This I Believe

Charmaine - St Petersburg, Florida
Entered on August 31, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that attempting to flee from your trials and tribulations lead to even more hardship. I believe that no matter how far you run, life will eventually force you to return back home to deal with your demons.

I have been running away since I can remember. When I was a little girl, I would always try and elope. I would pack a small bag, kiss my dogs goodbye and announce to the family my departure. It was a weekly event and each time, I would always swear that it was for real.

One memory in particular stands out among the others. I was especially vexed with both my mother and stepfather and I decided that this time when I left, I would never return. So, I packed every item of clothing I owned into a large laundry bag and began my journey. I recall struggling to drag the bag down the stairs and out of the front door. I managed to get all the way down the block before my arms gave out and I could carry it no farther. I was very disappointed. I was so sure that I would make it to wherever I had been going. It was going to be a fresh start. Unfortunately I didn’t get far and ended up lugging the bag back to the house and up to my room.

My mom had watched the whole scene from the living room window. She niether scolded or assisted me. She remained silent the entire time. Finally, after I was upstairs in my room, brooding at the outcome of my unsuccessful attempt to escape, she appeared in my doorway. When I saw her, I was so sure punishment awaited me. I was wrong. The only thing that she said to me was, “Charee. I want you to iron and fold every piece of clothing in that bag.” Then she turned to walk away, but stopped and said, “One day you’re going to learn, that it’s easier to deal with your problems than to run from them.”

Now, when I reflect on all of the guidance that she’s ever provided over the years, I realize that I should have heeded that one piece of advice. It would have saved me from so much turmoil and pain. It’s okay, though. Sometimes we have to learn from experience and it’s never too late to right the wrongs.

I have since stopped running. I am discovering my strengths and how to overcome my weaknesses. I have learned to resist the urge to pick up and go when my situation gets too rough. It’s getting easier to accept that life sometimes throws you stones instead of flowers; and not always will there be sunshine. Also, through sheer determination, I am beginning to take back control and regain a sense of stability. I am a work in progress.

I believe that eventually life brings you full circle. You realize that to run from home is to run from yourself; and no matter how you try, you will never get too far from who you are.