The first time I “ran away” it was in the middle of winter and I was 12 years old. It was already dark, and I had no destination or any idea of where I could go and I wasn’t gone very long. I remember, though, how awful things were and my feelings of needing to just be away from and done with everything.
According to my family, I was just looking for attention. I got in a lot of trouble. I remember that, too.
In a past post, though, I wrote about how that was the same year I began to think about suicide. I also remember that those thoughts began shortly after this “attempt” at running away.
The second time I wanted to run away, I was 26. Things between my dad and I had again gotten so bad, I just wanted to be done with everything. I was minutes away from packing a bag and taking a taxi to the airport.
I had been saving money for a huge trip – one that would have been my first time truly escaping Alaska. So I had *some* money.
My plan had been to look for the cheapest flight out of Alaska with no care as to where it would be taking me, and to just… disappear. To not tell anyone I had left. And to tell no one where I had gone.
My friend Talia caught wind of this plan and she stopped me with, “You’re my friend. And I want you to not be dead.” She convinced me that if I really wanted to leave, I should do it in the most Lori way possible. By making lists. And by making plans.
That’s how I landed in Boston.
I escaped. Rather than ran away.
Why did I differentiate there? Don’t they mean the same thing?
To me, running away implies a sense that nothing is going to help. So, rather than address the pain, I just put distance between us. It’s a reactionary avoidance tactic.
Plus, running away from something doesn’t mean I will get away.
Escape implies choice. To me, it means determining what’s causing pain, figuring out what will help, and choosing to do something about it.
The world can be overwhelming. The people around us can be overwhelming. Our brains can be overwhelming. The places we’re in sometimes stop feeling safe.
So whether that is making a clean break from the mess, or taking a temporary break to clear the mess in our heads, we can find ways of making our spaces safe again whether that’s physical or mental. That’s an escape.
So the question at the top of this post should be:
If I wanted to escape to somewhere, where would I go?
The Boston Athenaeum is one location I go when I need to escape. I’ve never experienced a place that has made my brain be that calm before. That utterly at peace. I have really only been there a couple of times. But already it’s my safest place.
But, outside of that, I don’t have a concrete answer.
I went to the Bahamas back in April when I needed an escape. It was lovely, but I wouldn’t go back exactly there. Perhaps something similar to there? Where doing absolutely nothing but treating myself to whatever it is I want is the way to live for a few days.
I also think I would love to escape to somewhere where people love to gather together out of the desire for community. Where strangers are welcome and made to feel right at home.
Find me those places. Those are the places I would want to go if I wanted to escape to somewhere.
And if I can’t go to a PLACE in order to escape?
I always have books. Books will always be there. No matter where I am. Here, somewhere else, anywhere else. They’re always with me.
And the ones I read over and over are the ones that provide me with a safe space for an escape.
Romance, usually. *smiles* Because they’re the ones that make me smile. Give me hope. And make me believe in happy endings.
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