November 6, 2018

Abandonment: Running

This month, it is my joy to introduce you to Anne Lauren - writer, healer, and badass. I had the joy of writing for Anne's blog recently, and was so excited when she agreed to share about her journey and her thoughts on a major topic for survivors: abandonment.


I left her at the dock, abandoned her there. My hand held the throttle as tight as it could, moving as fast as the jet ski could go, I whipped through the water away from her, never turning back. Focused and furious, I sped away and away and away. Suddenly my focus broke, I looked down at my gas gauge and realized that I was in need. I had no idea where I’d find it or how I’d pay for it. I looked up and noticed how beautiful my surroundings were: the bay, the homes, the water, the lights. I was alone. How did I get here? Where am I going? Will I find the resources to get me there? These questions spun in my mind until I woke up.

At 18 years old, I started running. I’m not talking about putting on sneakers, loose shorts, and a breathable tee and sprinting down the street trying to keep up with all the other active folks in San Francisco. I’m talking about running away.

I’ve been running away from things from the moment that running became a possibility. As soon as I left home for college, I ran like the wind. I ran through two degree programs, a number of clubs and organizations, relationships and friends. I ran away from family, from the church of my childhood, from all that I held dear. I ran into two career paths, finding success only to let them both go. I ran to and through medical treatments, healing modalities, attempting to free and to fix myself. I ran into my 30’s exhausted, burnt out, and keeled over.

I didn’t know, of course, that I was running while I was doing it. I thought I was just searching - urgently, desperately - for people, places, and a career path that would alleviate the pain within me.

As soon as I left the house at 18, my brain and body began shutting down. I shook, I had night terrors, I isolated myself because I didn’t feel safe, I couldn’t digest food properly, my anxiety and depression raised to unmanageable levels. I was exhausted. I had no idea what was wrong, but something definitely was so.

At the time I was devoted to social justice. I volunteered with those in economic and spiritual need in the states and abroad- I worked in hospitals, prisons, immigration and food shelters, and schools to help alleviate the pain of others. As I was learning how to actively listen to their plight, how to help them to understand their worth regardless of social or economic circumstances, and advocate for the improvement of practice and policy to alleviate their suffering, I was also learning how to help myself. How to hold and to nourish and to nurture the deep cries within me. I was curious to find their source, but struggled.

My life from the outside seemed nearly perfect: white and wealthy, I had lots of privileges: food on my table, a roof over my head, healthy relationships, and a well rounded education. In college, I had everything I could have ever wanted: my teachers admired my curious intellect, I was deeply involved with a number of organizations on campus, I had great friends, the world was opening before me. And yet, the better my life became the worse I felt. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t comprehend why my internal plight and external circumstances didn’t align.

At 22, the suffering built up and I found myself lying paralyzed on the floor. I couldn’t move. So I broke through the stigma of therapy and mental medications and started to get help. This is when I began to notice my pattern of running. I sought out counselors and spiritual advisers to help me to understand why I couldn’t stop. Why I was continuing to flee, why my feet beneath me couldn’t cease moving no matter my level of fatigue.

At 32, I had the dream about abandoning the woman on the dock and the jet ski and it represented my place in life all too well. I had been running away for so long, concentrating so hard on just getting out, that in a moment I realized:

Where was I running to, what would I need to get there, and how would I actually do it?

Anne Lauren is a word weaver, a woman warrior, and a wisdom wayfinder. She authors the blog, Blue&Lavender, which speaks of her experience recovering from incest and illness and seeks to educate and inspire others to do so. She runs her own coaching program, speaks publicly about her experience, and publishes writings to spread her hope for healing. Check out her blog at She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium @BlueandLavender and on Instagram @Blue_and_Lavender.

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