I remember seeing a picture of a kid. He was holding a stick in his right hand that ran over his shoulder, and at the end of the stick, the kid tied a sack to it with all of his things inside.
He was running away.
Remember running away? I do. I used to run away all the time. I would stay gone for a while but I would eventually come home.
I suppose the things I was running from had nothing to do with my location. Instead, the reasons why I ran away had more to do with me than anything else.
Beneath the kid’s picture it said, “I don’t know about you but I’ve thought of running away more as an adult than I ever did as a child.”
I suppose this is true, but still, I believe the things I’ve wanted to run away from had more to do with my than my location or anything else.
I watched a woman hear a critique that was less than kind. It was brutal, in fact, but the critique was honest.
We are not supposed to take these things personal, mind you, but guess what—they are personal—everything is personal when you put so much of yourself into something and the results fall short of your hopes and expectations.
Her quote after the criticism was finished:
“I just want to disappear right now.”
I can understand how this feels. I think most people would understand how this feels. In fact, I think everyone would understand this.
As a matter of fact, I couldn’t understand how anyone wouldn’t understand this
I mean, sure. I used to run away.
I used to run away all the time. I used to try and hide too but there was always one problem that I could never seem to get away from.
The problem is no matter how fast I ran or drove; I could have been on a jet plane that moved faster than the speed of sound or on a rocket that moved faster than the speed of light, either way, no matter how quickly I moved, I could never outrun one specific thing—and that thing was me.
Sure, I found things that would placate the problem for a little while. I found a few ports in the storm and a few temporary reliefs by means of escape.
I used people places and things to come up with some kind of temporary distraction.
I tried to substitute medication for mind control. I tried to find an escape route by any means necessary but still, whenever the resource was done or the experience was over; there I was, facing the same old demons and processing the same old thoughts.
I remember an intervention I had with a 15 year-old girl. She was a smart girl but a poor student. She was a good kid but a behavioral problem, which, I agree this sounds like a contraction; however, behavior and performance is often a result of situational circumstances. This was certainly so in her case.
She was looking for something, I suppose. She wanted to have “Fun” which, I get it because hey, didn’t we all just want to have fun when we were 15?
Didn’t we all want to be part of the party?
There was so much missing that she was trying to find something—so she grabbed on to the kids that lived the crazy life. They lived the wild life and this seemed to be a good way to bury the situations for a while.
But in fact, the situation only grew. As hard as the girl tried and as far as she ran (sometimes literally) the more consequences she had to pay.
The truth is even if we choose not to learn from our own mistakes, life is going to teach us anyway. Even if we choose to ignore the warning signs, even if we disregard all the unfortunate outcomes, eventually, life catches up with us.
I’ll tell you why. It’s because no matter where you go, there you are.
I learned that a long time ago.
I learned this when I found myself in trouble. I learned this when I had handcuffs on my wrists. I learned this when I had a pistol pointed in my face.
I learned this when I went through my first attempt at a relationship and all things went wrong. I learned no matter where I go, there I am, still me, still thinking and still feeling. Geography never changed me. The crowds I chose to hide myself in never changed me either.
Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that no matter how you try, you cannot run away from yourself.
You cannot run away from your trauma. You cannot run away from the things you’ve seen but wished you never saw.
There is nothing ore inescapable than you.
You cannot run away from your feelings. You cannot stop your mind from the impulse of random thoughts—and let’s face it, no matter how we try, if there is an imbalance in the mind, meaning a clinical or chemical reason—you can try and run but you can’t run away from yourself and you can’t escape the fact that you are who you are.
In the case of the 15 year-old girl, I explained that certain things in life are unavoidable.
Either way, you will have to do your time.
With regards to school, I explained to her that she has a choice; either she does her time wisely at school and she plays when she comes home or she plays at school and does her time when she gets home.
Either way, she is going to have to do her time.
Either way, she has to do the work.
She has to deal with her circumstances. But I get it—she thought she could outrun the circumstances of her life. She thought she could beat the game. Unfortunately, this game did not end well.
I spent a great deal of my life, trying to escape the outcomes of my reckless mistakes. I spent a large portion of my adulthood trying to escape the fact that no matter where I go, there I am.
I could never outrun the fact that I have social anxieties. I could never outrun my insecurities. I have memories of public humiliations and fears or betrayal and exposure.
Try as I have, I have never been able to outrun these things. Try as I have, I have never been able to outrun my hatred, which has turned inward at times. I have never been able to escape my wrong-doings or the wreckage of my past. I could never outrun my own vanity, which is my ego, which is my need to bury my tracks so that I will not seem imperfect or better yet, unacceptable
I tried though . . .
I tried to run away and find another way to circumvent or get around the system of our lives, and each time, I ran face first into the same, inescapable fact. I am me.
No matter where I go and no matter what I do, who I am is inescapable.
I am and will always be me . . .
I learned that I am most powerless whenever I try to fix or control things that I have no control over.
I can run and try, but still, fact is fact.
I cannot escape fact.
I look how I look. I sound how I sound.
I am who I am.
The only choice I have in order for me to have a consistently better my life on a daily basis is accept me as I am and improve my assets on a daily basis instead of focusing on my faults.
In my past
efforts to outrun pain, I found that I suffered more and endured more than I
had to. I learned that the suffering would have been less if I had only stayed
where I was and learned to work this out.
I learned that anticipation of pain or sickness, and loneliness, or fear of any kind is often worse than the pain, sickness, loneliness, and the fear itself.
I used try and escape my trauma. I tried to escape my fears. I tried to run away from the wreckage of my past. I tried to get away from my poor choices of behavior and escape the consequences of my self-destructive behavior—but that’s the problem with self-destructive things because you face self-destruction and the outcomes that have come to you are delivered by your own hand.
It is true. I have considered running away more as an adult than I have did as a child. It is true that I have wished I could disappear sometimes.
There are times when I spoke out and afterwards, I grew so angry, inwardly wishing I had just kept my big mouth shut.
Either case, I am who I am
Why should this be something so tragic?
What if I didn’t run?
What if I faced the music?
What if I didn’t disappear and what if I faced my life and learned the secret to my personal endurance.
In my mind are thousands of rooms. I call this my self-storage units, just like the buildings I see in commercial office spaces.
I have memories here. I have workers and different stations of emotions. I have plans here and dreams as well.
I have a central plant, which is the thought machine located in the center of my head.
I also store things which do not serve me here. I have a trash room which can use some tidying up.
I think about it this way. I think about the lights that burn electricity and how many of the unnecessary rooms in my mind are wasting my energy.
What would it look like if I were able to shut down even a small percentage of them? What would it look like if I were able to conserve my energy and focus this on something useful instead of allowing this energy to be burned or misused on regrets and unrealistic ideas of running away from inescapable things?
Around the time I was taught that wherever I go, there I am; I was also taught an acronym.
This can mean two things . . .
Fuck Everything And Run
Face Everything And Recover
Answer this and you will define your wellness (and happiness) for the rest of your life.
By the way, that 15 year old grew up a little bit. She struggles. She has her bouts. Her friend though, which was her best friend, she died in this car wreck that you see here.
No matter how fast we try to outrun life or its warning signs, eventually life catches up