It didn’t happen
I didn’t want to be the reason
that the person who found me
had nightmares for the rest of their life.
Remember when you were a kid and you were into things like dinosaurs or cartoons or all things cats or unicorns or sports?
It was your life. One you got to create for the first time- on your own!
You became part of a tribe outside of the one you were born into. You became a celebrated explorer in your new community. It was your first taste of independence. You were learning a new language, secret codes, and in some cases clothing and new toys were involved.
With me it was astronomy.
I made it my mission to learn all about planets and and gravity, how stars were formed and the spectacular way they died. I hadn’t told anyone yet but I had made up my mind to be an astronaut.
I was about 10 years old.
At that time my Dad’s family were seeing a lot of each other and we were having dinner at our house.
I was carrying around my beat up copy of my favorite book about the constellations and my Dad called me over and said something like, ” ask her anything about astronomy”
So people did.
I answered a few questions and someone said. ” You have an answer for everything, don’t you?”
I felt very, very ashamed of myself. Which I’m sure was the idea.
” You know Anita, ” my Dad said ” you should learn to keep your mouth shut even if you know what the answer is.”
I remember going into my room.
I remember gathering up all of my books about astronomy
I don’t remember how I felt when I threw them out that night.
There were a couple if unfortunate results of what my Dad did that day.
The worst was that I would spend most of my life treating my intellect like the bastard child who shows up at the family reunion which is being held over the Christmas Holidays.
I played dumb, I wouldn’t participate in class or group discussions. If I had an opinion I might express it but I made sure I did it in such a way you’d never ask me for one again.
The second was, I let my drive to learn and write and my passion for reading be marginalized by what everyone else in my life was doing. I mean, why not. What was I doing that was so important?
Having a bad day?
Let me put this amazing book down to help you out of it.
Need someone to talk to?
Let me shut off this great piece of music so I can listen to you bitch about the jerks you live with and the fool who screwed your perfect day up at the grocery store.
Oh. You want me to stop writing so I can go shopping with you at the mall? Why the heck not?
Just like the way the tides are affected by the sun and the moon I let everyone else affect my writing or the time I set aside to catch up on my “science time”
The people in my life don’t know this is happening- just like the Moon or the Sun have no idea that they have an affect on the Earth’s oceans and bays. But I’m aware of it and it was up to me in the end to do something about it.
A few years ago I had to make some changes in the way I looked at my life because my depression had impacted and damaged it to the point that there was very little of “me” left.
I started to make it a point to care about how I spent my time and who I spent it with. I started to read and study again- and with that my writing developed in leaps and bounds. I even began to write Poetry- which to be honest is something I thought I would never do.
Now when I participate in conversations and relationships I really want to be there- as opposed to feeling like I washed up on someone’s curb after a hard rain.
None of that happened over night.
But it’s a start and I’m still hard at it.
And I’m making progress.
Daily Prompt: Tide
A few years ago right after I turned 50 a friend of mine said,
” Me and you are like a couple of ugly mutts, we’re not like ( hey, no names here ) she’s like a show dog. Not us though. WE are mutts. The kinds that don’t get forever homes”
At the time my so called friend knew I was being treated for severe depression and that I was actually working my way through it. I was taking care of my health. I thought I was actually starting to look a little attractive.
” You know what else?”
I saw my anti-depressants and therapy waving to me from the curb as I was sped away by the crazy talk on wheels my friend was spewing.
I said no. What I wanted to say was shut the hell up you nutter, but I didn’t.
” Now that you’re fifty you can say goodbye to getting a nice seat at restaurants unless you’re with a man. You’re in the invisible club now. ”
She did say that I was a ‘ Crone ‘ now and that I should embrace that. I should let my hair go gray and that I should hang out with other Crones too. Oh and when menopause hit, my life was going to be hell.
By the time she shut her Pie Hole I had pretty much decided to never speak to this person again ( which took a couple of months ).
So why did I tolerate this bitter, selfish, clueless person in my life for another few months? Oh who knows. It wasn’t a single thing I can point to. But then she truly crossed a line and poof- she was gone.
She insulted my dog.
I had just got a puppy and one day she out of the blue said that my puppy wasn’t like her friend’s Lab who was very ” Zen ” and relaxed. We were with another person who apparently knew this ” Zen” dog and she looked as surprised as hell to her it called a Zen and relaxed dog.
Later out of the blue she made it clear that my dog was NEVER allowed in her car.
I was confused because I didn’t realize that there were any plans for my pup to be in her car. In fact, the few times Hamish had seen her it was painfully obvious that Hamish didn’t like her.
