Between two worlds is where I find myself. Navigating entirely separate lives existing on different planes. Nothing is the same between them, except for the simultaneous presence of me. I am the connecting force between two homes.
Staying in contact with people has never been a strength of mine. Life moves too quickly to remain on top of even the most important of relationships. Each shift in time brings a new set of challenges with this. A new semester is a task of keeping up with friends back home. A new break from school dawns the struggle of maintaining relationships with those from school. It is a constant in-between. There are myriad attempts to allow bonds to thrive amidst the utter chaos of daily living.
Change comes from the constrained time in each world. I have forgone memories as I know that I will leave that self behind again shortly. Permanence never came. Everything has felt so temporary, as anything established here in Kingston will be gone in a few short months. Anything back home will go with the start of a new semester. Multitasking with each independent life of mine is a skill I have yet to master.
I have seen life from each side. Observing the effects of time on the place I grew up from the sidelines. Buildings go up. Businesses move. People change. I watch from the cheap seats, never daring to edge further back into that life. I am not that person any longer. It feels wrong to re-enter as I am now as to go back would be to regress. To move back into she, I no longer know. The one whose world I re-enter her world a few times each year. So when I return to her, just a short train ride away, I am reminded of the growth I have made. The fundamental changes in who I am ground me in my identity even as I waver between my known self.
Home knew the girl who was stubborn in her commitment to the sciences. The quiet dancer who dedicated everything to her two loves: academic validation and the world of ballet. She was scared of facing the days. Unsure of who she was, where she was going. That girl truly believed that she would feel unwanted and disconnected forever. My Kingston self has deviated far from her plans. A writer who values rather than fears her time alone, I exist in my home self’s dream world. I am chasing days rather than dreading the nights. Though you could say I have changed nearly every aspect of who I am, I am more myself than ever before.
I have loose ties connecting me home, but even those have shifted with time. The friends I have kept since high school have changed too. We are not those same people who left in 2019, yet we are what bind each other to that place. It’s a delicate balance between past and present. I crave the comfort of childhood innocence while longing for the freedom of adolescent independence. I miss the safety of what I had always known. The familiarity, the predictability. It all fades on that train. Those few hours separate two people who will never encounter each other. Not in entirety.
It was never natural to exist in a state of disjointed being. To have a multiverse of lives, slightly interconnected, but never enough to be experienced as one. There is a constant threat of collapse. One wrong move and the worlds I have crafted will come crashing down. An ever-looming sense of lacking has consumed what I see myself as. I struggle to maintain a true presence as a piece of my mind is constantly stuck where I am not. I cannot be wholly myself, as I have yet to be unified in all the selves that have come to be.
It could be that I simply grew up, and this is all a symptom of some identity crisis. A call back to youth riddled with attempts to take back time. My dissatisfaction with the steep divisions in myself could be a wary display of my failure to accept impending adulthood. Whatever label I wish to attach to it, there is no solution to come in the foreseeable future.
I am the master of the tightrope. Carefully facilitating the operation of entirely different lives, never slipping up. I hold on to what was and what is. I look past faults and misfortunes to the great happenings at the end of the rope. There will be an end to the balancing act. A moment of reunification with myself. One in which I can simply be independent of wherever I happen to be. Time will not be the killer of memories, of relationships. I will no longer be restricted to the few weeks reserved for myself. I can simply be as I am and live free from the restraints of borrowed time.
I came into my life on my own and will ultimately leave. It’s the only certainty I have. The middle is what is meant to be chased; to be revered. It’s the people I have come to know, the places I have been, and the lessons I have learned. It’s all a balancing act, the two worlds I live between, but perhaps, it’s just another middle that I will come to appreciate.
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