Fiction. Based on a True Running Away.
“Trying to find out what makes me happy as a person, really digging into what inspires me to get up everyday and make my life better.” “It’s all about growth and everything will come together with time.” -Rory O’Connell
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
What constitutes running away? I’ve heard it many times about myself and others, “they always run away from their problems.” As if we were literally running away from a predator. As if we could run away from something attached to ourselves. I know better than that. We all do.
But what if the running is what I want? – the constant moving to something different, the thudding heartbeat, the desire to experiencing something new as often as possible. I want that awe, that freedom, the tinglies in the back of my neck, the hair raising, life-changing moments.
It has never been about running away to exit uncomfortable situations or numb a lingering pain. As far as I know, I get only one life on this magnificent planet responsible for the myriad of different people, cultures, animals and terrains, with only a short amount of time to witness as much as possible. That is what it has always been about for me.
Or has it?
That is definitely part of the grand scheme. The optimistic side. The opposite side of the coin is, I’ve never quite enjoyed the filth of societal structure, with its pressures and obligations and money. I just don’t agree with it, never have. The caging weight of repetitiveness, the hierarchies, the desensitization.
I used to imagine running away as early as the age of five; packing my plastic, purple suitcase with my favorite stuffed animals, foods, blanket and, of course, paper and pencil. I think it was the solitude I desired, the rawness and purity of nature. It has always been where I fit in most. Nature, the mother that has always been there and always will be.
At age 17, I purchased an expensive backpack, sleeping bag, and some essentials to live off the land. I told my mother, “I’m going to walk into the wilderness and purely exist for as long as I can.” I’m not going to lie, I had just read the novel Into the Wild, which was a big inspiration for that idea. My mother cried and begged me not to go, “you’ll get raped and murdered.” Well, I didn’t go for her sake, it was nice to see her care for once. Unfortunately one of those things did happen regardless, and multiple times.
So, instead, I took a month-long road trip across the beautiful United States of America. From the rolling hills and gorges of the Midwest, to the sunny beaches, through the southern blues, and the flat prairie lands, to the deserts and what looked like Mars on Earth, to the redwoods of Pacific northwest. I was liberated! And after that, I couldn’t be stopped. I had a taste of freedom and the indulging of intense experience in a short amount of time. I was addicted. I was aching.
This heart is fuming like a flame, revolving on a spinning compass.
Silhouetted rib cage shadows dancing on burning walls.
Fueled by wide eyes, consuming it all. How the
deaf man sees and the blind listen. From
the sun to the moon, to the stars in
the sky. The wind whispering
words down this shriveling
spine. Feigning to go.
But what now? At age 29 and a half, what do I have to show for it, besides all those experiences shared with no one else. All that aches inside me now is the lack of money and a career, rotting back in society, and the insecurities from having nothing. Therefore, feeling like nothing.
It is difficult to shake the feeling of nothingness. The feeling of wanting to disappear. It’s scary when the pain suddenly stops, taking everything else with it. Rolling out of bed every morning, thinking ,“great, another day.” Another day to try and make something out of nothing.
If it weren’t for a partner, I would be long gone. Back to the running, the moving, the experiencing, the pulsing. Probably in Nepal with the Peace Corps. Or in Prague or some city in Croatia teaching English. But for love, I reside, because that I have come to realize is the most important part. Love.
An impressionable quote from the aforementioned novel – “happiness is only real when shared.” Thank you Christopher McCandless for discovering and sharing that through dire consequences.
Now, I must be off to find a balance.