I run away from my emotions. I run away from this page, a place to harbor my deepest sentiments. I run away from the discomfort of feeling alive and from the possibility of heartbreak.
My heart broke this week.
I run away from the itchiness of regret, the moments I can’t get back, and the bottled up tears from when I was five and I didn’t understand why the world was so loud, so chaotic, and so violent.
I run away from scary men, border patrol agents, and true intimacy with sane men who deeply value themselves.
I just. keep. running.
I run to Facebook to check if he’s already dating someone new.
I run to the grocery store to buy something, anything, to put in my mouth and help me feel less empty.
I run to the end of the street, hoping that this lingering feeling of loss will vanish.
I’ve run from continent to continent, from house to apartment to couch, from this guy to that guy, and from one feeling of discomfort to another.
It’s not that I’m depressed. It’s not that I’m lost, necessarily. It’s that I’m running away from how I feel.
More painful it is — and more confronting it would be — to sit and be with what I mistake for myself than to keep running.
For my past shortfalls.
For former bouts of neediness in relationships with unavailable men that lead me to pace my mind in the middle of the night, wondering what I did yet again to push them away, failing to realize they were most likely “unavailable” when I met them.
From the fear of my father I had growing up.
From this fear that now translates into moderate to extreme discomfort around super passionate and/or angry men.
From the belief, this deep-rooted, insidious belief that lingers in the background of all the above superficialities I’m running from: that I’m simply not good enough.
I realized that I have been impacted by addiction.
I recently attended a seminar where I heard people share their personal feelings around growing up in homes and communities where there’s been substance abuse. I happened to grow up in an area with epidemic proportions of addiction, so this resonated, deeply.
One of the most common traits of people close to addicts (self-declared or not), is their perpetual need to fix them.
Relatives and friends of addicts believe that they caused the drinking, the distance, the relapse, and the [fill in the blank].
On a deeper level, the affected person maintains that if the addict loved them enough, if they could successfully manage the addict’s life and/or show them how good and full of love and solutions they are, the addict would change their behavior. And all would be well.
But this isn’t often the case.
We are powerless over the actions of others.
I have a knack for dating people who need help. I experience the belief that if they would simply change, this would indicate that they love me and that I’ve done my job like a good girl.
I get my two stars, my nod of validation, and suddenly I feel safe, that the world won’t crumble down upon me. The chaos feels lessened and I feel a sense of control.
Until they don’t call.
Until they pick up a drink.
Until anything happens outside of my scope of what should take place.
Many of these people do need help. We all do.
But it’s not my job to give it, not when it’s unsolicited and self-indulgent on my part. And why do I think I need to fix people to love them?
The nature of my marathon running.
I’m running from the discomfort that arises when I face the thing that made me run to begin with.
I’m running from having to look the memories/people/past actions/etc. square in the face and own my role in the dysfunction without beating myself up.
Underneath the rubble, is self-acceptance.
Underneath the ashes, is self-love.
Time to turn around and look at the big, bad wolf.
Now, it’s your turn. We’re a family around here and I’d love to meet you! Introduce yourself in the comment section below and let me know who you are, what you’re excited about, and what represents the “big bad wolf” in your own life?
P.S. If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol, you are not alone. Find the help you need. Check out Alcoholics Anonymous and find a meeting in your area. You matter, always!
Lalita Ballesteros is an artist/poet/comedian and Founder of viralalita studios. She makes words and ideas come alive with contagious laughter and iconic style. Once, on a really good day, her writing and comedy were compared to The Daily Show. Don’t join her culty newsletter The Giggles and don’t watch her barefoot TEDx. Obviously, yell nice things at her on Twitter & Instagram. She likes that.
Image courtesy of unsplash.com.