Musings · Quotes

All you had to do was stay

“After all, it’s one thing to run away when someone’s chasing you. It’s entirely another to be running all alone.”

― Jennifer Smith 

Sarah’s mother parked her car outside my house to collect her and I thought “here is my chance”, I was angry at my mom and dad for reasons I cannot even recall. But my parents had gone out and now there was an opportunity to leave.

“I hated myself for going, why couldn’t I be the kind of person who stays?”  ― Jonathan Safran Foer

When my mother and father picked me up from Sarah’s house a few hours later, I saw my mothers face contort with fear and pain that stabbed at the back of my eyes. I didn’t ever want to leave her again, but I didn’t want to admit that my behaviour was childish either so I nodded at her through the front window.

At 21, after many trips down the highway, singing and screaming into my steering wheel, I have realised that I can’t run anymore. I have always had a habit of leaving, always, after a fight, during a fight or right before the fight has even begun. I don’t understand the urge to run, hide and completely disconnect, but I follow it. It is the strongest sense of direction I have ever felt, but it is the easiest way to get lost.

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn’t want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

I wonder what I have been most afraid of, the result or what comes to light during the fight itself. Sometimes I want to cover my ears, because I don’t want to hear that I am wrong. Pride is such a nasty quality at these times. I cannot stand my behaviour being brought forth for me to see and cringe at. I pack my bags, scurry around the room and blow my nose and sob before I angrily slam the boot of my car and drive off. 

It’s the loneliest world I could ever create, one that doesn’t deal with issues but runs from them, one that doesn‘t grow and learn from conflict but avoids it, one that doesn’t fight for relationships. It is a world that let you go if you posed any threat to my ego. A selfish child shouting: “Fine, don’t talk to me ever again!” out of hurt and anger and not meaning a single nasty syllable slipping from her lips.

“I leave, and the leaving is so exhilarating I know I can never go back. But then what? Do I just keep leaving places, and leaving them, and leaving them, tramping a perpetual journey?” 
― John Green

My immediate response during conflict is to emotionally shut-down, in that time whatever you say wont hurt me and whatever I say intends to hurt you. Once I have cooled down though, it is like the words said have been hanging in midair and they suddenly all spin towards me at once and knock the wind out of me. I feel it all, unprepared.

The truth is, all this time I thought I was a coward, sometimes I even thought I was the hero for keeping the peace, but now I know the truth. I have not been running from my problems or running from the fight, I have been running from myself. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where I go, I will still be me. I will just be me somewhere else.

“And I realised that there’s a big difference between deciding to leave and knowing where to go.”  ― Robyn Schneider

In my blind attempt to fix things, I have only broken myself, isolated myself and burnt my fingers. I then blamed the flames for touching my hands uninvited.


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