I write to you tonight, sitting on the living room floor with a brown dog in my lap and a mug of hot tea on the hardwood beside me. A heater is blowing at our feet and I’ve gained direct line of sight out the window to the frosty evening cupping us with an icy grasp. It’s been a rough evening; the dog has battled a sick stomach, most likely due to nerves since I’ve been on edge with him most of the day. He seems to absorb my emotions like some type of furry-sponge and it kills me to know I’m the culprit of his anxiousness. I snapped at him several times in the course of our day, telling him repeatedly to back off or go away.
It’s just been me and him between these walls for almost two years. For such a young creature, he’s already in tune with human distress on a level I’ll never quite comprehend. Even knowing damn well I am the cause of his discomfort, he refuses to leave my lap. How is it this four legged animal knows when I need him most? And how, exactly, does he forgive so easily and instead pour himself into guarding me when I least deserve it?
Do you think they have a greater capacity for love than we do? Those tiny hearts, so full of excitement when we get home from work or take them out to play fetch on a Saturday afternoon. A tail thumping as quick as a jackhammer at the sight of our faces through a kennel fence. Unadulterated joy at a new squeekie toy or rawhide snack, even if it only cost us a dollar.
I really do think they love harder than we do. And they never quit trusting us even when we let them down.
I picked him, much like I would pick any other investment. I weighed the pros and cons, worried about fitting him into my finances, but in the end: I trusted my heart. I knew in a way, I needed him. I was in a terrible place – full of self loathing and prone to days of sleeping for hours just to avoid having to interact with people. I used to think people were exaggerating when they said it but I learned what it was like to hate who I was becoming.
In my head, having him was a fix. He’d give me something to focus on and take care of. Looking back, I wasn’t doing that great of a job taking care of myself so I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.
He really was a wonderful puppy. We made it past the cry-all-night-in-our-crate stage and the chew stage and have since matured fully into the “hump everything” stage. He can manage to hog an entire king size bed all to himself. He’s terrified of the hairdryer. And he’s got separation anxiety through the roof.
In a way, I’ve crippled him. I didn’t socialize him quite enough (he loves who he loves once he gets to know them) because I was single minded and selfish and wanted him to need me the most. He’s now aggressive with anyone who gets too close without my permission and he’s clingy when he knows I’m getting ready to leave the house.
But he makes me happy. And I think I make him happy, too. Just us. Between trying to repair a brittle heart and waking up everyday to his face in those first few months wanting to be close to me – I started writing more and more that spring. You know, I can practically hear some of you: “He’s just a dog.” You’re right. But it’s a relationship all the same. One I’ve cultivated and continuously hold onto for dear life because some days, he’s all that keeps me sane.
Which brings me back to this moment.
Every time I post here, you all get a tiny glimpse of who I am. Up until today, I’ve never experienced a single negative reaction. I’ve been lucky enough I’ve formed friendships, shared tears and laughs, and continually bared a piece of myself (which I’d despised at one point in my life) to a receptive and welcoming audience.
Here’s the thing – maybe some of what I write isn’t good. Hell, if you want me to be honest, I think MOST of it isn’t. But that’s not the point. The point is: I set out on a journey to heal and the path I chose involved a creative outlet. Write everyday. Craft a story everyday. Let. It. Out. Every. Day.
Take away all the social media and you want to know what I’d do?
I’d still fucking write.
Every single day.
My momma raised me to be kind. Generous. Patient. And I fail her, a lot. I’m vindictive when I’ve been rejected. I’m moody. I’m arrogant. Oh God, am I arrogant. Still, I try to hold on to her teachings – and here’s where I stand:
On my living room floor, with nothing more than a dog and an empty journal page. And I will not let anyone’s harsh words make me forget how lucky I am to have these two things. 1- a pet who brought me back to myself. 2- paper and ink which keeps bringing me to new versions of myself. I am not threatened by criticism. I’m not afraid to keep doing this just because someone says I shouldn’t.
Throw venom. Be petty. Cast stones.
I’ll just keep drinking my tea and writing anyway.
B + H