Several times over the last few days, I’ve been reminded of the fact that I haven’t been writing – a sure sign that I’m in avoidance mode. As I sit here, staring at my computer screen, I realize that I am reinforcing what I am attempting to write about, making it difficult to refute the validity.
We all have things we are sure of and things we’re not so sure of – likes & dislikes; strengths & weaknesses; goals & aspirations; aspects of our personalities. I like to be sure of things. Uncertainty and the unknown cause my anxiety to rise. I intellectually understand that I can’t know everything – that there will always be uncertainty in life – but that doesn’t always make it easy to wrestle through. Over the last few years of my journey, a lot of the things that I’ve been sure of, and unsure of, have changed quite drastically. It’s been an incredible stretch of road – not always easy, but well worth discovering new and lost parts of myself. Recently, I’ve been thinking about something that I used to be completely sure of – I am not a runner.
I’ve never understood why people willingly run. The only time I would ever run is while playing basketball or softball, but it was short bursts and there were always other things going on. I’m not lazy (at least that’s not why I don’t like running), and I was actually pretty fast. I just find running to be extremely boring. Whenever people talk about running, my first thought is, ‘Ugh, I could never be a runner.’ A few months ago, that thought popped into my head as a friend was talking about running, but this time there was a response to that thought, leading to a short conversation and a lot of processing. It went something like this…
‘Are you sure about that?’
‘Of course I am…I hate running’
‘Then why do you run so much?’
‘I don’t…oh crap!’
I may stay far away from physically running, but I’ve spent my life running in just about every other sense of the word. When it comes to ‘fight or flight’ response, I know that I’m wired for flight. At least I knew that I’m wired for flight. That is one of those things I’m not so sure about anymore.
I learned a lot of things growing up that aren’t true. Part of my journey has been to unlearn those things. And I’m coming to believe that those things are what drove me to a flight response. I ran from conflict because I believed I was wrong and everyone else was right. I never learned to stand up for myself. I ran from emotions because they were a sign of weakness. I never learned to truly connect with myself or anyone else. I ran from those who tried to break through the walls I built. I never learned that people could truly care about me. I never learned those things because I had already learned that I didn’t deserve those things.
A lot has changed in the last couple of years. I’ve discovered a voice. I’ve discovered strength. I’ve discovered truth. Though I still struggle with some of the lies I’ve learned, I am realizing that I am not who I was told I was. I’ve found myself standing up for what I believe. I’ve found myself fighting for what I need. I’ve found myself believing that I have something to offer. And yet…I am still running. Some of it is instinctual, and it’s about digging down and finding the energy to fight that instinct. Some of it is that I still believe some of the lies I’ve been told. But some of it is simply fear.
Currently, I am running from hope. I am afraid to hope. There has been so much that I’ve hoped for in my life, and very little of that has actually come to fruition. If I don’t hope, I don’t have to mitigate the disappointment. As I’ve thought about running, I’ve realized that I am avoiding hope in several areas of my life. If I don’t hope for a relationship, I can’t be disappointed when I don’t find one. If I don’t hope for the job I really want, I can’t be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. If I don’t hope for support, I can’t be disappointed when it’s not there. So I continue to run. But am I really a runner? Am I really wired with a flight response? I’m not so sure anymore.
Maybe my statement really is true – I’m not a runner. Maybe I just need to refocus that to the non-physical…