June 26, 2009

Run, Run, Run, Runaway

The idea of running away has seemed to aspire everyone from Dion to Bon Jovi to Jefferson Starship.

It's inspired me, too.

I threatened to run away from home many times as a child, cohorting with my sister and even writing runaway notes to our mother, saying things like, "You'll finally have Dad all to yourself." My sister would inevitably chicken out, leaving me to abort the plan altogether, too scared to execute it all on my own. I was probably ten years old.

One time when cleaning our bedroom, our mother found one of our unused runaway notes. I don't remember how much screaming or crying we endured, or what kind of punishment ensued, but I remember that note including some of the truest words we ever uttered, as daughters, and as sisters.

By the time I was 18., I didn't need to run away from home. My parents kicked me out.

Ever since then, I always seem to be running away from something.

Many people have asked whether my application to the Peace Corps was my attempt at running away from work, life. I told myself I was running towards something, but I don't think I really know the difference.

It's all marketing, isn't it?

The hardest thing to run away from is, of course, yourself. You can stop talking to your parents, change the color of your hair, lose weight, gain weight, get drunk, sleep in, but in the end, you're stuck with what you've got. And you've got to find a place to put it - to put you - otherwise you're dragging this heavy soul around you wherever you go, forever searching,

I always thought I would put myself in the hands of another. Now I realize that's not going to happen.

Since I arrived in the Hi Desert, I've only spent about half my time here. The rest of the time, I"ve been running off to Mojave, Amboy, Salton Sea, Palm Springs, anywhere I can go to put myself aside and focus on something else, someone else. But I'm wondering now whether I should make a more concerted effort to stay put, to be a local, to see myself in one place at one time and figure out what that is, and what the right place really is for me and my soul.

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