Resilience in Liminal Space – Laura Gaines

Laura Gaines is a clinical social worker specializing in resilience, trauma informed care and mental wellness. She provides training, coaching and consultation for helping professionals. She writes a weekly blog about resilience at

Resilience in Liminal Space by Laura Gaines

I am going to make this work.

I will focus on the positive.

If I just try harder.

As misery, and exhaustion seep into my bones I don’t remember when it got to be so bad. So much energy spent maintaining the fragile peace. Don’t disrupt; be cooperative; pay attention. As long as I am agreeable, we live happily in this bubble. Life is perfect… Isn’t it?

There is no way out.

I can’t do this.

I want this to work out.

Don’t I?

The first step was miniscule, pointless really. I decide to grow my hair long. We don’t have long hair. We like our hair short, so we see Tessa every 6 weeks.” I am tired of short hair; I want to grow it out. “Your hair looks best short, you know that.” Sigh. But then I tell Tessa what I want. She responds, “okay,” as if it is no big deal! “I will cut your hair every other visit and even then, I will only shape it up as it grows out.” With a look aimed at me, “She looks best in short hair.” Tessa replies, “perhaps but she wants it long; she is ready for a change.”

I am ready for a change.

I try to repair this life we have.

This perfect bubble is not perfect.

I am so tired.

I extend an invitation to change with me. We can adjust. But we can’t. The bounds of the relationship stretch and then snap back, painfully, like a rubber band. I can no longer keep the peace. I imagine a different future. I break silence and tell people. They do not say I am selfish, wrong, ridiculous. They act like it is normal to desire more.

Again, I invite change.

“Yes, yes, I will allow you to grow your hair long”.

That is not the change I am looking for; I am alone on this journey.

There is no clear way forward.

I daydream about possibilities. I take small steps. People act like it is normal for me to show up at book club. The bubble shudders, struggling to contain two futures. No one knows the battle raging. Cracks appear and are mended. There is too little room. I pay attention, I try to create calm. And yet I keep stretching the bounds.

I am selfish.

I am myself.

I quit apologizing.

The bubble has stretched beyond all limits. It strains, shreds, and I am asked to save it please, please! I can’t. I don’t want to. I accept that this is over. All the compressed rules and expectations explode. Fury, fire, destruction. As the embers settle, I wake alone in a new room. Knowing the stages of trauma doesn’t stop them from happening.

All change is possible.

I will focus on the positive.

I am going to make this work.

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