Run Run Away

“No matter how far you travel, you can never get away from yourself. It’s like your shadow.
It follows you everywhere. -Komura”― Haruki Murakami, After the Quake

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The little boy wasn’t happy with things at home. At nine years of age, his frustration with the rules in his house, the expectations of his keeping a clean room, and the time constraints on television viewing were too much. What were his parents thinking? His mother helped him pack his small suitcase, reminding him to include clean socks and his favorite pillow. He marched to the front porch to contemplate his next steps while his parents took turns peeking out the window to be sure he was still there. Eventually, he grew hungry and ‘came home’. The chores and rules were as inescapable as his shadow. Murakami was correct — no matter how far we go, there we are.

My letter went something like this: Dear Mother and Daddy, I’m running away. If you need me, I’ll be in the tree behind the Owen’s house. Love, Susan I loaded baggies with popcorn our relatives had sent for Christmas and headed up the driveway to cross the street. I’m guessing most people have considered running away, and I was no different. My parents were ‘too strict’, and following their rules was unpleasant for their little girl. I did come home when it grew dark, but not every girl does, and not every runaway note is so simple and telling.

The National Runaway Safeline estimates that 1.6 million children (approximately 4500 of those are from foster homes) will succeed in running and 2.8 million children will try to run. Why do they run?

  • abuse
  • doing poorly in school
  • dealing with addiction in their family
  • death of someone close
  • peer pressure
  • parents’ divorce

Running away is the only option kids think they have sometimes, and we adults(and their peers), need to understand our role in helping prevent the very possible bad outcomes. While we could start by helping them pack and making sure they never leave, parents, we each take responsibility when it comes to our own kids.

Physical, sexual, or mental abuse will drive your child away. Of course, chores and homework must be done, regardless of the whining that might come with it, but it’s ok to ask yourself, “Am I being unreasonable?” If you, as a child of any age know one of your friends is thinking about running away, reach out to the hotline or an adult you trust.

1-800-RUNAWAY        RUNAWAY.ORG        1-800-RUNAWAY

CHILDREN/TEENS – If you are a teenager considering running away, you need to hear this: When you run from one bad situation, you often run into another situation that is worse. You think it can’t be any worse, but I promise you, it can. “The majority of runaways return to their homes or foster care placements in a few weeks but on average 1 in 3 runaways will be lured into commercial sexual exploitation within 48 hours of being on the streets. … Time spent homeless is the link between runaways and sex trafficking.” Sex trafficking is a real problem, and kids like you are easy targets.

If you are feeling unsafe in your home, there are safe places to go where your freedom won’t be at risk and you can get help working through your problems. Maybe you’re feeling that people don’t understand who you are. Go to a counselor or a friend’s parent who you trust, and talk it through with them to find a way to deal with the issues that are making life difficult. You are not alone. If you are scared and have no one, I will help you find your someone.

1-800-RUNAWAY        RUNAWAY.ORG        1-800-RUNAWAY

ADULTS: Adults run away for many of the same reasons kids do. Many feel overwhelmed with life and its responsibilities – they want out. Running away means forcing someone else to deal with the aftermath, though. If you run out on your job, coworkers are left trying to figure out how to do your job. When parents decide to run away to a new life, they leave the other parent and the children holding the bills and picking up the pieces.  Running to a new life? That seems to be the plan. Perhaps, it would be better to consider now the things which push our buttons and find ways to handle them. After all, most people really don’t want to run, they just don’t see an easy fix for:

  • bills
  • children
  • child support
  • lost job
  • depression
  • too many people in their life

Here is the beautiful thing about running away — you get to take control of things, for the moment.
And here is the other thing about running away — wherever you go, there you are. Unless you also learned how to better manage money, not care about people in your life, and get that dream job, you are just running away to the same problems that will eventually be staring at you once again. There are people who spend their lives running, but they really aren’t running to anything different. Whenever they arrive, nothing has really changed.

I still want to run.
I do run, but I don’t run away.

I run to the car and enjoy the silence.
I run to the countryside and enjoy the animals grazing.
I run with my camera and my pen, and I treasure the simplicity of nature in all of its intricate brilliance.

I come home.
I always come home and am refreshed and prepared to face a little more life with the people I love.
I am there with myself, and that girl inside of me holds the answers to how to move forward without running away. So, when it is in the budget, I read books and talk to professionals.

If you need to run away, I’ll help you to safety – I’ll get you in touch with a trained professional. Child or child in an adult body, you are ok, and so many people want to make sure you stay safely traveling your path. Your shadow is always there, even when the light isn’t shining. It will follow you everywhere.

1-800-RUNAWAY        RUNAWAY.ORG        1-800-RUNAWAY

2 Responses to “Run Run Away”

  1. kitty says:

    Recently i read a few posts about the question ‘what would you not do as a parent’ and in all honesty, i was shocked at the replies. These were all youngsters who experienced some bad issues (like zero respect for privacy of their children, with many examples). Some sounded like they were desperate to run away but (at least i thought so) were very young to do so. I hope they find a place for comfort and support, like this blog here. Hope this gets out there where it matters and finds it way to those in need for that support !

    • suezquesteen says:

      Thank you so much for the comment. When I hear stories from children who have been lacking respect in their homes, I am So surprised and saddened, yet I am sure there are things I could have done better, as well. I do hope, though, they hear the message that there are friendly faces and homes available. Thanks for reading, feel free to share!

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