"Am I protecting myself?
Hell yeah, I am.
I can run really fast."
I never knew how terribly fond I am of running away. But I don't like dealing with messes or conflict, so it actually makes perfect sense. I distinctly remember one time during the fall of my junior year when I asked Ryan if he would run with me because we needed to talk, and he said yes. Then a half an hour later he decided to watch a movie with Alyssa instead. I was just left on the street when they walked the other way. I felt so abandoned, but I couldn't even say, "Hey, you said you would run with me!" I mean, at the very least, I could have said that. But I didn't. So that night I ran by myself, fast and hard... it felt so powerful. It was actually a really good God moment for me. But the fact remains, I was running away, and when I got back to my dorm, nothing had been solved.
Nearly two years later, I took my ipod and ran down past the barn to the meadow at my Grandma's house. I used to walk down that path with my Grandpa a lot when I was a kid. There's a path along the corn field that leads to a pond. I started running full speed down the path as I cried, leaving my flip flops behind in the grass because they only slowed me down. I just ran barefoot until I got to the pond, then I stopped because I couldn't run anymore. I stopped for a few minutes, doubled over, panting and asking God, "What now?" and "Why?" These questions only made me feel more angry, so I began to sprint again, up the hill this time. Until finally, the grass ran out, forming a triangle where the path ended... I stopped, glancing between the rocky path that continued up the hill and the corn field beside it, realizing there was no where else to go. Not ready to turn back, I lay down in the grass in an X position, turning Tenth Avenue North's plea into more of a challenge to God, "If you're everything you say you are, won't you come close and hold my heart." But after all that exhaustion, I had to turn back from the path. There was no where else to go. I had to turn back and face everything.
It was only a few hours prior to that when I wrote that I was protecting myself. But you know what, I didn't feel protected when I was driving home in my car, alternating between screaming and holding my hand over my mouth to stop the screaming. It seems like if I had chosen to be real and honest instead of running away from how I felt, maybe it wouldn't have had to hurt so badly. I mean at that point, maybe it wouldn't have made a difference, but running away certainly didn't help. Sure, I can run really fast. But if it doesn't solve anything--if it isn't really protecting me--what's the point of using up my energy on running?
I'd like to be the kind of person who is not afraid to be real and honest and face issues head on and expend all my energy on doing that instead of wasting energy on running away. And at the end of the day, after sticking to the deep determination to talk through things even though I just wanted to go hide under a rock, I would collapse on the floor in that X position that I'm so very fond of and know that it was okay... I didn't have to protect myself because being open and exposed was okay. And because you can't run forever, no matter how hard you try.
"No matter how thick skinned we try to be, there's millions of electrifying nerve endings in there. Open and exposed and feeling way too much. Try as we might to keep from feeling pain, sometimes it's just unavoidable. Sometimes that's the only thing left--just feeling." -Grey's Anatomy