An Escapist’s Nod to Growth
Alice falls inside a room filled with doors. Some where large as though a giant made its way in and out of there frequently. And other doors were tiny, almost negligible in size, leaving Alice wondering about what possibly could fit in there that cannot simply make its way through a crack or a whole in the wall.
The doors were strangely comforting, she hoped that those doors lead to wonderful places and that they also offered an exit from terrible ones. As she felt her body shift in size as though becoming larger she wakes up and stares blankly out of bed. She keeps on having the same dream; and she wonders what it means.
A crash of a ceramic plate on the wall across from her room nudges her into a more alert state. Her parents were fighting again. Words were slashing their skin apart and the louder they screamed the more hollow she saw their hearts become. The morning had come, and her day has begun with ruined wall paint and bloodshot eyes looking away from her and into an abyss of misery. A flash of light caught her eye, and she decided to leave.
Alice saw the door and headed towards it to find herself immersed in that exit strategy her entire life.
We all learn different ways of exit growing up. We become experts in exiting situations, relationships, conversations and people. We exit when we do not want to face, when it is unbearable to stay in a room with a door that might offer us a better space than the one we are in.
And so we become escape artists, and our loved ones become just as good. We find ourselves constantly put in similar situations, ones that we learned to end by exiting, and we spend our lives looking for the nearest door whenever said situation presents itself.
We exit when someone is trying to tell us something that might hurt us, we head to the door when people are arguing around us, and when we feel overwhelmed.
So Alice, as do we, finds herself going back to that room filled with doors as she grows up; sometimes she shifts sizes to exit like a giant, and other times she becomes nearly invisible and negligible to be able and fit through the smallest door.
What do we do when we become so good at leaving and so terrible at staying and facing our problems?! What does that make us? Where does that leave us?
Worth a thought? When does the need to stay become more worthwhile than the will to leave? Do we become better or worse off when we always enter a room but look for the nearest exit to feel safe?
Staying takes courage and a pounding heart. It takes looking foolish sometimes by putting on an armor of love and growing elephant ears. Staying requires an understanding that life is temporary, and a decision that this situation, this person, this conversation IS worth the time invested. We do not allow our previously broken hearts to break again, but we allow them to reflect and refract every ounce of love we can muster from the room. Staying can sometimes teach us lessons not just about ourselves but about others. Staying helps us see that we cannot force people out of habit, sometimes we cannot solve other people’s problems; but in our case staying helps solve ours. WE FACE THEM.
The doors are always there, they saved us when we needed them. But sometimes life keeps beating the same lesson into us until we learn it; and that is when we stay and face it. When we leave not out of defeat or fear or panic, but out of love and having done what we could; the door will then not feel like an escape, but like a path towards growth.