I woke for the third time at 8:48 am. My body plays a funny game where it picks one number and wakes me at the same exact time daily. Even when I change my sleeping habits, it still selects one number. Aside from the last few weeks, for the past year it's almost always been 10:16. Recently, 8:48.
My first thought was clear: I want to go home.
So badly and so quickly, in fact, that I delayed my morning meditation, usually done directly after teeth brushing and just before opening the curtains. This can wait, I thought, let's just go.
When it comes to dealing with myself lately, I've become all flight.
With anyone else? Fight. I will stand toe to toe with you, going back and forth. I will wrap my arms around you until you finally settle. I will sit, silently, patiently, until you are done, just so you know I am there. I will fight for you.
But when the person I have come nose to nose with is me, I'm on the move. There's something about chasing down every one of your demons that is exhausting and for the moment, I don't want to face any more.
"Can't it be enough?" I always ask her, "Can't it be enough that I've knocked down almost every wall I had? Isn't, like, 98% more than most people will ever get to? Don't I get to keep something to hold onto?"
"Sure, if that's what you want." She is annoyingly right all of the time.
We sat outside on the front porch and listened to the young family a few houses down. We both had reading material; her radio filtering out from inside; his leash wrapped around my wrist and his panting mixing with the music. The sunshine actually felt like a blanket.
"Why are you home, Kerry?"
"I'm allowed to come home if I want to." That was all. Nothing else.
Later on the phone, with three thousand miles between us, I admitted that I wasn't sure if I was running or not.
Her voice came through the line, crackling a little but heartfelt all the same, "Look, when you go to New Jersey, yes, you're running to something comforting and safe. Going to LA for six weeks isn't the same thing. Or if you are running, maybe it's because you should be. Or maybe you'll go and hate it and end up back in New York. If you try something for a month, you don't have to keep doing it."
She knows things.
The problem with being flight is that it's just as exhausting as facing those demons. And, just like the issues you're avoiding, you could travel across the world and you will still bump into yourself. It's inevitable. As my mind moves back and forth between trying to figure out why I live where I do, accepting that I will never again live where I grew up and (yet again) deciding about going to LA for awhile, I know that none of those things are really the answer.
The answer comes in the strength that is standing still, eye to eye with yourself and not turning to run. After that, it doesn't matter where you are or where you go. You're already home.