Escape

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I took this photo almost two years ago now, when we moved into our new home. I cannot believe it’s actually been almost two years… wow…

Anyway, we were unpacking, and I’d just laid out Marley’s favourite blanket that I knitted him a few years ago on the new couches. I opened the blinds so he could watch the happenings on his new street while we unpacked our lives and set them up again. Oh man, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to have been unpacking… I mean, moving is a real bitch, and we moved 4 times in 5 years, so I was really starting to hate it. This move was huge for us – a few years ago, we bought a nice big block of land, around a third of an acre, and built a beautiful big 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home on it. We were there for 3 years, and it never felt like home. What the hell did two people and a midget beaglier need that much room for?? We’d been there a few months (we moved in at Christmas time, and went camping at Easter the following year when it all came out) when we realised how much we’d been fighting lately. Sitting by our campsite it all kinda came out that we both hated this lovely new home of ours, we hated the bigger than necessary mortgage, and we hated that we were stuck paying off a house we hated living in. We wanted to travel instead, and we were stuck there instead, and we both realised we’d made a huge mistake, which manifested itself in us fighting about everything from what to cook for dinner to what to watch on TV to what newspaper to buy. This photo was taken like 30 minutes after that revelation, way back in 2011…

Fast forward a few years, and we were in a home, not just a house. A cutesy little two story townhouse, with a man cave for husband and a book nook for me and a little yard/park a few streets away for Marley. So there we were, unpacking, and I noticed this little dude looking out the window. I felt like the want and need and yearning for escape were written all over his beautiful little face. And I got it.

 

Anyway, I remembered this photo of Marley over this weekend when I recognised that same feeling in myself that I thought I saw in him. That wanting to escape, to run across the road, and run down the street to the park, and just keep running to… I dunno, freedom I guess. The last few months have been tough; maybe it’s the fact that I’ve finally acknowledged how much depression and anxiety have affected my life, what horrible consequences the disordered eating has had, how hard it is to try to take these illnesses seriously and “recover” while trying to keep my shit together and keep up the “I’m fine!” act in front of everyone, which means that no one else takes what’s wrong with me seriously… I’ve been living such a wonderful life on paper for so long, with an amazing husband, a surprisingly supportive family, a job I enjoy, a beautiful house, a cutie pie dog, a full passport, all that jazz, and yet my soul aches more and more every day. I think the problem is that I’m being encouraged to stop and think and feel my feelings instead of dealing with them in my typically self-destructive ways, which is not easy. Does anyone realise how hard it really is to actually feel your feelings?! Damn…

 

I’m trying to take a multifaceted approach to this whole dis-ease that’s in my life right now, including a 12 week meal plan based on hitting food group targets instead of counting calories, daily exercise including strength training, the C25K run training program and yoga, daily meditation and reflection time. I should also be practising active daily “self-love” and trying to build some sort of confidence, but honestly, I’ve hated so much about myself for so long that I don’t even know where to start. Any tips from anyone who’s been through this kinda thing?!

The other big part in all of this is trying to work out what makes me happy and keeps me going. What am I living for? What am I working for? What do I love? I love to travel. I love to learn. I love to see new things and experience new cultures and throw myself into new places. Feelings of fernweh and wanderlust are becoming stronger and stronger every day. And if I’m meant to be finding what makes me happy, I think that’s where I’m going to find my answers. Much like Marley, I need to escape and run free every now and then. Unfortunately I’m not a rich kid or a trust fund baby, so a life of constant travel is out of the question (unless anyone wants to pay me to work Bourdain style? I love to travel and eat and write, and will gladly do that for a paid living if anyone wants me!), but I can still find ways to escape when I’m not giving my passport a workout. Going for a run with my favourite music blasting through my head phones. A weekend road trip on my own. Time on my yoga mat. A pot of good tea and a home made biscuit while reading my favourite blogs. Writing. Writing helps a lot. Reading helps the most. My baby sister just gave me the most fabulous gift on Sunday night, too, something I’ll probably read every day now. Actually, I will make it a point to read this every day from now on. She wrote in the front of it to me, “Be strong now, because things will get better. It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever.” I can’t believe I haven’t read this book since things really started going down hill – it is the exact life advice and daily reminder that I need, it was like this book was written directly to and for me…. In the words of the great Dr Seuss:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

What I’m coming to see is that we all have our obligations, we have to work to pay the bills, we all have to do what we have to do. But our obligations are not who we are. Our dreams are who we are. And we feel the need to escape so desperately when we’re not honouring those dreams; without taking time to escape the world of our obligations and indulge in our happiness, we fall apart. I know that if I stop giving a crap about what everyone else thinks, what everyone else expects, and just do what makes me happy, I can’t possibly be depressed or anxious. If we live authentically, if all we aim to be is the best possible versions of ourselves instead of what we think the world wants or expects us to be, what could we want to escape? How can we possibly be miserable failures? We only fail when we’re trying to be someone we’re not – we’re setting ourselves up to fail by comparing and trying to compete. I know that I just need to embrace who I am and be the best version of that. Then instead of wanting to “escape” to something “better,” I’ll be living a life I love, doing the things I love, surrounded by people I love, and I won’t feel the need to escape at all. It sounds so simple…

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4 thoughts on “Escape

    • Thank you Terri 🙂 what a gorgeous gift to receive from a teacher though, and you’re right- I think powerful is the BEST word to describe that book!

  1. You asked for any tips…Get your hands dirty. I don’t why, but it always helps me. Pull out the weeds, take the time to look at the flowers and their amazing colours and patterns, enjoy the sun, breath the fresh air and just take it all in. Get your hands into some real nice moist soil…squeeze it, feel it, smell it and take your time…relax and only think about today 🙂

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write 🙂 I’m afraid I’m not much of a gardener but you have reminded me that I should spend more time in my garden – it’s such a great little paradise! Thanku 🙂

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