Can you ever really run away from your problems?
Running away has been my go-to for ‘life survival’ since I was fairly young, and I don’t mean marching off into the sunset with a red gingham bindle and a cheese sandwich. I mean slipping out of the back door of my existence, kicking my heels as I go. I have left towns, cities and countries in frequent rotation, when the going gets tough, I get going.
I am at an advanced skill level of throwing my belongings into bin bags and suitcases with as little as 24 hours notice, I can order my taxi to take me anywhere without feelings of remorse. I close my eyes and imagine the new faces I’ll kiss, new night times and morning coffees and opportunities. I feel like an infant aware of my imminent birth, ready to hurl my body at the winds of change.
The risk of romancing these fanciful ideas, is that I clutch onto a hope that when I arrive at my new destination I shall also be changed. Inside and out. I want to arrive with new hair and skin, I want to have a different accent, I want to be light. Nobody in this new place knows about the things that keep me awake at night. I am wholly morphed into the person I wish I was. I have done this since childhood, moving schools after being severely bullied, to moving abroad where nobody knew that boys used to sing the Limp Bizkit classic ‘Rollin’, at me when I walked across the playground in response to the puppy fat of my 11 year old body.
This beautiful incubation period lasts for about three weeks, then like a snake crawling back into its revolting old skin, I wake up moored to a mattress unable to eat, or speak. The heavy has found me, even though I ran to the other side of this earth. I spent a fortune on this trip, I am in fucking Australia. I weep heavily into the arms of the most wonderful and patient person, pressing my face into their skin, desperate to be completely swallowed up into oblivion.
In my years of playing hide and seek with myself, I have learnt it is possible to run away from a handful of your problems, but only if you remain realistic and only if you are willing to let it happen.
You can escape the every day anxieties of your life if you accept that you will get sick, you will die, your loved ones will die, you’ll lose jobs, you’ll be rejected, you will hurt people and they in turn will hurt you. Running away enables you to temporarily dodge letters from debt collectors and avoid social engagements and having to shuffle into the kitchen to have painful small talk with your flatmates. If you suffer from every day malaise, and a deep rooted depression, forget it, it will find you. It is tethered to your ankles like you are a 17 year old yob with an electronic tag.
It slowly dawns on me that I have catapulted myself as far away as possible across the terrains of this planet, yet I still feel the coldness of the human condition seeping into my bones. It is the final hoorah. It is time to face the music and organise my life instead of booking a ticket to a different time zone. I know that fleeing the scene of your crimes can be seen as weak, it is burying your head in the sand and avoiding responsibility. Whilst there many be an element of truth in that in regards to my constant running, I also like to think that I am still imaginative and in love with the fruits of life, and that my positive reasons for leaving places are often just as strong as my negative.
It isn’t all bad, leaving your routine can restore your faith in love and life, new surroundings have the ability to kick some zest up your somewhat greying arse. You can acknowledge how strong you are for making a long journey alone, and congratulate yourself for navigating your way around a new city without the help of Google Maps. Just remember, as Paul Varjak drops THE truth bomb of all truth bombs on our addlebrained heroine Holly Golightly in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ “No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself”.*
*Now that I’ve committed the biggest cardinal sin of basic bitchery (referencing the MOVIE version of B.A.T for crying out loud), I now need to bathe in boiling water and think about what I’ve just done.