The Day I Stopped Running
I’ve always been a runner. Not in the literal sense mind you as my family likes to remind me that I “run funny.” Whatever the hell that means. But for as long as I can remember, when a situation wasn’t something that I was comfortable with (read: not going my way) I ran from it. I seem to get an inexplicable urge to escape unsavory circumstances. If you asked me what sounds remind me of my youth I would have to say the sound of slamming doors punctuating silence that was heavily weighted by fear/anger/frustration would be most familiar. Wood hitting wood like an exclamation point to my rage. I wanted everyone in the house, or hell, the neighborhood to know that I had been wronged. It never took much to push me over the edge. Besides the fact that I am extremely empathetic & highly emotional person, I possess the temper of a redhead. Although growing up my father blamed my temper on my curls. He would recite the nursery rhyme, “There once was a little girl with a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very very good but when she was bad she was horrid.” That pretty much says it all.
My penchant for running has stayed with me into adulthood. There aren’t as many slammed doors (but there are still a few) but I am definitely quick to turn on my heel and escape when I feel I am not in control of my emotions. I have confrontation issues as well. In the heat of the moment I can’t seem to get my brain & my mouth to connect and form coherent thoughts and sentences. I thought about running from my marriage long before it was actually over. I divided assets in my head. Planned what my own place would look like when I lived on my own. Imagining my life like some glamorous singleton you see on tv. When it actually happened I hadn’t anticipated the physical feeling of a heart breaking or fighting over inanimate objects with someone you promised to spend your life with. Intentionally hurting one another in ways that take years to heal.And living in my parent’s basement was not really the image I had conjured in my daydreams (although I will always be grateful for everything my family did for me during that time & the times that followed).
I still had urges to run when Ginger & I were dating too. These urges were different though. It was more out of habit & preparation and what I know now to be gut instinct. I carried around some pretty deeply rooted insecurities & could tell you 100 different things at any given time why he shouldn’t be with me. In my head, if I left, I could say “I told you so. I knew this is how it was going to happen.” Maybe that would go a long way in preventing the inevitable heartache. Wrong again! My breakup with Ginger left me swimming in pools of doubt & self pity (again, I’m grateful to my family and for finding a caring, competent therapist.
It’s not like things changed immediately when FF came into the picture. I still tended to shout angry words and storm off if he said things that clashed with my version of the truth. However, it didn’t take very long before he simply wouldn’t chase me anymore. I was free to run but he wouldn’t be there for me to slink back to or grovel my apologies too. Wow! Looking back now it’s kind of the adult version of CIO (Cry It Out – used for babies)…I had to learn to self soothe in order to avoid melting down. I had to find it within myself while being carefully guided by someone who cared deeply.
I realized the other day that I am finally healing. I explained to FF the other night that my temper tantrums are different now. They may feel the same to him but they’re very different to me. Yes, I still turn on my heels and walk off. But now I do it in order to make sense of my thoughts before returning to the situation to make amends. When I leave I am thinking about my return and how to ease the hurt & frustration my departure caused. I don’t think about what stuff I’ll take or where I will live or try to create some mean, hurtful things to say. I still run, but today, I always come back. XO