Running No More
I learned the art of running, from my mom. She ran from places, relationships, bad memories, boredom, debt, creditors, careers, reality and always the darkness that crept into each new home. If we weren't moving into a new house or apartment then there was a cosmetic overhaul to our current one, which in my teenage years often involved gold or black spray paint. As long as the environment, person, job, or credit card was new, it seemed to offer the necessary distraction to whatever she was running from. When I was old enough, I began running.
I ran to different places and different countries while running from one relationship to the next, severing ties with friends along the way. To be honest, I didn't know how to grow or cultivate a connection that I could sustain in the first place, either friend or lover. Each time I ran, I submerged the pain and loss of the relationships I left behind. As much as I thought pretending I didn't care was lessening my load, I was unknowingly carrying the baggage of my past with me and it was getting really heavy.
Somehow at 26, I ended up running to the East Village of New York City where I felt welcome for the first time in my life. The energy, the alternative vibe, and the anonymity were exactly what I needed to rest for a while. The first time the man, who is now my husband came to my East Village apartment, he looked around and said it looked like a gypsy lived there. There was nothing on the walls and there were no personal objects sitting around, in fact, there was no reflection of me in that apartment. He was right, in some ways I was living like a gypsy, careful not to settle down or into anything. Thankfully he didn't seem threatened by my nomadic tendencies. As our relationship deepened, he recognized that underneath I was longing for stability and with his help we made that little apartment a home.
The more comfortable and stable I felt in that apartment, the more disruption I began to feel inside myself. I didn't have the usual distractions that moving provided. Instead of focusing on adjusting to a new city, a new home or connecting the phone and cable after a move, I had to learn to connect to myself. The lack of distraction forced me to confront the trauma and pain of my childhood. Consequently, I mindfully ended my relationship with each of my parents. I can say several years later, due to lot of good therapy and an amazing support system, the journey through the pain, the memories and the feelings I unearthed in order to connect to myself, was worth it.
My husband and I now have two amazing boys and together the love they reflect back in my face is so bright at times it's blinding. As I walked through the city 14 years later thinking about our impending move to South Carolina, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the East Village. It was a place I could call home while I established a home within myself. I recognized that for the first time in my life I wasn't running away from but running toward something and bringing my little family with me.