I’ve been running all my life, but I never seem to get anywhere. No I don’t mean jogging. Good Lord no. I mean running. Away.
I come from a family full of walls, so it’s pretty natural to solve problems or people by closing my eyes and pretending I can’t see them. Life gets hard, and I think immediately, I could get away, start over, and maybe things would just be peachy. I think I’m currently the only member of my birth family speaking, or trying to speak, to every other member. Could I leave all that behind? Hell yes.
Sigh. Hell no. Because as much as I’ve wished at times it would, ignoring people and problems isn’t going to make them disappear. The problem is, I want to open my eyes, and see what’s in front of me, who is in front of me, and I need to like what I see. Lately I dream night after night about my family. I try to make things alright, and of course, I fail. In real life, I’m practicing NOT trying to make things alright, and it’s downright refreshing. But my dreams are a reminder of failures of all kinds. I can’t run away from them, either, so I have to look at them up close and personal.
When I first started dating my husband, the one I’m married to now that is, I warned him that I have a run-away problem. And indeed, there were at least three moments of panic in the first year, that involved me saying goodbye forever and walking out the door. He was very patient with me. I still have my moments, still talk about that bus to nowhere, to anywhere but here. I still yell and storm off. But see, this man wasn’t raised like I was. He follows me, eventually. He tries to stay reasonable, which is not easy for him, either. He’s far from perfect, but what he does works because he doesn’t walk away like I do. He knows even in the terrible times that this, what we have, is valuable, that it will last through one stupid fight, that family is family even when that family is messed up with disorders, drugs, bad relationships, terrible behavior, whatever it is. I hate that it’s so hard for most of us to get that.
Of course, some people are just too toxic to one another. They just are. I get that, and I don’t know where those lines are. It’s personal for each of us. Obviously, people have to keep themselves safe. But I do believe that the lines can shift over time, and with help. I believe when you write someone off forever, you’re hurting yourself as well, forever. It’s up to each of us to manage which pain is worth it. I believe in forgiveness, where there’s meaningful apology. The kind offered willingly, with no excuses.
So I’m not getting on a bus, at least not so far. I’ll be here a while, struggling, screwing up, storming, trying again. And someday, hopefully, I’ll be here when my kids want to talk. When they realize that forever is really too big for hatred. It only fits comfortably with love.