Stop Running Away, and Sit in the Fire.
I had to learn to stay put.
Right where I was. Knee-deep in those uncomfortable feelings. The feelings I very much wanted to ignore.
All my life, I had run away. I was a runner. When things didn’t go my way, or I started to feel too much, I turned my back. And I walked away.
I always thought I was doing the right thing. That I was strong. Too strong for those situations and people that made me feel weak.
Weak with love, weak with anger, weak with resentment. Weak with self-pity. With all the things I never wanted to feel.
So I walked away. And I closed those doors. And I never once looked back. Mistakenly, I felt that that meant I was strong. That I was independent. That I could easily make it on my own. But I never realized that every time I walked away, I was missing an opportunity to take out a little piece of myself and see what made me do the things I do.
I missed endless opportunities to grow up. To emotionally mature. To allow that still small child within me to become the woman, the empress that I always was and will be.
In running away, I wasn’t strong. I was weak. And I was allowing my complete inability to remain in situations that made me uncomfortable to stop me from developing emotional maturity. In avoiding situations that stirred emotions inside of me, I was avoiding the experiences I needed the most. Things that would make me grow.
Growing pains are called pains for a reason. They are uncomfortable. They hurt. They tear us open and rip us apart. But they also break down everything we no longer need.
I know intimately what it means to hurt, to be in pain. Most of my childhood was filled with pain. The pain of my childhood was so huge, it engulfed any other feelings I may have experienced in those times. All I saw was the lack of love, the abandonment, the inability to be someone whom other people would accept, love and cherish.
I escaped from my childhood. I turned my back on it. And I literally swore, I made a solemn oath to myself, that I would never go back to that place. The place where all the terrible things happened, that left me so broken.
Right there in that moment, as a child of 12, I promised myself I would never ever let someone do that to me again. That I would never allow myself to be hurt and controlled like that ever again.
And I hardened myself, and built a wall so high, so hard, so impenetrable around my heart that it would take me another 37 years to get even a glimpse of the reality of that wall I had built that day.
That child of 12 went out into the world — she had built that wall in two seconds flat, and behind it, she hid the pain she felt. She stepped straight into addictions, even at that young an age. Anything to keep her from feeling that pain.
And then, at the same time, she grew a great love for the world, the world she had been kept apart from for so long And she became loving, or so she thought she did, and gave her love all to the world. But she wasn’t love. She was dead inside. And her love was hollow. It was empty. And it was the loving that only the dead can give.
Out in the world, the little girl, who still lived and breathed so powerfully inside the woman that was and is, still held the chains to her heart, and pulled them tighter and tighter with every passing year.
And the woman, who thought herself to be the most kind and loving soul, cried and cried over love. For she had never found the love she sought. She was always drawn to men and relationships which were unloving. Where she gave so much, but the men she loved were always unavailable. The scenarios were always the same. The men could not, would not, or did not love her.
She asked herself over and over, Why does this always happen to me? And finally she told herself that this was because she did not love herself, and so she stayed alone, stayed away from men and love, and worked so very hard on learning to love herself.
But this was not enough, for there was still a greater truth to be revealed.
And that greater truth was finally revealed after she learned to stop running away.
The uncomfortable feelings started coming thick and fast. So fast, she finally had nowhere to run too. The woman realized that if she ran away from one more situation, she would finally be totally alone.
And the realization of that truth came like a bolt of lightning, which illuminated the truth of the darkest recess of her soul.
What was lit was that still small child of 12, who heard the oath that she swore on that day, and she realized the ramifications of those words.
The bolt of lightning illuminated the timeline of her entire life, as she saw so clearly that it was she who was the unavailable, unloving one. And the men she had loved were her mirror. She was the one who could not love. She saw her love was needy, obsessive and suffocating, as it held on so tight and squeezed the life out of any love she felt, and it was the love of the empty, who have nothing but pain inside.
The truth broke her heart, because she did not want to be the unloving one. She wanted to love. And in that moment of the breaking, her heart expanded so deeply that the chains placed there by the little girl were thrown off, and her heart started to breathe again. Tender and weak, but for once, alive. So alive.
The woman who stands today, journeyed back to that girl, who was still 12 and still lived inside of her, and she gathered her into her arms and said:
I love you. I will always love you. And what we did that day, we may have needed it then, to survive, but we don’t need it now. Look who we are now. We are beautiful and we are strong. And we need to love. We need to love.
And together we threw the chains completely away. And I integrated the energy that was her back into my being, so I could heal and become whole again.
I learnt to stay put. And in the journey of going nowhere, I found my love again.
Kim Turfrey is a mother of two who lives in New Zealand and enjoys writing. She was born with a disability, and has used crutches for her whole life. She spent the majority of the first 12 years of her life living mainly in a hospital, away from her family, and now she writes about life as she sees it. You could contact Kim via Facebook.