so deeply hooked by a great story or image that you’ve found yourself resisting the return to reality?

Maybe it was a once in a lifetime experience you can’t replicate despite your deepest desires so you dream of what it would be like to have stayed there.

That is the In-Between.

That is the place I sometimes reside, and equal parts love and hate.

For me, the typical trap to the In-Between is television or film.

As a child of the 80s, my favorite shows were Emergency!, Star Trek reruns, Buck Rogers, Knight Rider, A-Team, and Airwolf . They all sucked me in. No My Little Pony for me. I was a tomboy who loved her adventure men. On the big screen it was Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Superman.

Detect a pattern? Can you say adrenaline junkie with a hero need?

There was a time I wanted a black Trans Am. I still name my cars because of K.I.T.T.

I had a heck of a crush on George Peppard and wished the A-Team would pass through town.

Indiana Jones could rescue me from anything he wanted, I wouldn’t mind. As long as I could croon, “Oh, Indy,” I was good.

I clearly remember the moment I entered puberty. It was the last couple of seconds of the movie Superman when Christopher Reeve flew by and winked at the audience. My mom and I sighed together.

The In-Between can be a good thing. It’s the place where the creative juices get flowing and frequently births new experiences, adventures and opportunities.

When Airwolf flew across the screen I was done for. That was the first time the In-Between actually helped shape who I became. I was so enamored with that helicopter and the idea of being a pilot it drove me to form and eventually achieve that dream.

In college I saw Last of the Mohicans and was completely moved by Wes Studi, who played Magua. I ended up finding him, interviewing him and the story I published, as well as the experience, lead me to win an internship in the television industry one summer and shaped the next chapter of my life.

Yet, despite all the good things being here can spawn, as I approach my 40th birthday in two months, I still feel deeply ashamed when I get caught here, in the In-Between. I’m embarrassed by it. I won’t tell anyone, share my writing about the specific subject, or even let anyone know what I’m thinking if I can help it.

My feelings stem from years of ridicule. When I get caught here, I am unapologetically obsessed. I eat, breath and sleep the object of my obsession. I write about it, read about it, buy stuff about it, fantasize about it, dream about it, watch it, listen to it, talk about it ad-nauseum and am fairly distracted.

In high school, that meant posters on the walls, doodles on school folders, pictures in lockers, and writing stories of my fantasies. In college, I added seeing a movie over and over, buying the book and the soundtrack. These days, I’ve added screen savers on the computer and iPhone, as well as special ringtones, to the list (my grown up walls and locker). I still write some killer stuff from the In-Between, typically my best work because I’m so focused and inspired.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a complete fantasy world that has me by the throat. I’ll be stuck here until I overload myself and need a break, or I find a realistic way to discharge the energy that builds up here.

I suppose that can get annoying to folks and that is why I’ve been ridiculed. My own husband told me a couple of days ago that I’m obsessed and he’s not going to encourage it by listening to me anymore. That stung and I suddenly felt like an incompetent child full of shame for failing to live up to any respectable potential. Living in a dream world. Stuck in a fantasy. Trying to remind myself of what great things I’ve done as a result of being here in the past seemed moot.

I let that shame take me further and begin to question myself. Why do I feel the need to escape to feel good? Something must be wrong with me that I can’t find that pleasure in my real life. Do I not love myself and my family enough to feel satisfied? What is wrong with me?

And so still to this day, despite the great things it has brought into my life because of my focus, I try to hide being in the In-Between. I take my computer to bed early and read, write and watch there. I hide the books I bought and don’t tell anyone when I go see a movie a second, third or tenth time. I have my own “play” checking account, so no one sees my personal purchases. I play my music through headphones. When on the web I’ll quickly change tabs to a benign webpage when someone walks by.

Other times I’ll just deny myself the “hit” I want so bad and not go back to the movies, delete the show from the DVR, talk down to myself until I’m too ashamed to look up what I want on the Internet. That track typically just depresses me and it is then I realize this place isn’t a place to feel ashamed about visiting. It is where the creative go. There are thousands of die hard fans of genres that keep a foot in the In-Between their entire lives and they’re mighty successful. Take massive Star Trek fan Paul Allen, for instance.

What the In-Between feeds us we can use to expand and go in new directions. We must only maintain a healthy understanding of the walls of In-Between and the difference between fantasy and reality. It also helps to be supported.

For me, it’s painful to leave it all bottled inside, unable to express this pent up passion. Those who know me well get small glimpses and chock it up to my eclectic personality. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.

If they only knew how some days I intensely long for my hero to swoop in, announcing “I’m coming for you,” in that deeply sexy voice, and give me a safe and fulfilling outlet to express this energy.

Until then, I remain in the In-Between with my larger than life, gravel-voiced hero.


Photo credit: Chockies


SharleneT. July 7, 2011 at 10:31 am

Whew! I thought for a minute you weren’t going to recognize that that’s a perfectly acceptable place to be for we creative types. So far as all the other clandestine things you do, that is nothing more than holding onto your privacy, which is something I have always believed you have a right to, even if you’re married. It’s where the essential you retreats to refurbish your mental health and no one should make you feel bad about it. Since I do the same things that you do, it is simply impossible to find fault. Looking forward to the replenished creative juices blog posts that will be entertaining us. Have a great day and come visit when you can.
SharleneT. recently posted: A Solar Fourth Of July – Redux

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Thanks Sharlene. It means a lot hearing that from you, my fellow passion chaser. I love your description “where the essential you retreats to refurbish your mental health.” Well, my hero sure makes me go ga-ga, so if that gets the mental health, among other things, flowing, bring it on! Love it. Thanks!

Erin July 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

My current obsession is a book series – Troubleshooters by Suzanne Brockmann. There are minutes, hours, and days when I am ashamed to spend so much time in an alternate reality, but when I surface, I FEEL better. It really is a way for me to relax and re-charge myself and it’s necessary for my health. As long as I’m still taking care of responsibilities, I do my best to tell that nagging little voice to shut up. 🙂

Twitter: Heligirl
July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Thanks Erin. Reading your description really made me smile and feel good inside. You really get it. It means so much that you shared this with me. Thank you. I might have to check out that book series. I love a good book. And I love how you tell that nagging voice to shut up. You rock!

Susan July 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm

You mean it’s not normal to obsess over something to the point that you just about forget about feeding the kid? And you enjoy the fact that the kid is finally old enough to not have to be monitored 24/7, so you can get a fix?

The past several months, I have been totally absorbed. I am reading and watching videos online, and learning like a sponge. I can’t help it!!!! Call me a negligent mom. Call me what you will. Just don’t call me June Cleaver- because that’s definitely one thing I am not.
Susan recently posted: A Different Perspective of Death: Pure Alignment in a Moment

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