#14: To the Ones I Left Behind

To the Ones I Left Behind,

Yes, I ran away. I ran away from everything that I knew; I ran away from you. The first opportunity that had me on the proverbial train “out of dodge” I took without hesitation. Granted, I did adjust my plans so that none of you would panic about me being shot at (a part of me really thinks that Detroit would have helped me), I still left. I left while you slept, at 5 in the morning on July 19th, 2011. I paused, at the border between New York and Pennsylvania, knowing the importance that moment would mean in my life; I had that choice, that moment we only think exists in movies, to go forward, or to go back. I had it, along with crippling fear that mixed with such excitement that my hands shook against the steering wheel. But we know the story don’t we? I passed over the border and I didn’t look back.

The first months out here were horrible, difficult, and at times degrading. I’m from New York; any other place in this country should have been a cake-walk, but I was dealt such a culture shock that I almost forgot how to breathe. Life is slower, passive-aggressive attitudes are a norm, and the dream I left New York to follow went down in flames. You told me to come home. I tried, but I just didn’t belong here. I belonged home, with you. I belonged where the safety net lived. But I stayed, and you were angry and sad. Some of you just drifted away, some of you fought with me, and some of you accepted what you couldn’t understand.

I’m not the greatest person at explaining what I feel, because what I feel tends to be too much for people to handle. Extremes; that is what my life is like, to go from New York to Iowa, to go from too busy, to too bored. To go from happy to sad in an instant is something not many people can understand, so yes I keep it all in. I keep it in because many of you just think it to be melodramatics. My life isn’t horrible, and I can count myself amongst the lucky right? I have people in my life who actually want me around, who love me, who fight for me. I am lucky. I know this. But many of you don’t know me. If you did, you would have been amongst the handful that told me to go before I finished saying that I was thinking of leaving.

Actually, only 2 people told me to go before I could finish my sentence. They didn’t ask me why, or ask me logistics. They just knew I had a chance to go, a possibility. It might not have even happened, just talk of a chance. Yet, the first words they told me were to go. Because they knew me better than I knew myself. Because they knew…staying would have killed me.

Melodramatic right? I should have gone into theatre. But, dramatics always have a sense of truth, and it is true isn’t it? I would have eventually killed myself. Not just cut myself at an urge, but I would have just finished the job. No warning, no signs. Many would say that they wished I would have talked with them, others would claim to have sensed something wrong, and everyone would have been angry. This is my truth though, the whole of it simply being that if I stayed, I would have died. I was already dying. So I left, to give myself a chance. I ran in hopes of surviving.

My brain was just so cluttered with everything and anything, and the rose-colored glasses that had been placed over my eyes had become so dirty that I stopped seeing. Until one day, I looked at all of you. I looked at every single one of you and I ran. Like I said it hasn’t been an easy road, and I’m learning a life without a net to save me. But I needed this more than I could ever explicate. It wasn’t personal, and I didn’t mean to hurt any of you. I know that many of you would have fought for me, that you wouldn’t have given up on me, but the most important person in my life would have, and staying would have meant certain death for her and I.  I mean, how do you save someone from themselves when they don’t want saving? I did want saving though, I guess…just not in the way many think of saving someone. I needed to save myself. I needed to know what it meant to actually be in this world. What it meant to give up everything I have ever known, and face uncertainty without someone there to stop me from failing.

I’m scared of settling my life. I’m scared of not seeing what is out there, and although I need to work on my ambition a little bit more, I’m scared of being in the same place for long periods of time. Sometimes I just feel that I’m going to miss something if I stay too long; as if this world has something for me and I have to find it before I die, but I won’t find it by staying still. Maybe I’m searching too hard. Maybe I will find true happiness in a settled existence. It’s just something inside of me is screaming no. That my purpose isn’t that. I don’t know…

Just don’t hate me, or give up on me, please. I know I’m not the most ideal person in the world. I blow into lives and shake things up and then disappear just as quickly. I know I am not all that important to many people, and that I am very important to others. I know my dual existence, and I know being my friend is quite difficult. I don’t show my emotions the way others do. My emotions churn like a dormant volcano until I erupt, and then I settle back down to do it all over again. But I just needed you to understand that I did this for me. For once in my life I stopped living for everyone else. I could have handled it better at times, but I needed this. I needed this so desperately and it hurts every time someone asks me to come home, because I don’t know where home is.

I don’t. I don’t know where it is and I am looking for it, so I just ask you to be patient and understanding. I need you to understand that I never belonged where you were. I’m sorry if that hurts, but I need this. I need an open road, a clear sky, and no direction, because I know at some point I’ll finally find it; whatever it is that I am looking for. I will find it, on an open road that I’m terrified of, but continue down because it is the only clear sign that I am heading in the right direction.

I’ll come back one day, when I’m ready. But not now, so I am asking you to stop asking me to come home. I need some space. I stopped being me for so long that the person you thought I was, was someone I couldn’t recognize. I left so I could keep my heart beating, and with each passing mile I dropped the weight that always seemed to be around my shoulders, and rediscovered what it meant to mean a smile. It isn’t personal, I do love you. I’m sorry if it hurts, but it’s the truth. So I ask you to love me for who I truly am, and to let me truly go. I’ll be back before you know it, and I may or may not be the same person, but I need this time to clear out everything, and to live within my heartbeat. Just don’t hold me back…let me go. Stop asking me to come back…please…just love me, let me go, and understand that I love you more than I will ever be able to put to words.



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