How I Found the Freedom to Be Myself

The Joy Of Running Away

I have mastered few things in my life. I am not a career woman. I apparently suck at relationships. I do not have any aspirations to leave my mark on the world. I am, however, quite an expert at one thing. Running away. Hiding my heart. Not fully belonging anywhere. And, I think I am OK with this.

Running away has never really been seen to be a good thing. There are all sorts of truisms about taking yourself with you wherever you go and carrying your problems with you, but I have never been happier since I ran away from my life.

Alright, before you start talking about denial and how I am just not evolved or self-aware enough yet, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was trying so hard to live in a kingdom where she didn’t really belong. Oh, she had been born there, and looked just like all the other people in the kingdom, but she just couldn’t figure out how to fit in. Most of the time, she tried and tried to feel normal, but then something would happen to remind her of how different she was underneath. Little things, like going to a party and being totally bored with all the conversations. Little things, like going to work everyday, but not really caring about what happened, even though she liked her job.

One day, the young woman met a man. He was handsome and interesting and very popular in the kingdom. She felt so lucky and special that he liked her and soon, they fell in love. She felt a tiny bit more normal with her true love and his friends, even though she was scared that they would all figure out that she didn’t fit in. She felt better being loved by this nice man though- it made her think her life was getting better.

After five terrifying and wonderful years- terrifying because the woman was always scared that the lovely man would discover that she was odd and not really special, and wonderful because they loved each other deeply and unconditionally- the woman’s true love decided he was not fully happy. He wanted to go off and slay dragons, and he thought being married was really not very compatible with being a dragon slayer. So he left. The young woman loved him enough to let him go off and be happy, but she got a little bit broken inside when he left. She knew she hadn’t really been ‘normal’ with him, but it had felt better than any time before in her life.

One day came when she just could not stay in the kingdom any more, pretending to be normal. And so she ran away. She ran away and discovered kingdoms far different than her own. She found new people and new cultures to explore and get to know. She realized that running away can make you bigger than you were before. And so she grew. And grew. And realized that she was not really the same as people anywhere. But that she was the same as people everywhere.

So, you see, running away is not always a bad thing. True, you take yourself with you, wherever you go. But that is kind of the point. The joy in running away is not in running away from yourself, or even in running away to “find yourself”, because you are already ‘there’. The joy in running away is in finding places where you have space. Where ‘normal’ is a different size or shape or color, so you can grow new edges, so you expand into new corners you didn’t know were available. You are still you, but your definitions of ‘normal’ and ‘special’ change, so you find places where you fit better, or belong more. If you are really lucky, you find your home- the place that is just the right shape and size for you.

I haven’t found ‘home’ yet, but I have found places with more comfortable edges, so I can be more me, more of the time. I can relax about not being ‘normal’ and find more joy in my self.

So run, bless you, run! Find wide open spaces, plumb new depths, revel in new adventures that open your heart and soul. Let the sun shine on you from a new angle, lighting up parts of you that you haven’t seen before. Set an entirely new star on your horizon and follow a dream that happened in a different color.

Set off on splendid adventures, be they to the next town, the next state, the next country or the next universe. Go, run away. Free your soul to find home.

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