You Can’t Run Away From Yourself

I know. I’ve tried.

November 2018, post-wisdom tooth removal. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

It wasn’t self-hate. I wasn’t trying to torture myself or beat myself into non-existence. I just wanted a break away from who I was, the things that happened to me, and the success that I couldn’t seem to attain. I wanted to fade away, to leap into the body and mind of someone else other than me. I wanted my freedom — to be unhinged and removed from the only person I knew better than anyone else. But guess what? Here I am. Here is where I’ll always be.

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” — Confucius

During my pre-therapy days, approximately two years ago, I would soak myself in negative thoughts. Sure, I could drum up positive feedback, words of affirmation, terms of endearment, and spread love to others —at my core, I was rotting — wasting away. I didn’t have the energy nor did I want to salvage the me hidden deep within.

Much of my adult life has been riddled with me trying to outdo my previous accomplishments then shaming myself when I couldn’t.

I left home when I was eighteen years old. My parents had been divorced since I was twelve and my stepfather wasn’t my favorite person. My mom wasn’t either — not at that time. During those years and several prior, she’d been on drugs and a violent alcoholic. So when college called, I went running toward it.

When someone you love deeply threatens to chop off any of your usable limbs while holding a machete simply because you stepped in to initiate peace between them and their spouse, it’s time to go. My mother became the person I ran away from first.

I wanted to fade away, to leap into the body and mind of someone else other than me.

The one person I loved the most, regardless of how quickly and viciously she changed, was the person who physically abused me, stole from me, left our home for days on end to be with other people (forget the fact her own children were at home, fending for themselves), called me various unsettling and belittling names, and said on more than one occasion “I just want to have fun” was the one person I begged to see me — please see me and love me. She couldn’t. Not during those days. Not without help.


Smiling Baby Tre, 1981. Photo of a photo.

Running away from my mom meant, in a sense, that I was also running away from myself. And I would do so for at least another fifteen years. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are pieces of you you’ve inherited from your parents and some of those pieces are the remnants of them you hate the most.

Anger built up in me. I was pessimistic. I had a condescending remark or rebuttal for everything. People lost interest in being around me. In all honesty, when I think back on those times, I don’t blame them.

Some well-respected and beloved relationships had been severed. There was no going back. I could only move forward.

I didn’t have the energy nor did I want to salvage the me hidden deep within.

According to Jon Jaehnig in Better Help:

Inherited behaviors are behaviors that are passed down genetically. Our genes control things like our hair type and color, our eye color, and our height—but we don’t usually think of them controlling our behavior. That’s partly because most of our behaviors are learned, rather than inherited.

No one tells you when you’re a teenager you will probably go through a phase in early adulthood where you recognize the hated behaviors of your parents and what’s worse, by yourself, you cannot get rid of them.

I was blooming into the person I couldn’t stomach and the world around me silently judged me for it.

As I grew older, I was able to point out the behaviors that needed changing and focus on how to do that. Genetically, there was and is no changing me, but various actions, those could be altered, finessed . . . they could be poked and prodded and shaped into better actions.

Mark Manson strongly believes in this method. He posits — a person cannot change who they are, it’s impossible, but that person can change their actions.

You can’t change. Like a thirsty man in a desert chasing a mirage, or a fat man peering into an empty fridge—there’s nothing there. So stop chasing it. Go do something else instead.

As I pressed forward into my mid-30s, various behaviors were noted, addressed, and have been and are being altered. I had to see myself for who I was in order to work on becoming better. I had to face myself, lure myself in, tackle the actions and pieces of me that broke through to the surface, and put in the work.


You will always be you. The parts of you you’ve avoided that need shifting or “finessing”, you will have to address. You will have to get knee-deep in the muck of who you are, dig for gold, and once it’s found, shine it to semi-perfection.

Attempting to run away from the very person you could always be may possibly lead to more damage. The weight of your very being is a hard one to carry but think about the outcome it could have if you run toward who you can become instead of running away from who you are (not genetically speaking).

I hope you will be able to give it a try, that is, if you are ready.

My mom also found her way to the person she was struggling to become. Her journey has been a long and arduous one — one I am grateful she had to experience in order to see the person she buried deep within herself decades ago. Ours is a story built on patience, strength, and forgiveness. We will always be working on us but it is much more beautiful now.

She’s a love I am happy to have.

I used to look in the mirror and see a woman I wanted to look away from. I now see a woman I want to run toward — I want to hug and hold her and settle into loving her forever. It was a long row to hoe and tilling my fields warranted a necessary harvest.

I am living in the abundance of that harvest.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

only the courageous

I don’t know anyone
else who can make
me laugh and cry
uncontrollably in the
same conversation

you have a spirit that
will never give up
you’re a warrior
ancestors at your
beck and call,
assistance for every
attack

gifted, mighty words-worker
who turns sustenance
into art
you are before
your time, our time,
and the times ahead

it would be pointless
to simply say,
“I love you,”
I am blessed to breathe
the same air you
wheel into your
lungs

how can a world of
goodness dwell in
one person
this, I’ll never know
but I’m glad I
know you


For my beautiful friend, Heejin, who is everything amazing and so much more. This was my Valentine’s Day gift to her.

Inches and Miles

“Give an #inch
& they’ll take a mile,
damn heathens.”

Grandma’s voice rang
loudly in our ears.
As she ages, there’s no
hope for discretion.

She has no #filter.

When she feels it,
she’s going to
say it.

And everyone will know.


Originally shared on Twitter as a response to the vss365 and vsspoem prompts.

Thanksgiving Eve: A Poem

my blood can’t handle any more apologies, insistence on the right to celebrate genocide…

Thanksgiving Eve: A Poem

A poem by the lovely Jennifer Patino. Let it sink in. Allow it to marinate for a moment in your bones. However you spend this day, I hope you do it safely and with more awareness than you should probably have.

Please go to the original poem to “like” and “comment.” Her words deserve that. Peace and blessings.

Getting to Know Me (An Audio Poem)

Community art: Different Women. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

2019 MTV Awards Musical Performance by Missy Elliott

Getting to Know Me

An Audio Poem

My kid sister probes me
for information. She needs to
know more about me.
Our upbringing was an odd one.
I’m more of a mother-figure to her
than a big sister; with 19 years
separating us, she “ma’ams” me
rather than “Ooh, girl” or 
“Child, pleases” me and it just seems weird.

She urges me to open up, to share,
but I’m not really the type to complain
more than I need to or
give more of me than I should.
I’ve learned who to shed skin
with and who not to and this isn’t
to say that my sister isn’t to
be trusted, no, that’s not it.
I’m just . . . careful now.

I want to vent sometimes to her,
I want her to hear me when I’m
in distress, yet there’s this overwhelming
feeling to protect her too
even if it’s from me.
She assures me she’s old
enough to digest what I
dole out but I’m hesitant.

I’ve lived a far different life
and my demons tend to follow
me along my sacred paths and
my sister is still growing,
still learning. I don’t want her
to know the me that drives
people away. I’m still working
on that me.
I need her around.

I’d hate for her to be one more
person I find myself chasing
after; another heart to grip.
People want you to strip
bare, stand naked before them,
but many of them aren’t ready
for the curves and folds and
two-toned skin. They just want
to see more of you even if
more of you isn’t beautiful.

It’s one more thing they can
hang over your head, dangle like
a dagger, cut you to the quick.
I’m trying. I swear, I am.
I ask her to be patient with me,
to understand — I have a way
and my way is comforting.
I can’t be rushed.

She understands.
Thank God in heaven.
She understands.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.