How good is running away from things? Problems, responsibilities, issues. So much so, that there's multiple memes surrounding it.
The problem is, as we get older this gets less and less cute and the allowances made for us get smaller and less frequent.
So, eventually, we have to either life up, or life out.
As a child there was a group of girls who picked on me and my best friend. I wasn't very cool, ESPRIT t-shirts and scrunch socks etc, so I guess I fell into the second tier of optimal people to hang our with at age ten. In year five, I was saved! We relocated to Sydney from Melbourne. Although I was sad to leave my friends it meant something new for me: I could start again and be a new person.
Two years later I started year seven and I got to start again, all over. Any disagreements I'd had or issues with anything in my life, I got to start again and clean the slate. My brain had learnt to solve issues by waiting until I could get out, setting it on fire and bailing.
The problem with running.
I enjoyed running away from things. Friendships after a fight, relationships that weren't working out, jobs that I didn't enjoy. I would just cut my losses and disappear from it.
The issue is: you will never be at home.
You will never love fully because you always have one foot out the door. You will never work through issues because it's easier not to. You will never nurture lasting friendships because you'll abandon them at the first sign of trouble. Every location will feel temporary and every person expendable to you.
You begin to never really feel present anywhere you are. Because you know that you are probably just going to leave again.
Transient by nature.
By September 2015 I hadn't had a home in two years. I had become addicted to the transience of it. I was never old news, never part of the furniture. I was always missed by someone and always an exciting visitor everywhere we went. You couldn't offend anyone or fight with anyone or have anxious conversations if you were always a novelty.
The way my brain had learned to deal with confrontation paired beautifully with a gypsy lifestyle.
Now, I'm not saying this is a bad lifestyle by any means. You can travel the world and meet wonderful people leading to a very substantial life and never really having a fixed location. But I had adopted it for the wrong reasons. I wasn't running to new life, I was running away form my old ones. I didn't want to come home and deal with the harsh reality of a broken relationship and thousand questions, both personal and public.
You know who did need some structure and base though? My one-year-old. I'm not against raising children around the world or homeschool or gypsy caravan living AT ALL. It just did not suit my child so much. For the first year or so he didn't see my family, he didn't make any little baby friends and I didn't have mother's group or support network. Archie is a super-social butterfly who is forever wanting to play with other kids and the lifestyle I was creating was very liberating for me but didn't allow him to have any ongoing routine or predictability.
Two years ago I ran away for the last time. From my marriage. I ran away to the Central Coast and tried to forget all the years of my life that had come before that. The thing is - you can run away from your problems but you can't run away from your mind.
All the issues that I had left behind along the way were still with me and they still lived in my crazy brain at night when I went to bed.
So I had to start taking ownership of them. It was time to change the way I was handling uncomfortable situations or painful occurrences. It wasn't okay just to run away anymore.
Getting Archie into a preschool, soccer and swimming forced me to stay put and work on myself. It was a quiet refuge where I could heal and work through the years of avoided issues I had let compile. When I emerged a few months ago a stronger person, I felt I didn't need to run away anymore. I was okay to stay around.
How to get out.
If this is you, this was me too. Here's some things that helped me.
- Stop lying. Especially for stupid things like cancelling dates or being hungover during a breakfast.
- Stop setting things metaphorically on fire. Fall into the awkwardness and own it (I stole that from Dave).
- Stop making yourself a person who gets out of situations the easy way.
- Own your issues. I am not always right and sometimes I did shitty things. This was hard because I knew it was true.
- Apologise and mean it.
- Accept people are more forgiving than you think.
- Say goodbye to your shame. Embarrassment is only there if you invite it.
- Stick with it and see it through.
My girlfriends now have been my girlfriends for a long time. We have had disagreements, ups and downs but we stick with each other and love each other unconditionally.
I have a home in a place I love surrounded by people I see regularly and enjoy the company of.
I have a relationship that doesn't end at the first fight.
My son has a home. He has little human friends that aren't me and a crush on his soccer coach Tara.
Best of all, I have such a truer sense of self because I'm not running from the problems anymore, I'm resolving them.