I have done it a lot. In fact, if one were paying attention to my life (which I am often not) one might conclude that I have spent the whole of my life running away from myself.
It is exhausting really. All of this running. Taking off to parts unknown and with people perhaps I should not. It is a thing. Well, for me anyway.
I think I keep learning. And I do. I really do.
But there is a level of disconnect...me from me.
I see it. But I have seen it before. Several times actually and I think that I am taking action, but then, here I am again. Quite unsure what all this action has produced or is even capable of producing.
And even this whole discourse is somewhat disrespectful to myself, about myself. Because I am not the same person. I am not. I have made progress. Lots of progress. And I will progress again. Through the pain and the dysfunction. I will not spread sunshine all over dis-ease and call it something other than what it is.
I am healing. I am changing. But sometimes, that growth isn’t pretty. It is ugly, gnarled, hardened, gross and always, excruciating.
So it is with some shame and a great deal of discomfort that I discuss my running. To and fro and back again. No idle time to examine or even bemuse. Just a being in constant motion trying to do what exactly?
Despite years of inventory, I am still not completely sure.
Oh others have their ideas, but me, I remain somewhat transfixed on the idea that there is a place I can run to where I will not be.
And it strikes me that this is odd, this whole endeavor, because, of course, wherever I go there I am. It is this way for all of us, no one is exempt. It is perhaps the cost of living, we are given this one life and by the time we figure out who we are and accept the good and the not so good, the time is almost up and we regret all the running we did and wish for more idle time to think whatever we think and regret missing all those opportunities to feel life as it happens to us and for us.
We cannot go away from us, yet, I see us all try in all the habitual ways. Some of us do the exiting to the point of actual extinction. Some of us overshoot our mark, and others of us intending that overreach into permanent silence.
I won’t bore you with the list again, all the ways and manners I run. You know it, even if you haven’t ever read mine before, you have your own. I know you do. And this is what it is like when your largest source of discomfort is within yourself.
I believe this is why I look so hard outside myself. It is dark and foreboding in my heart and mind. I am always the worst enemy I have ever had. I am the one with the long dissertations into why this or why not that. And the most unsafe place I have ever been in my life is alone with my thoughts, about myself.
I draw erroneous conclusions. I make things up. I lie, deceive and misrepresent. I am not good to myself, just look at my life, most especially my love life. I pick badly, repeatedly. And this is not to say that I pick bad men. No, they are not. They are damaged, broken, or most likely just wrong for me. And I seem to not be able to accept that. I cannot stop myself from wanting someone who proves, repeatedly, to not be a person upon whom I can rely.
As I flew across the country today on yet another ill-advised respite from myself, the changing landscape assured me that different is always possible. And it was as I boarded the last plane, this thought came to me....
Why have I spent so much time trying to make the man in my life do what I want, be who I want, instead of taking note of the way they are, how they act, who they are and matching that up with what I want and need instead? No I have been stubborn in my refusal to do it that way. I want to bend them to my will.
It looks like this:
I have decided that you are right for me. And we are going to be happy and in love, forever. Except that you just did something I didn’t like, hurt my feelings, was inconsiderate, rude, dishonest and I now have to overlook that because I decided some time ago that you were the “right” one.
Until all those overlooked items come spilling out of me in a fit of angry rebellion or hurtful reprise. And I throw them at you like daggers that maim and have messages etched in them "you have failed at loving me" seems to be the most familiar refrain. And perhaps you have. But I do not say that except in these despondent invectives. I try to make myself not need the thing you will not give, or forgive the way you discount me or ruin me. And instead of seeing that this you in front of me just isn’t right for me, I stay and do my best to make you right for me. And it never works, despite the decades I give you and me to do this dance that avails us so much upheaval and unrest.
This just landed in my chest. I have known this for some time, but the distance between one's head and heart can be a million miles or perhaps even lightyears. I will claim neither but I will give a reluctant nod to the fact that me accepting this has taken way longer than is likely healthy or good for me.
Why did I not develop the idea and habit of allowing people to show me who they are and accepting whomever shows up as valid and true? Why have I, instead, seen what I saw, not enjoyed it and then insisted that it (you) be different to suit me?
How arrogant and difficult can one woman be?
And I would feel badly about this except, I don’t. I know so many that never arrive in the mental space I visited today. They insist the love they have is enough to carry them, when in the reality, the love operates in such a fashion as to scream loudly and vehemently the perfect fit definitively lives elsewhere. This is information you could use, I could use, but we don’t. We, instead, draw ourselves up and quarter ourselves, all in an effort to prove we don’t need flowers, or fidelity or love or sex or help around the house. We can do with less. So we do.
But for fuck’s sake why?
It seems insane to me now. Totally fucking mad. But here I am, 53 and still I do this. I find the round peg and attempt to ram it into the ill fitting and unruly square opening that really isn’t interested or vacant for such occupation.
Life would be so much easier if I spent more time examining my own motives and mind (heart and soul too, I guess) and then was honest, first with myself about my needs. Instead of just deciding that I shouldn’t have them, or they should be different, or deciding, somewhat insanely, I can make you be what I need and want if I just try harder, give more, show up more presently, demonstrating how loyal and loving I can be.
And maybe love really is just letting people be just who they want to be (thank you Mr. Jones) and this would include ourselves. To be more afraid to hold someone not right for us, or bad for us, or just not a good fit for us, tightly to our side, instead of just opening our eyes, minds and hearts to reveal that despite the appeal (sexual or other) that this person just isn’t capable of giving you (me) what you (I) want. And the kindest thing to do for all is to walk, not run, away. And I would suppose that if we all did this sooner, rather than later, the divorce rates would sharply decline and our happiness and satisfaction would rise exponentially, like a helium filled balloon unmoored from its tether.
So back to running. One's ability to discover is quite limited while running. It is hard to decipher much of anything while running. I mean you can listen to music, sure. You can even take in the scenery and watch for oncoming traffic. But other than that, all one can do while running is think in an endless loop of thought the same shit that got you into all of this in the first place.
Change requires stillness. And reflection. And some honesty mixed with an unwavering commitment of veracity to yourself about yourself and then, and only then, with all the others in your life.
I have refused to do that. And so a dishonest existence I have lived. I hold back, I keep to myself all the little fragments of myself that you shatter in acts of intention, acts misguided, acts directed by a million forms of fear and acts of lack of attention or complete self absorption (yours or mine).
That is impossible to see while running. Because the very nature of it requires stillness and quiet and an indomitable commitment to know oneself better, or well. To allow all the others, all the many others, to just pass on through if that is their purpose. To stop clutching those close to you that are very clearly not meant for you (and by you, I mean me).