It’s Time to Stop Running

On realizing that the ghosts I have been running from no longer haunt me

Megan Schumacher

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Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on my past. Of the many painful twists and sometimes comical turns that have led me to where I am now. I see this particular theme staring back at me. That of me trying to contain, diminish, or in some way erase myself into being less “me” than I actually am. A life-long pursuit, I realize I’ve spend so much of my energy trying to “un-me” myself.

Consumed with clawing out of my original identity from a young age, I sought to extricate myself from what seeped out of my maternal heritage. I saw the tragic legacy of shame and all the narcissism and projection that came from that. I took in the dissonance that there were always energetic fingers pointing out but never much reflection or self-awareness absorbed back. I digested the oppressive self-imposed helplessness and subsequent drama. I inhabited the space of neglect.

All of this terrified me. I was not like her. I was nothing like them. I would not be like this. Though I couldn’t articulate it then, I sensed that no one could hold me here. There wasn’t room for me because everything had already been allocated to the holding of their own pain. I understood that I had been rejected by the pack. And so I ran.

I ran through the bramble, passing many mirrors and shards of memories along the way. I ran deeper and through the years, hoping that if I moved quickly enough, I could shed my own skin and transform into something I finally wanted to love.

I became adept at transformation. Running in different groups. Trying on the faces and verbiage and concerns and goals of those around me. Speaking louder or quieter as recommended. And as the people, jobs, or locations around me changed, so did I. Maybe not so perceptibly as an actual chameleon, but enough to know that I was abandoning the fullness of myself. A bit of a self-imposed Faustian bargain, perhaps.

It is quite obvious for me to look back now and see how explicitly I have been trying to avoid myself. But I wasn’t conscious of this then. I…

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Megan Schumacher

Toddler mama. Born again creative. Former people pleaser. Working out the fumbles of life on the page.