Taking Flight

“I’ll go.”

I’ll leave.  It’s what I do.

I am often praised for my ability to recognize when a situation is no longer working and having the so-called strength to leave.

“Better to cut your losses,” they say.

I left a small town where many were content.

I left a fiance.

I left the first law firm that hired me.

I left the state of New York, where all my friends and family resided.

I left the law firm that took a chance on a NY lawyer and helped me study for the California Bar Exam.

I left the practice of law altogether.

Sometimes, leaving is the right thing to do.

For me, it’s just a reflex.

Only once in my life was it glaringly obvious that I shouldn’t leave.

Not that I didn’t try.  I had papers ready to be filed.  I had cried to my parents.  I had shared with my friends.  Because, too insecure to decide on my own, I always test the waters before jumping ship.  Like every other time, it appeared no one would hate me if I did it.  Except my future ex-husband I suppose.

I couldn’t leave.  Not this time.  My typical ‘fight or flight’ response was stalled.  This time I had to fight for my marriage.  This time I had to say goodbye to my flight urge.

That was five years ago.  Since then we’ve shared so much love, life, growth and acceptance.  There has been adventure and comedy; forgiveness and compromise.  We’ve shared dreams.  We’ve watched them come true.  We’ve cried when they didn’t.

Strength isn’t leaving.  Strength isn’t staying.  It’s not an action at all.

Strength is knowing.  Strength is facing yourself head on.  Strength is daring to act consciously.

“I want to stay,” I begged.

Alone, I could have flown; but together we soar.

It’s been a beautiful journey.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

In my continued quest as a writer, I am linking up with Yeah Write for their Summer Writer’s Series.  Week one: writing a clear narrative.

68 thoughts on “Taking Flight

    • Thank you so much! It’s part of what I want to do here at this blog – tell the truth, say the things we are afraid to say. And every time I do, I find not only am I not alone, but I’m in very good company.

  1. Absolutely gorgeous post. So powerful. I have been there and can relate. I have been with my husband for 20 years (married 15) and have lived this moment. I am so grateful that we are soaring together, too. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. I love this post too. It’s intense without being sentimental. I was there with you– that moment when you wanted to leave. And the realization that you had to stay. And all that transpired afterwards. Amazing stuff. Best post yet.

  3. Beautiful. I relate to this on a very personal level. It would have been easier to walk away than to stay and fight. I’m so glad I didn’t. “Alone, I could have flown; but together we soar” …..amazing! You caught my heart with that one.

    • Yes! Sometimes I really think about how much easier it would have been to leave. The work we had to do – to regain trust, to recover our connection, to remember our commitment – it took so much time and exhausting effort. But I would have lost out so much including a better understanding of myself and an amazing family. I wouldn’t have traded any part of it for an easier experience.

  4. Beautiful! And beautifully expressed. I’ve never been one to leave situations physically but I do tend to emotionally evacuate. I learn so much and experience much more love when I keep showing up instead of distancing – not an easy feat! Congrats all around!

    • Ahhh, my husband is the emotional evacuator. If I can’t feel connected I am so uncomfortable I need to physically remove myself. But no matter what your tendency the work is showing up for that connection. You get it!

  5. Oh the fight or flight response! I know it so well. I had an anxiety disorder for many years and flight was my go to action. I’m glad you stuck it out with your husband and that the two of you have “soared”.

    Nice post! :)

  6. That is so hard. I was there once and left and it was the right thing. And I’ve been there with David and stayed and that was also the right thing. As you say, it’s not the staying or leaving, it’s choosing to make the choice that’s right for you, instead of following a reflex or following dogma.

    P.S. I need to hear more about the self-hosting. I’m planning to go that route, but I’ve so far lacked the courage/motivation to do it…

  7. Anyone who has ever been married has had the same thought. “I’ve got to get out of here. Now.” It’s part of the ebb and flow of two people trying to make one life together. Marriage is work. Glad you stuck it out. Great post.

    • You know, I was totally prepared for the “work”, which in my mind meant the fights, the compromise, the apologies. I wasn’t ready for the daily effort that connection and commitment take – the smaller things. That’s where I got tripped up!

  8. How old were you when this all happened? I feel like I did the same thing for a while and it was half my husband’s strength and half realizing that I had to be strong enough to tackle things rather than run away (I ran from Ohio to Las Vegas ha ha!)

  9. Your honesty is impressive. Changing behaviors is SO hard – something that may be a go to response is hard to get away from.

    • So hard. I still do it and it’s still my instinct. I don’t think you can ever really get rid of it. Now I just try to ask myself why I want to jump ship and sit with it for awhile. Sometimes I go, sometimes I stick with it.

  10. This gave me goose bumps. Because I am like you. I leave and when I’m done, I’m done. I don’t look back I just go. And, this time, it has been so hard…which is why I have been on the floor. It is a wonderful journey when two people want to stay. This was beautiful.

  11. All of the wrong turns we take on the journey through life bring us to exactly where we’re supposed to be — and you’re supposed to stay this time around. Great post!

  12. I’m so glad it turned out that way. I, too, have to resist that very frequent urge to leave. I left my home state for New York, I left my law firm there, I left New York for Dallas, I left Dallas for Houston, I left my firm again, I left working altogether, then I left not working altogether, I still have the urge to leave things all the time but I fight to make myself stay. I’m better at leaving than staying but I’m trying.

  13. Incredibly. Courageous. Beautiful post. Alongside marriage in the dictionary I swear the next word should be challenging – thank you for reminding us that it’s not perfect, and that’s okay, and that for most of us, it’s worth working for. Good for you for facing yourself head on (we’re always the hardest ones to look in the eye).

  14. Oh Carinn, WOW. Thank you for your honesty, and for writing your truth so beautifully! That took GUTS to say, girl….and you did it phenomenally. Wow. Can’t wait to have a cup of coffee with you in NYC….I think we have a lot to chat about 😉

    • Oh thank you so much! Thank you for saying it took guts to say! Only writers understand that this medium isn’t meant to be cowardly, it’s meant to be powerful. You are already on my BlogHer agenda (although I figured it would be tequila).

    • Yes you are 100% right. The decision to stay together wasn’t just mine – it was his too. And it was just the first of many challenges we faced to repair our relationship. But it made all the difference.

  15. Some things ARE worth fighting for. I think it comes with wisdom. If that same scenario happened to you 5…. 10 years prior… would you have done the same?

    Nicely written.

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

    • Never. I know that for sure. But what about 5 years later? or 10 years later? What if it wasn’t my marriage but my dreams of being a writer? Wisdom, the knowing, takes patience.

      Thank you for your comment.

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