Dear UA Readers,
After a long discussion debating this months theme, we finally landed at Running and Returning.
This concept has been stuck in my brain for months now—ever since I first heard Akron/Family’s “Running, Returning”. The song struck a chord in me—partly because of the ever changing pace and enchanting melody, the way the entire song drops out from under you before the last few phrases; and partly because of the lyrics. Phrases like “and I am on my way / to where I’ve always been” tapped a stream in my brain and ideas kept flowing.
I started thinking about what it means to run. It isn’t always a physical thing—the way we run to imaginary places in our heads, the way we run to new ideas and goals. The idea of running incites this weird thrill in me (which is weird because you will NEVER catch me physically running, like EVER). Like the way Antoine runs along the beach in the end of The 400 Blows, like there are so many possibilities, like there’s so much left to uncover, so much space to consume. It’s alluring because it’s unknown.
Then I thought about the concept of return. The most basic scenario pops up in my head every time, but something about it is so comforting: I think about returning home for the holidays, returning to your family, to your roots. It’s one of those genuinely good and rewarding feelings that are so rare in life. Knowing you have something to return to is one of the greatest gifts life can give you.
But Running and Returning goes so much further and deeper than physical things. I think of Phoebe Bridgers’s “Motion Sickness,” perfectly capturing that sea sick feeling of loving someone you hate, missing someone who hurt you. The first phrase “I hate you for what you did / but I miss you like a little kid” sums it all up. You can run from someone forever, but there’s always a part of you that wants to return—even when you know you shouldn’t. How do we navigate that?
Moonrise Kingdom is the actual definition of Running and Returning. I can see in my head now the images and pictures that so beautifully capture this theme (shoutout Wes Anderson). Sam and Suzy bring the maps, the suitcases, the tents, everything to run away from their homes and create a new one together. But the ending scene may be the most beautiful of them all—them together in Suzy’s house, returned.
Running and Returning is every part of life. So many of you are probably just beginning your new life in college—running from your old world and entering a new one. It’s going to be so new, and you will be so overwhelmed with opportunity and excitement. But you have a home to return to, and it finds a whole new meaning, a whole new amount of magic now that it’s not entirely yours anymore. Like Lady Bird running to New York City only to return to her mom through a phone call simply saying, thank you.
This theme has endless limits. It’s the beautiful balance between letting go and holding on. It’s the happiest medium between moving forward and looking back. There is no running without return, and no return without first running. It’s a confusing, difficult, exhausting, and also beautiful part of life.
To all the future adventures and homecomings ahead.
-Vivian Chambers, Editor-in-chief
Running and Returning.
‘Running and Returning’ was debated and considered for a while. Originally exploring this theme, it not only encapsulates the experience of high school, the transition to college but internal thoughts and spaces as well.
“Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron and Wine, “Go Solo” by Tom Rosenthal, “Michigan, 1997” by Dolly Valentine.
Running in this sense signifies an escape: Venturing into the unknown and following your path even if it strays from what is typically expected. Running is to purposefully do things differently. Go off to college. Explore new places. Be a new person. To be young. To be free. Or simply enough, To Be.
Moonrise Kingdom is an especially accurate reference. In the Wes Anderson film, twelve-year-olds Suzy and Sam fall in love and simultaneously fall into themselves as they go on an adventure to build their own kingdom. Suzy and Sam literally run and escape the world they are “supposed” to be a part of all in the effort of creating their own kingdom. I cannot say that I resonate with Suzy and Sam without sounding extremely emo, and consequently, extremely uncool. But haven’t we all dreamt of an escape? Haven’t we all dreamt of chasing an experience? As migrant beings, is it not our job to run?
“Vacation” by Florist, “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley.
The return happens obligatorily or voluntarily.
The return home from summer at the beginning of the school year signifies a return to the norm. The return home— to a previous mental space— raises the question of what is home? Where is home? And how can one return to a place they have not yet discovered? Suzy and Sam return involuntarily, on their parents’ accord. In the end, it not the ‘Running’ that changed them, nor is it the ‘Returning.’ It was everything in between— the very journey, the very process.
This September, I would love to see your interpretations of this concept. What have you run from? What are you running towards? What are you returning to and why? Regardless of what stage you are in, we would love to Run and Return alongside you.
-Savanna chada, managing editor
What makes us run? And what makes us ultimately return?
As summer wraps up, running and returning feels like a perfect theme.
When May ended, we ran.
Some ran far, some ran close to home (I ran all summer), but we all ran nonetheless.
And now, as the days get shorter, we find ourselves returning to school and work.
When one hears the word running, the mind almost always goes to a negative place. Traumatizing highschool sports. Contemplating running away as a young child. Or, maybe, even running away from yourself: your insecurities, your flaws, the things that make you sad.
These are all well and good, but perhaps running and returning can go hand in hand in a more positive light.
It can be running into a loved one's arms after a long time apart. It can be running so hard to congratulate a friend that you accidentally tackle her to the ground, or running through the park at night with your friends because it’s your senior year and you’re determined to make it fun.
Returning can be magical too. It’s coming home from a night out to find your dad asleep on the couch waiting for you to get home safe. It’s receiving a bear hug from your best friend when you see her after being gone for a month, or seeing your favorite teacher on the first day of school.
On a deeper note, we still run from ourselves too often. We ignore the things that make us, well us. This month the theme of running and returning encourages many things: running to your happy place, to a setting where things are pure magic, or reuniting with an old friend, but I want to encourage you to return to yourself. As the school/work year gets hectic, it becomes almost too easy to lose who you are. Check in on yourself. Take a night off. Go have a drink with a friend.
Run run run, but know that there is always something amazing waiting for when you return.