No Matter Where You Go, You Can’t Outrun Your Monsters


All human beings should try and learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. James Thurber

Do you ever feel like you have run so far from someone or something that you forget what you are really running from? We build up these hairy, dirty monsters in our head from these seemingly hairy, dirty experiences that we never want to revisit. But do we even know what we are running from?

We are scared to get close to people because we have had our heart broken. We have ventured into the land of “I love you” and been left stranded on the side of the road. We are scared to be intimate because that one night stand didn’t turn into anything more than a shitty morning or because that first date turned into brilliance turned into nothing. We are scared when an older family member gets a cold because we have lost young family members, but we won’t even go there. See, that’s what I am talking about. We are so scared to go back to scary feelings that we avoid them and stop living life how it should be lived: with reckless abandonment.

I had a good friend in college who used to talk about living like this — living fully and loving wholly. I always thought I was really good at this. I thought in giving and giving and giving of myself I was loving fully. I was so damn wrong. I gave so much of my me that I got lost in other people. I was burned out before I was 22 and I needed to get the hell away. I pushed all the feelings of fear and sadness under the rug and ran.

Running to another country does not solve your fear of these hairy, dirty monsters (it does provide good beer and good sightseeing and is highly recommended — if only for the right reasons). Coming home, however, forces you to face these beasts. It forces you to wrestle and grapple if only to survive the day and perhaps let some love in once in awhile. Coming home can be a metaphor too, you know. It doesn’t have to mean coming back like I did from some godforsaken country. It can mean coming “home” because you realize it is time to deal. For real.

I decided to come home truly and metaphorically. I sat back and decided how critical is was to start living with intention, I found a huge part of me that was hiding. I couldn’t give it all for nothing in return. I needed to be fed; wholly and fully. It is not one-sided; not in love, not at work, not in family affairs. It is impossible to face your demons alone. I am not strong enough for everyone. I cannot go at it alone. I called my dad one time lying on the floor, not wanting to get up for work and he, who rarely lets me feel bad for myself said, “I am sorry, honey. Pick up your pieces and know you can come over”. That was all I needed. I needed to know I could depend on someone, I could let someone love me, but mostly that I had a place to go. I decided it was time to make my own home. At this point, I was living alone, working my ass off and trying to be intentional about figuring out what the heck I wanted.

I am still figuring out some of what I run from. But I know a lot of it. I know a lot of what I was running from when I ran to Asia, to Eastern Europe, to Western Michigan, to graduate school, and honestly simply back into bed. I know that I want to stick around now. I want to keep building my home here. I want to keep learning how to love deeply and learning how to be in love with someone.

Most of all, I really, really like letting myself feel love, real love. Not security blanket love, not safe love or comfortable love. I want to stop running away from career choices because I am scared to be committed. I actually like the work I do. I can be deeply invested in my family as I always have been and not spend my entire weekend meeting their every need; they will still love me. Got that?

These things I have come to love are no longer dirty, hairy monsters, but an evolution of myself. I don’t need to revisit old demons, I am living in today and in now and in this moment. I don’t need to be terrified of what is next because I have worked tirelessly to sharpen the tools I have been given for this journey. My intention is clear today, my home is mine and I have built it and created it and made it my own for a reason. This intentional journey is a testament to all those fights I have fought and won, as well as those I have lost. This journey is a love letter to my past and my future about where my roots are planted and how far I will let them grow. And the universe knows they are growing.

featured image – Vick the Viking