Tag Archives: patience

My Best Friend: Lessons In Commitment and Loyalty

I’m not much different than most other females who grew up around the same time I did.  We all watched the same Disney movies and obsessed over Wesley in Princess Bride.  We actively consumed the fairy tales of Princess’ being swept off their feet.  Add in some religion, and there was always some illusory man who was suppose to show up and sweep us off our feet.

By the age of twenty-five, if it hasn’t happened yet, the internal worry mixes with the biological clock and things start to get a little weird.

I didn’t start building strong female relationships until about that age.  I started to embrace the feminine in myself and with that came a new feminine energy.  At times I would think that I was the most “girly” out of the group, even though I considered myself far less “girly” than my cohorts.

I’m certain when I went for a dog, I didn’t care what gender it was, but for the first time in my life I was starting to really make female friends and I am sure that played a role in how everything unfolded.

During this time I was becoming very aware of the emotional pain many women carry with them.  It was a suffering that would come from competing with other women more as an unspoken way of being than a logical reaction.   I was going out of my way to express appreciation for women, even ones who I interacted with just in passing.  It could be as simple as saying “You look fantastic in that shade of blue.”  or ” I really love your hair, it looks so soft!”

I could see that women on the daily were not only trying to meet the world with some beauty, but they were trying to convince themselves that they were worthy of love and attention and the most basic way we are taught to seek that out, is by outward expressions of self care.

I knew I wasn’t out there trying to steal anyone’s boyfriend.  I was trying to find some loyal female friends while seeking love, and if you want to get a lady’s attention, give her a sincere complement.

When Claddagh came into my life, it wasn’t complements that won her over.  In fact it wasn’t complements that kept her around.  But while I was trying to figure out how to bring more love into my life via friends, she was sitting right beside me as I hashed things out.

In February of 2009 I received an art commission to paint a mural on the inside of a pump house at a tree farm.  For a week, Claddagh and I camped out while I painted the mural.  In the evenings I would sit by the fire with a headlamp writing about the various musings I may have had over the day.

Here are my scribbles about “What the fuck the roller coaster of love is”;

  • Doesn’t know what love is but aches for it, due to fairy tales and day time drama.
  • Meet someone who likes you and you couldn’t care less for as an individual.  Sometimes it matters not, for the first timer. It’s the wanting of love so badly that most novices force it based on lame criteria.
  • Settle into that “like-ness.”  For some this happens faster than others.
  • Grow personally or experience partners growth.   Get annoyed with everything you previously adored as “quirky.”
  • Jump knee deep into the dramatic experience of separating ways and the fucked up boomerang that always brings you back.
  • Wrestle with emotions vs. a need to get laid, enduring attitudes turn into pet peeves and the struggle to stay seemingly sane through the process.
  • Question life; it’s meanings and what could possibly be next.
  • Waste a few months feeling bad for yourself and procrastinating making a big decision.
  • Finally settle on something, perhaps the easiest thing….
  • And just when you think you are on the money…..
  • The Universe says “I’m sorry, actually you are going to do this ____.”  Which was your least favorite option from the options you initially had to choose from.
  • Just when you resign to your new circumstance, this new, interesting and attractive person comes in and because you haven’t lost all your hormones yet, your body says “HELLO!”
  • Knowing that you just experienced “love” and you have a lot to deal with, your mind says, “OH NO!”
  • Undoubtedly you spend time with this new stranger and your hormones won’t quit screaming “OH YES! PLEASE, PLEASE!”
  • Since you realize we are all animals who are most responsible to responding to our physical instincts,
  • Consciousness takes a back seat in decision making
  • Cave in and let hands graze nameless places- get high on pheromones.
  • Act like sad orphans literally dying to experience affection.  Once is never enough.
  • Realize that all of a sudden this indulgence and connection produces a a desire to satisfy something primal.
  •  Intimacy becomes a third party to rugged and animalistic behavior.
  • Start feeling things for a stranger while temporarily avoiding the recent void of failure, hoping to be re-filled.

Claddagh sat there as a silent bystander as I purged what could be seen as the worst flow chart for “love” to ever exist.  But what do I learn from this when I go back through it with that knowing?

My views on love have been quite askew.  Claddagh showed me another way to love, and it wasn’t based off of some unrealistic script that we are fed through entertainment.  This is why it hurts so badly.  We didn’t follow predictive programming in the unfolding of our friendship.  Even up into the minute I had to choose to let her go, I had no idea what I was doing and I was simply hoping for the best for both of us.   There was an undeniable trust that we were doing the best we could.

I learned that I need to further listen to my instincts.  Love doesn’t really exist in one-sided affairs and one sided affairs have seemed safe.  It’s easier to reject than to be rejected.   But what does it look like when both parties love?  It is harder to walk away, and I have been good at walking away… but I couldn’t walk away from Claddagh.  She made me look at the worst parts of myself, and she could have disappeared at any point in time to find a new home, and she didn’t.  She pushed through my wreckage.

