Running away from our problems

It seems that everyone today is trying to run away from something. Seniors in high school are trying to escape controlling, or conversely, non-committal parents and much more. Talk of secession also shows how there is more enthusiasm to escape rather than to solve future problems.

Numerous Facebook statuses and tweets made by students jokingly suggest moving to Canada or California’s secession as an alternative to Trump’s presidency. Although these are made facetiously, it points to a large issue; rather than facing our issues head-on, we prefer to defer them all together.

Many people I’ve encountered in the past have been physically and verbally abused by their parents and even peers. From abuse to neglect, pressure from parents can come in many forms. Emotional distress often pushes students to seek other things as an escape: more school, distractions, and places beyond the reach of their parents or their abusers. But running away doesn’t always have to be so ignoble if we’re running toward a worthwhile goal, pursuing happiness, or just some semblance of stability.

However, the past always clings onto us. Whether it’s the administration of our racist, sexist and xenophobic president-elect or the turmoil at home that you’re leaving behind once you go to college, we all have to confront our fears eventually. Otherwise, we’re haunted by that pervading fear. That feeling that we forgot something, left something unfinished, or never got the chance to stand up for ourselves.

Protests against Trump seem to serve little purpose, and people often say they’re futile against our political system. However, the goal of these protests are not necessarily to undo his election. They serve a higher purpose. Protesters seek to stand in solidarity with those who will be and are currently being affected by Trump’s rhetoric: immigrants, minorities, and members of the LGBTQA+ community.

In the same way, we should approach issues in our life with a sense of diplomacy and support. Those affected by parental abuse should attempt to speak to unyielding parents. Our parents are people, too, and they’re subject to the same weaknesses and empathetic tendencies most people experience. While some people might have few options against a dictatorial presence, such distractions do little to improve their conditions.

If negotiations with unyielding parents prove fruitless, there are support systems beyond family. Seeking help may be difficult, but it’s necessary. A healthy support system can come from friends, psychological experts or peer counselors. Those who know someone being affected by these concerns should vocalize their support in the same ways that protesters have.

It’s easy to run away and seek comfort; it’s understandable, too, but ultimately we will be faced with the undeniable past. We will have to see our parents. We will be faced with an unqualified and offensive president.

It takes courage to seek out change and find a place, person or thing to run to, and there is nobility in that pursuit. However, it also takes bravery to find that sense of closure. Our immediate response to issues at home or in the world should not be to run from something that will eventually catch up to us, but to run toward a higher purpose. We don’t always have to conquer our demons, but knowing we’ve faced them is enough to push us beyond what can hurt us and on to new heights.

By Angela Zhang, In-depth editor
Photo by Elaine Liu 

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