1.8 Running Away
I never ran away from home when I was a kid, though sometimes I definitely wanted to. Living at home I often felt trapped, and being stuck in that house just made everything worse. But now that I think of it, moving out really was my way of running away from everything I hated about my life. I told people I was leaving because I didn’t like Winnipeg, but that’s only partly true. For me, Winnipeg just represented everything that has made life hard. My life there wasn’t my own, and it took some serious courage to realize that it never would be. There were too many stressors in that city, and too many reminders of the things I hated about it in the first place. Most of all, there were too many reminders of Sarah.
I used to drive down the street and remember the time that Sarah was upset and driving recklessly, and how I wasn’t sure if either of us would make it home alive. I used to worry about running into her somewhere in the city. I don’t think I could face her if I did. Even worse, what if I saw her mom, who I know always hated me because she blamed me for Sarah’s problems. Downtown reminds me of visiting her in the hospital. I know it’s been a couple of years since I saw her last, but it’s like she has burned holes into my life. Everywhere I looked I saw reminders of what life was, and it came to a point where I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Even my bedroom reminds me of lying on that floor crying myself to sleep, praying that Sarah would be alive the next day when she kept me up until 4 in the morning texting me about how she wants to kill herself.
Now, I knew that leaving the city wouldn’t make the thoughts go away. There are still things in my head that I can’t talk about, and every now and then they come back to me. Realizing that these things were going on was really hard for me to handle as well. How could she still have such a hold on me after several years? The things I went through with her are things that I will never forget, and the only way to get away from the haunting memories was to leave.
Leaving home was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. And I did it without acknowledging why I wanted it so badly. I think getting away was the only way for me to heal. That being said, I miss feeling like I have a home. Sure, I like it here, and it’s not like I’m sleeping on the street. But I hardly remember what it’s like to feel whole and loved by the people around me. I saw a few of my military friends this past weekend, and I was happier than I have been in a long time. That just made it harder to come back to all this, though. I wish I had felt that sense of home when I was there. I have yet to find it here. I’m sure it will come with time.
Change is hard. There is a lot of uncertainty. Back in Winnipeg, I didn’t know what I needed to be happy. Getting away from there, I still don’t know if I am any closer to finding pure happiness. Maybe I made a mistake after all. Or maybe not.
I feel like finding happiness is a lifelong quest. So for now, I don’t need things to be perfect. I just needed them to be better. And without the stresses of home, they are.
Stress exists, and there isn’t anything you can do to change that. In my life I have found that if you can’t change what stresses you out, try to avoid it all together. And if the stresses are everywhere, there is no shame in getting away.
There is no shame in doing what you think is right for you, even if you’re wrong in the end.
So when times get tough, sometimes all you can do is bow your head and forge on. But make sure you do keep going, because you never know what will be waiting for you when the storm clears.