As I sit here at a picnic table sipping coffee on a brisk October morning, I am once again reminded of the reality that there is no such thing as hiding. Running, yes; this is something I am good at. The difference between the two is significant.
Almost six years ago now, I ran away to Southern California to escape. I did not want to sit with myself; I saw it as impossible at the time. I was overcome with pain and guilt and wanted to forget and start over. On the outside looking in, this is exactly what it seemed I did. I got a new job, new friends, and a new environment. I ran and ran without looking back for months. Eventually, though, I was forced to stop sprinting and take more than a few ragged breaths before I made the decision to sit down and rest. It hurt a lot, this resting. But it stands as one of the best decisions I have ever made. I moved back to Portland different; not perfect and happy, but quiet and vulnerable. I was open to looking at myself with new eyes; eyes that saw myself for who I really was. What I saw was a woman who had very much taken solace in playing the victim and refused to accept responsibility for the part I had played in my broken relationships. I saw very clearly that I had a choice. I could continue to run and watch my future relationships suffer as a result of my refusal to search for the truth in myself and others, or I could sit, rest and open myself to the possibility that I had serious things to work through...things that had haunted me my entire life. Things I owned. Parts I played. The latter is what I chose.
I am dating someone who is different than anyone else I have ever dated. In my decision to sit and rest and look at the truth, I have become very self aware. Over time, it became very important to me to invest and be a part of a romantic relationship where he, too, saw the importance of rest and truth-seeking. Someone who was aware of his own self; both the negative and the positive and had the same passion for self-growth that I had become so focused on in my own life. I was very skeptical a man like this existed - at least a man in his thirties that was single and available to the possibility of a romantic relationship. This man found me a month ago. He is intentional and honest and isn't afraid. He knows what he wants and is deserving of. He isn't afraid of what I bring to the table and wants to talk through everything. I very much believe he isn't going anywhere, in spite of me being absolutely terrified.
In our commitment to being honest with each other, I have once again been forced to look at the ways I have begun to jog again. It is so engrained in me to push people away when they get too close that I don't even recognize I am doing this unless I am called out. He does this. He isn't satisfied with excuses and wants to deal with issues head on. He requires it. I cannot hide at the end of my run; the same issues will find me as they have found me time and time again. My friend, Shannon, has a blog where I had commented on something she had written, "Sitting with yourself...so hard, so important." I need to put my money where my mouth is. If I truly believe people can change, this applies to me as well. The unhealthy race I have always loved to be a part of has no finish line.