A Talk On Running Away (or, Therese’s Lament)

You’ve woken up one morning to everything in your life being uprooted, right? The sun is shining, the tank is clean, and – the tank is clean.

Just like that, all the plans you had for your future suctioned into a cold, impenetrable robot that also takes your water’s temperature on schedule. You can’t go with your original plan, which, short and concise though it may have been, led you to an oceanic future of possibilities. You wake up one morning and you are stuck.

So how should I presume?

I’ve been thinking a lot for these past 24 hours about what it means to be free of someone. It gets kind of difficult when his chains that bound you are now the only things holding your inner self together. To be free would mean losing a piece of you that you never wanted to let go of. The hopeful, trusting piece. The childish, loving, caring –

If you can’t tell by now, I’m having an emotionally difficult time. Can you guess why?

In short, I made the hesitant but full decision to depend on someone emotionally and now, without any warning or satisfying explanation, I have been left high and dry. And alone.

(I got dumped)

So how should I presume?

I am told it is not my fault. I am given explanations of his childish fear that do not satisfy my pallet. I am not the one at fault. What I do now is no longer his business. It is up to me to live a lonely life I thought would have been filled with him. It is up to me to fill a void that I’m not convinced should even exist. But…what am I supposed to do with that? 

HOW, pray tell, AM I SUPPOSED TO JUST PRESUME?

How am I supposed to trust that “everything will be ok in the end” when there’s a world full of people who put the toilet paper on the roll wrong or eat cheese sticks in bites instead of peeling them? The world is full of monsters that, in some capacity, ruin your life without even having the decency to scare you first. (I am not afraid of him. I am angry, sad, and confused.)

Sometimes these monsters make you believe that you are one of them. Without admitting it to yourself, you start fulfilling that prophecy. That’s the first thing that’s scary about them: how quickly they make you spiral out of control. One day you’re doing and loving business as usual, good morning my love. Next thing you know you’re doing things you’re too ashamed to admit to anyone beyond your sister.

The next scariest thing is how silently they rob you. You won’t even realize it, but they’re stealing your trust in humanity. Slowly but surely you lose things like hope, love – things they took long ago without you even realizing it. My monster doesn’t live under the bed or in my closet. He lives in the town over and he stole things from me. Things I will never get back, because Hope isn’t a pearl on a necklace that he recycled to his new girlfriend. I can’t find a replacement for Trust in Loving Someone at the closest WalMart (they never have what you need anyway).

The third scariest thing about these monsters is how quickly you’re ready to forgive them.

Because after all, he did steal your heart.

And so, my friends, it comes to my attention that in a messy soup of poor communication, lack of respect, and fear of intimidating but beautiful change that we unknowingly choose to consume, we are taught that it is painful and wrong to fully give yourself to someone or something else emotionally.

We all have our reasons for running away. When it comes to love? Well, this isn’t in black and white, but I’m seeing two teams that one can play on: the Fumblers and the Fallers. Either way, we’re playing a messy game that everyone’s involved in but no one wants to watch. The Fumblers are the ones who drop the ball and then run away. They are ashamed. The Fallers are the ones who hit the ground so hard they can’t get up to tell the Fumbler to turn around, try again, don’t give up. And here we are, still playing over and over and over again convinced that maybe it’ll be different this time.  

I digress.

What in the hell does this have to do with hiking, you ask?! Ah!

I met a really cool human, Dr. Josh, who told me most of the people you find out there are running away from something. I thought I fully understood what he meant –  I’ve got so many reasons to run away from this civilized life with my parents! I didn’t think I needed another one.

So here I am, even more ready to ditch everything. Except now I am not emotionally stable in the eyes of those supporting me. Now it is not a good idea for me to be “alone in the woods.”

I want to make something abundantly clear: I am really fucking miserable right now.  

Why are people so afraid to admit that when it matters? Because then your friends and family tell you it’s not a good idea to do this, which you completely disagree with, and if you disagree with them too then what do you have left? How many things do you have to give up or struggle through to achieve a goal you held so close to your heart? To uphold your morals? I’m not convinced my goals are worth the sacrifice, the pain, the explanation, the loss.

It becomes clear why so many people have sentences in their mouths like, “Well I wanted to go to film school,” or “I was in a band once, we could of made it big.” Why don’t you do it anymore?

The fear that the benefits of the voyage will not outweigh the life you could have established had you stayed.

Terrifying, right?

I know a thing or two about running away. Your problems? They follow you. I can’t help but think this is Fate’s cruel comeback for all the skeletons I have in my closet. Justin was not lying – what goes around comes around. I know that being on the trail will not magically make my life better.

You should know that, too: leaving (someone) isn’t magical. Mr. Clean doesn’t have a strong enough magic eraser to rid the world of your bullshit stains.

You know what, though? Hiking will make me work on my problems. Hiking will help prove that it’s not a flaw to fully dedicate myself to something, even though I’ve been real shitty to people in the past.

I am terrified of the 2200 miles. (And still miserable!)

But you got to recognize – don’t lie to yourself – when it’s most important in your life to accomplish something. And you shouldn’t let ANY monster hold you back.

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