It took me some number of years to really see this. I talked you to about when I got a tattoo…and how on reflection I could see that everything I was doing was about trying to control and make my environment ‘perfect’, to ignore the very imperfect feelings I was trying hard not to feel.
My greatest turning point came when we moved to Canberra for my ex’s job. We weren’t doing so well together at that time and in hindsight moving away from a city we loved and all our friends was quite possibly the worst thing we could have done.
However… I really believe that we both thought it could be a chance to turn things around. And so you try, right?
Of course, what we were both relying on was that a change of house, city and job was enough to change the reality of our situation. And when the novelty of relocating wore off – there we were. The two us, just the same as we had been before. Quelle surprise.
I have always been a runner.
Running away from myself mostly.
I have run from relationships. Emotions. Feelings. Situations.
Leaving relationships, moving jobs, homes, even continents (!) Running for km’s upon km’s hoping to somehow leave part of me behind. And in younger times getting lost in partying hard – drinking and drugs mostly.
Yet in the end, it doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go, how many miles you travel or how many substances you pour in to squash the bubbling emotions … you will always still be there in the end.
Over the past few years I have finally been able to slow down enough and catch up with myself. To be able to look at myself, including literally in the mirror, and listen to what that small and frightened me needs.
Becoming a mum has been great (in so many ways) because now, I cannot run.
Becoming parents has meant really processing my ‘completed’ marriage because we are still parents of the same small people. In another world I would have run and repeated the same pattern somewhere else with someone else.
Now, I have to pause more often. I have to deal with ‘stuff’. I have to put down roots (semi-roots..still not quite there!) yet while we are here, I have to be here. Present and appreciating, with some difficulty at times, the mundane, day to day life.
…For I see, now, that this is where the moments live. The moments that make up a life. Being able to see the world through children’s eyes brings home the magic in stuff I wouldn’t even notice. Knowing how much they appreciate routine and same old… teaches me to do the same.
The urge to run is not out of me. Perhaps it never will be. I have itchy feet. I long for new places. To move house, to find new spaces, to be on a plane, in a car – just moving. I found even having a mortgage (which I don’t now) felt so heavy I could barely breathe. Having too much ‘stuff’ in my house makes me anxious and I fret.
Having the kids’ at me and on me all the time can feel, like I imagine, drowning to feel.
My running response now is to be busy. I rarely stop moving or doing… I have a very high and fast output for this reason – which is great in many respects, yet I can burn out just as quickly if I am not careful or aware. I push myself hard and I, at times, push those around me too hard. I can and do intake volumes of information and equally I can send myself into a spin second guessing everything I do, know, am!
And so, every day, I have to take big breaths – heavy and purposefully and often. 6:3 breathing especially.
I have to ask for space (when dealing with a 6 & 8 yo often has the exact opposite effect!) yet I have to ask.
I have to move – whether I get on the ergo or we go to the park and I do yoga while they play.
I have to read.
I have to close my eyes in meditation and invite stillness, space and quiet in- otherwise I do not unwind the momentous forces that build with always moving.
But here’s the real moral to this tale.
As long as you can run, you won’t ever need to look at what you are running from. Perhaps you might be able to run forever but at some stage you will stop… even if you run right to your death bed there… you will find you.
The very same part of you with the very same pain, hurt, beliefs and rules that have been the driving forces to keep you moving all this time. Whether that is physically moving or using drugs, drink, food, sex, shopping to avoid looking where you need to look at.
The very same part of you that needs you to acknowledge them, to recognise them and to heal them.
And here is a message from the wounded, anxious, fearful, hurt, scarred and small you.
Stop making such a noise and listen to me.
Stop drowning me out and hear me.
Stop squashing me down and feel me.
Stop being so busy and notice me.
Stop blaming everyone else, I have the answers if you are willing to look.
Stop pretending everything is fine, I am hurting and I am vulnerable.
Stop repeating the same patterns that hurt us , you need to be honest about what we need and want.
And finally, I am here anyway, so I ask you to hold out your hand and please bring me along with you whenever you go.