On Running Away

I’ve been thinking a lot this summer, writing a lot privately, and talking to friends and family.

I’ve come to a few realizations, and so I thought I would share in case they help you, too. When I look back on my life, I see that I’ve felt the worst, and been in most danger from the hauntings of my deep seated sadness and fear, when I felt trapped. Helpless. Hurting myself has often been my way of trying to “run away”.

So here’s a thought. Why don’t I simply…run away? I have two feet and a good head on my shoulders. No, I’m not going to go missing, don’t worry! I am just going to take some things into my own hands, even if others around me don’t approve. What is more important – pleasing others, or my own sanity? For once, I actually think it might be the latter.

I’m “running away”. I’m doing it for me. The risk of staying where I am has finally grown greater than the risk of moving forward. Wish me luck!

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Day 3,4,5,6? – David Suzuki 30 x 30 Nature Challenge

Many of my nature 30 minutes these past have been just walks around town running errands. Yesterday, it was watching gorgeous fireworks. I hope you have the opportunity to watch a fireworks show or two this summer (or set up your own!)! It is such a pleasure.

Another shot of those magnolias on my walk home. Just for good measure.

Another shot of those magnolias on my walk home. Just for good measure.

Day 2 – David Suzuki 30 x 30 Nature Challenge

robin's egg

We found this in the garden. The little robin inside hatched and here is the lovely little souvenir it left behind.

I went home for the weekend, and spent my 30 minutes in nature gardening with my mom. We filled up a chin-high paper bag of dandelions! 

I saw my own two hands doing something productive and enjoyable. I relaxed. The simple pleasure of a relaxing moment can mean so much when you’ve spent some time in the thick of anxiety! If there is anything good about my mental health issue, maybe it’s becoming able to appreciate the beauty of mental health, of all the parts of my miraculous brain working in harmony. To know that even the worst anxiety is just my body trying to protect me. To discover that I really do care about myself, after all.

Maybe this challenge is nature meditation for the spazzed-out city girl brain? All I know is, it was deliciously springy – the highlight of my day…again! 

Peace at the end of the day.

Image

Last night, laying in bed, I remembered many things. It’s funny the memories anxiety brain can pull out! Were you ever insecure, ever shy or shamed, ever fearful or shunted from the group? Anxiety brain will track down that memory for ya, donnworryabouddit. 

Do you want to know what those things were for me? *TRIGGER WARNING*.

Well, it was little things that I thought about, as I successfully(! :)) deep-breathed and journaled my way to sleep. I remembered being the last kid to leave my classroom for recess or lunch time. It was third grade. It didn’t seem to matter to my teacher that this was the ONLY thing I did slowly, that I won awards for my grades every year. All that seemed to matter in that moment was that I was late getting my things together. In a flush of shame, I felt that in the moment that was me, all of me – a slow girl.

Wacky, eh?! The things anxiety drags behind it as it runs through your brain. But it makes sense. I’ve got my thoughts and then my feelings, and they inform each other. The bad feelings in my stomach and my breathing from worry lead, through some fancy brain circuitry, to more negative thoughts, and then – boom, boom, boom – to these negative memories, ‘proofs’ for me, that I should be ashamed, that I am not good enough as I am.

Which of course stirs up those butterflies in my stomach..

But here’s the thing. I decided in that moment, that I won’t shame myself for being the last to leave that classroom in the third grade.

Neither will I do it for anything ANYONE has said, for ANY past or present, real or imagined, ‘infraction’.

I will not shame myself for being different.

Changing in a way that pleases others should NOT bring relief, but indifference. Changing in a way that pleases me, that brings me an accomplishment, or enriches my life? That should NOT bring indifference, but JOY.

So today, I am JOYFUL that I acted as a kind daughter, a supportive girlfriend. This day of kindness is a notch in my belt of good that I have brought to the world. If I die tonight, that right there is the beauty that I have added to the world.

That is enough for me.

Today I am JOYFUL that I got some typing and organizing done for my Italian paper without a breakdown, because each day like this makes me a little bit stronger. Tomorrow, let’s be real. I will probably break down again. I will cry again. Soon enough I will see my world as a downward spiral again, visualizing the pieces of me falling away. Tonight I am not afraid of this. Anxiety cannot kill me, and it cannot kill my spirit.

But most of all dear reader (if I ever have one, ha-ha), do you know why it DOESN’T MATTER if we fall down and fail at something, if someone or MANY people dislike us, if we have our hands bitten off by rabid bears on crack, if our S.O. leaves us, if our whole family teleports to another planet, if all life and traces of our existence get erased off the face of the Earth, do you know WHY it is still alright, why we will sleep tonight?

Because we have INHERENT VALUE as human being, and INHERENT POWER as human beings. We can do good. Starting with ourselves.

So tonight, I will be my OWN best friend.