Thanks to her, I can sift through it, and see more of what she was showing but I was only recording in passing. Thanks to her I can see love outside of that wreckage.

 

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My Best Friend :Soul Training

Sometimes you meet someone new, and you just instantly know that you will be friends.  You are not sure why, or what it is you have in common, but something flows between you that is almost effortless, and it is like a breath of fresh air in a world full of stifling pollution.

Usually it happens at “just the right time.”  “Just when you need it most.”  You may even feel “saved.”

Is Dog, God?

I’ve been seeking some sort of salvation my whole life.   Mostly I want to be saved from being lonely.  Lonely isn’t just a word, though; it is a big concept.  It’s definition isn’t even vast until you start researching the synonyms… “godforsaken” is my favorite.

Godforsaken!  It sounds pretty profound but it breaks down to “forlorn, desolate, miserable,”  basically Emotional Shitsville in a country called Isolation.

I’ve come to accept that I don’t think like a mass majority of people, and that can be scary for both parties.  Words are steeped in various meanings and history has shown that  words are manipulated and it isn’t rare to rule with an Iron Fist.   “A certain amount of violence is needed to keep them in line”- sort of mentality that I am way too familiar with.

I’ve written five chapters thus far.  It’s time to talk about my failures as a human.  My dog has been gone for 24 hours.  I’ve been unable to censor myself online about this journey.  The only thing I hope to gain from it, is a living record for myself and anyone who cares for whatever reason.  I haven’t been perfect, and none of us are.  Is a dog God with such unconditional love?

Have you ever just brushed someone away, and said, “No, not now?”

Or, maybe had a bad day and then poured all that anger on to an unsuspecting person?

Yeah.  I do.  I think that this is an unavoidable byproduct of life if you don’t become aware of it.   One of the shittiest feelings in the world is when you know you harmed someone else.

In the beginning, both Claddagh and I had our own quirks.  Her nervous behavior and my own anxiety would clash and being the dominate in the situation, sometimes I would take it out on her aggressively.   The worst thing she ever did was chew on stuff that she shouldn’t and occasionally steal my food and coffee, if left unattended.  I didn’t get mad a her about that stuff… I would express aggression toward her when other things were going wrong in my life, and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One day I had a melt down and she really took the brunt of it.  Afterward I felt so guilty and ashamed, so much so that I consulted friends about finding her a new home.   I didn’t deserve her.  That feeling never left me.  I didn’t deserve her affection and love, because I did the one thing that you should never do, which is fly off the handle and harm someone you love.  Somehow in that large heart of hers, she always forgave and came back to my side.

She was able to see the intangible sadness that had always existed in me.  She knew that there was a certain sense of Godforsaken loneliness inside that she wouldn’t be able to fully fix for me, she was a willing “band-aid.”

That is the interesting thing about animals, their senses tell them so much about their world, yet they can’t articulate the depth of their experience to us in ways that we can relate.  So we find middle ground that makes us both feel good.   That was the goal anyway,  so any deviation from that goal feels like devastation.

I’d like to say that I never got mad at Claddagh again, but incidences did arise.  I was never as aggressive with her again, as the time I thought I should re-home her but that didn’t matter.  I hated expressing anger at her because I knew above all that she was just a pure spirit.

Today was day two of waking up without her.  I slept in until noon just to avoid the reality and because writing all of this out and drinking vodka is very tiresome.   I still want to cry but I feel resistance. My eyes go through patches of cloudiness that I can’t seem to rub away.  I know I am dehydrated.  I just want my dog.

Here are some weird facts about my Claddagh;

1.) She never, ever would shit on the trail.   She would always find a place off trail to do her business, and I thought that was super respectable.

2.) She never once peed or pooped in the house.  Not one accident like that.

3.) One time she got sick in my car, she purposely puked in the removable cup holder.  Another time she got sick in the barn loft and made sure to puke on the tile and not on the carpet.

If a dog could be considerate, I think that these three facts really represent that about her.   She knew that I could get into stressful states, and it’s like she did everything she could to not make that worse in me.   She knew that if she stayed out of the way, that I would come to her in defeat and just hold her and cry.

It took a while for us to learn that in each other.  When to walk away, to calm down so that everything could be handled with more patience and decorum.  No doubt these are useful attributes with all living beings, and Claddagh held space for me to work on cultivating those traits.

In twenty four hours, I am missing attributes Claddagh had that I took for granted; from catching pesky flies and mosquitoes, to not helping me finish the last quarter of the hamburger… just weird small things you don’t think much about.  Last night I was eaten up by bugs, and I made myself sick by finishing the last of the burger because it seemed somehow wrong to throw it into the trash.  I just sat looking back and forth and the burger and the empty spot on the floor where Claddagh would be patiently waiting for her portion.

She could have food sitting in her bowl all day, and yet she would wait to eat until I was eating.   I wish I was as good of a human, as she was as a dog.