In-betweeners like myself have often felt required to take up a more extreme performance of their identity in order to justify belonging.... People are free to assume whatever they like about me, my belonging remains unchanged.
I learned to make jokes about it, to laugh about it, and to smile at the jokes of others. It was a difficult task that often served only to facilitate the comfort of those around me, but I wanted to belong, to feel accepted, so I grew comfortable with the idea of always leaving part of myself at the door.
Straddling two worlds (my years working as a stripper, and the path to my PhD) is a state I have repeatedly found myself in, in many ways and at many times throughout my life, but only recently have I come to know it by name. Welcome to the in-between.