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 open an aromatherapy shop.
I am, however, quite an expert at one thing.
Running away. Hiding. Not fully belonging anywhere.
And, I think I am okay with this.
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.
She tried talking and dressing just like all the others, and sometimes she could pretend she was 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 special in the kingdom. Everyone else thought he was very special, too, and she felt so lucky and special that he liked her. 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—they were more interesting than the people she had met before, but deep in her heart, she knew she still wasn’t really like them.
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 loved his wife (yes, they got married), but 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 belonged with him, but it had felt better than any time before in her life.
For a little while, the young woman stayed where she was, going to work everyday and trying to be normal. She held on to her routine to try to not shatter. But then, the day came when she just could not do it anymore. She loved her little house, but she just couldn’t stay there one more day, pretending to be normal.
And so she ran away.
The young woman discovered kingdoms far different from her own. She found new people and new cultures to explore and get to know. She realized that traveling makes you so much 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 art of running away is not in running away from yourself. Or even in running away to find yourself, because you are already there.
The art of 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 you 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 that yet, and I am not sure I am supposed to. I do know that I have found places with fewer boundaries, so I can be more me, more of the time. I can relax about not being “normal” and find more joy in being my true self.
So run, bless you, run!
Find wide open spaces, plumb new depths, revel in new adventures that open your heart and soul.
Peer gently at those who say, “I hope you find yourself,” for they have no idea who you already are and just how much more you will discover! Hug those who speak of safety and economics—they have chosen their kingdom already.
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 discover more of you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Tui Anderson
Editor: Emily Bartran