Zein Al-Maha Oweis (she/her)
Everyone has a place that they escape to when things are going off the rocker; a safe haven to disappear to when we are stressed, scared, or tired of the world around us. Mine is an imaginary place, a place that blankets me from the evils, the pain, the suffering around me; a place to flee to for some peace of mind.
It’s a place I have called the In-Between. I don’t always go there and I am not always present in reality which is why it’s called the In-Between. How can I when I always have to look where I am going due to my visual impairment? Can you imagine what it is like to never fully day dream and always be present in time? You can never shut off because you need to watch when a step is coming, a pole you need to dodge or a cross-road where you have to keep your ears alert waiting for any whizzing cars to pass or the buzzing of the traffic lights to go in order to walk across the road to get to your intended destination.
Sometimes I wish that I could shut off and just be there; close my eyes, my brain, block my thoughts, and exist in the In-Between. Be on that purple bench beneath the red willow tree, where the crystal blue river flows and nature encompasses my surroundings. No cars, no pollution, just air, water, earth, and sky intertwining peacefully with one another, creating a blissful habitat. It’s always sunny and bright in the In-Between. It’s a place where darkness never seeps through. A place where I sit, breathe, and daydream about the positive thoughts that get me through the day.
As soon as I let go and take my first breath I am dragged out of the In-Between by the sounds of footsteps like a stampede around me inside the bustling university campus. It’s because of my heightened senses that I am never fully in the In-Between. Don’t get me wrong – I love my strong senses, they have kept me aware of my surroundings. But sometimes, the sounds around me can be overwhelming. When I go through such overwhelming and disorienting experiences all I want to do is jump through the veil that opens between reality and the In-Between and just breathe. In fact, I would not mind jumping into that river to cool down my nerves, anxiety, and claustrophobia that inhabits my thoughts during such experiences!