For a long time I have wanted to move away from where I live now. My current location is a place I tried out for my job. I did not know whether I would like it or not when I chose to move here from the other side of the country, but I have always been open to trying new places. Why not? Seems as good a reason as any.
I have a rule for myself that no judgement shall be made about a new place of residence for at least a year. I have given my current location over two years and my general impression of it only declines as time goes on. Enough of this place, I’m outta here.
I know that this stint in Arizona has been a minor detour on my journey from east to west coast. It has been great for me. Stopping here, in this place where I know nobody, have no commitments outside of work, and no obligations to go to any particular place at any particular time, I feel like I pressed pause for a few years. I have a stable job and a stable relationship. I finally slowed down and stabilized myself. Being far from my past, geographically, turned out to be what I needed.
Part of the appeal of moving 3000 miles from where I have always lived, up and down the east coast, was definitely the desire to run away. This has been the first time in my life when I felt secure that I was safe from desperate family on the run from their hallucinations showing up at my doorstep at any moment, without any notice, and disrupting my carefully constructed schedule of accomplishing things and doing what I wanted to do.
Some days I feel like a terribly selfish person for wanting to do what I wanted to do despite the unrelenting needs and demands of certain family members. Other days, I feel like I’m flying, finally free from the things that weighed me down all my life.
No matter how many times people who care about me take the time to assure me that none of this is my fault, I still can’t help but wonder what I could have done differently that would have fixed things.
Children of parents with addictions and/or mental illnesses are an interesting bunch. We’re often completely convinced that we are responsible for everything and everyone. We are often extremely critical of ourselves. I remember being very young, a small child, and deciding that it was very clear that counting on anyone else would be a big mistake. I must make what I want of my life myself. To some degree, this is what has driven me to succeed in many things. Self-discipline can be a powerful force.
On the other hand, I know this has been my biggest hinderance. All that pressure has to go somewhere. For me, a lot of it went into eating. Eating made me feel better for a moment, and I could feel better on my own without bothering anyone else. Asking for help does not come naturally. As one constantly barraged with others needs and always feeling like my own were secondary, I am hyper sensitive to putting anyone else out. And I do to myself what others have always done to me- I put myself second because I don’t want to bother anyone or rock the boat.
I have learned all this about myself. And in many ways I have changed. So many doors are open that I never knew about. They were always open. I just never bothered to try them, assuming they were locked.
Pretty soon, I’m finally going to make it to the west coast. Taking off the training wheels, finally finishing the cross country drive. And I am making a promise to myself to try every single door until I find the one that opens and takes me just where I want to go.