It Coulda Been Me: Diggin’ In The Dirt.

I’m bad at bein’ subtle
But I ain’t that tough, no

Just a
victim of circumstance
Didn’t you know

                                                                                                                       –Joan Jett, Victim of Circumstance

 (Run Away Behaviors)

Growing up or otherwise living with an addict of any kind predisposes those around said addict to certain behaviors. I have a tendency toward ‘runaway behaviors.’ Runaway behaviors come in two classes, for me, there is the ‘Fuck Everything And Run’-expressly physical manifestation of runaway behaviors and then there are the ‘unchecked’ behaviors, wherein no ‘physical‘ departure is (necessarily) required.

Just so we’re clear! I am not in the habit of skulking out by way of the shadows, slipping out the window or vanishing on a dime. (No, really. Hear me out on this.) When I go, I pack my shit and leave. I walk out the front door. I’m not likely to explain and we certainly won’t be discussing it. I will just be gone.  That’s how I run. (Ha!) Accordingly, it has taken me a minute to subscribe to this behavior as ‘running’ at all. (A word on Semantics! Semantics are not infrequently the bane of my existence. I spend half my waking hours parsing out wtf words even mean: signifier/signified. Case in point, ‘running away’ formally , by definition (adj.) means “having run away; escaped; fugitive.” Informally, it means, (adj.) “deserting or revolting against one’s group, duties, expected conduct, or the like…” It can not  BE all of the above! Is it escaping or is it deserting, which one? These are not interchangeable terms! ‘Usage‘ is useless! Of course I know what I mean when employing the term but how the hell am I supposed to know what you mean?) You see, by my definition it isn’t running away if you WALK out the front door. There is no desertion. It isn’t about fear, it’s about resolve.  I’ll walk out smiling and I won’t look back not for a really really long time anyway. How could a (willful?) decision to leave with no obfuscation involved be “running away?” 

It took encountering a ‘new’ term or, more accurately, a  familiar term in a new context (fucking semantics!) for me to clarify my grasp of the runaway concept, twas the term “geographic.” Used in a sentence, as it would apply to me–I pulled a geographic. That clears it up, right? To ‘pull a geographic’ is to leave; to relocate oneself on the map in the interest of leaving behind or otherwise escaping the realities of one’s current geographic location. Turns out, I am not the first person to ‘pull a geographic.’ It’s a common practice really. Well…among a certain kind of people anyway. You see, it follows a certain logic: this ‘place’ is fucked, I’ll go to a ‘place’ that isn’t. Makes perfect sense, right? The most obvious example of my pulling a geographic, was in my departure from my hometown. I left there 15 years ago and did so with the understanding that if I EVER went back I would die there. Writ large, most people had no idea that I was leaving at all and those that did did not believe that I was serious. And why would they?  I provided little to no details on the rational or timing of my departure. The only people who well and truly knew were those directly effected  by my departure. Specifically, these would have been the folks that I asked for help with the move or the ones notified that I was moving out of our shared dwelling. Bye. 

My departure from my home town may have seemed startling but it should not have it wasn’t an anomaly in my behavior. I had developed by that point quite the penchant for ‘abrupt’ departures. When I am done, I leave. I said that, right? By the time I had physically left my home town I had fully habituated my ability to walk away from a conversation, a situation,  or a RELATIONSHIP without saying a fucking word. I learned to disengage  or “detach” from (nearly) anything or anyone and I did so with all the tact of a practiced cleaver. By the time I had left there were very few people that I maintained (healthy) relationships with. Not incidentally, there were also very few elements of my own identity that I still recognized or acknowledged either. Pulling a geographic, it turns out, was simply the most DRASTIC expression (up to that point in my life) of a fully incorporated and oft practiced behavior.

Cutting elements and/or people out of my life in the manner described above, for much of my life, has seemed the only prudent course of action. I can not honestly sit here and suggest that I believed there was any other way to conduct myself or my affairs. Coming to terms with my departures as an example of ’runaway behaviors’ has necessarily led to the reexamination of any number of other instances  in my life, wherein, I have “run away, escaped, deserted and /or revolted” against certain circumstances, situations or people.  I’m not proud of this behavior. Nor, would I even begin to suggest that I have this behavior in check. What I do know is that for the first time in my life I am aware of it for exactly what it is. My tendency to ‘cut and run’ is in fact a learned BEHAVIOR as opposed to an intrinsic part of my identity (READ: I wasn’t born a BITCH.) As a behavior it can be recognized, retooled or retired as needed. Additionally, as with all habituated behaviors at one time, for one reason or another, in my life this behavior was useful. It was a means to survival and I am grateful for having survived.

This Blog Was Soundtracked to:

Joan Jett, “Victim of Circumstance”

Social Distortion, “Ball & Chain”

George Strait, “If You’re Thinking You Want A Stranger”


One Response

  1. […] through out the area I grew up in. I hate the Bay Area. That’s relevant to this ramble. I pulled a geographic years ago and did so CERTAIN that if I stayed in the Bay Area it would kill me. As a result, I […]

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