When she showed up at the house or we saw her on the street he’d pull at his leash and want to get away. He didn’t want her to pet him and when she said his name and tried to get his attention he’d snap his head to the side and look for a bug to eat.
Hamish has two people on his S*&@ list and she was the first one.
When I got Hamish a lot of things changed for me- I got a grip better grip on my depression. I started to get out and socialize more. My self confidence and over all health improved.
My attitude about life changed for the better.
It took me a few years after that to figure out why she hated my dog so much.
Hamish was vibrant and alive. He made me laugh. He made other people laugh. He was fun and goofy. He ate cat poop if he could find it and if you leaned over to tell him he was a sweet little puppy he’d stick his tongue in your ear.
Hamish was no where near giving up on life, he was a Puppy and the world was his Oyster-or Kong Toy.
Every day was a new adventure for Hamish. He wakes up wagging his tail- he started that when he was 12 weeks old and now at almost four he STILL does that.
His zest for life rubbed off on me.
Hamish was the reason this termagant was going to be one friend short on her road to Dullsville. That’s why she hated him. She saw what he represented and she couldn’t tolerate it.
So my dog is a Purebred Chocolate Labrador Retriever with an impressive bloodline and he’s registered with the AKC.
I was a cur who was running in bad company and he bumped over to another path. He didn’t pull or push or hound me. He sort of said, “Hey, wow…look at this!”
That’s what friends do when they see you falter. They give you that little nudge to help you get on your way. They don’t break your legs so you end up stranded with them on the side of the road where you spend the rest of your life hating people who get to keep exploring our imperfect yet morbidly amusing world.
The next time you feel yourself starting to stall remember Hamish- when you’re feeling threatened eat a bug, chase away the monsters and whatever you do-never get up in the morning without wagging your tail.
Daily Prompt: Cur
This is Hamish Macbeth- I was lucky enough to become his Mommy just before Halloween in 2014.
I almost named him Boris Karloff in honor of the season and one of my favorite actors but he actually responded to the name Hamish Macbeth- so Hamish he is.
2014 was not a good year for me for a variety of reasons- one being I suffer from depression and even though I had begun counseling and medication that stuff doesn’t kick in right away so I was struggling.
And why not throw the Holidays into that mess just to make things a little bit harder?
I was lucky. I had help swoop in just before the first fake trees hit the Mall.
The thing that saved me from really having a hard situation become an intolerable one was my dog.
He was a 12 week old Chocolate Lab Puppy with ( then ) yellow cat’s eyes.
Hamish was this very serious little puppy when I first brought him home. But within a month his personality exploded and he became outgoing, friendly, engaging goofy and scary smart.
He just couldn’t get enough of the world and the people and things in it.
So I got to watch this little bundle of joy take to the world around him with unbridled enthusiasm and energy and curiosity- and I was lucky enough to be there when it happened.
So I went along for the ride an it was just before Christmas.
Here are some of Hamish’s first Christmas pictures- it just seems right to put this post and these pictures up now because I think Hamish is what the holidays SHOULD be about.
Holidays are no fun unless you can have fun WITH them.
I used to throw myself, face first into every single holiday on the calendar.
I had fun planning the day, cooking, decorating trying new things.
And then a few years ago I suffered from a severe bout of depression that involved medication, therapy and the soul crunching reconstruction of the person I thought I was.
On one of those less then stellar evenings during that time, one of my now former friends and I went out for a bite and on the way back ( she was driving ) she flipped on the radio to a station that played non stop Christmas Carols and drove through one of the local neighborhoods where everyone on the street decorated their houses with lights and robot reindeer galore and demonic elves tossing presents down chimneys.
I was trying to tell her I wasn’t enjoying this ride- but she babbled on and on about each and every house we passed and just before I was about to punch her in the face she snapped the radio off and trilled, ” wasn’t that great?”
” No.” I said. ” I think it all looks cheap and nasty.”
” Oh you Scrooge.” and she babbled on and on about how much she loved it all.
So I wondered, as I watched the cluelessness spread before me like fake snow, when I used to throw myself into the Holidays how many people wanted to punch me in the face? Above it all, why did I bother?
My poor brain just broke that evening.
I understand now that pulling away from things that enjoyed was a symptom of the illness that I was struggling with and am now starting to get my arms around.
I took it a step at a time and got myself back to writing and creating and reading, I took care of my health, planned daily goals and as sappy as it sounds made sure I laughed everyday.
I still haven’t got back to the point were I enjoy the holidays the way I used too, but I’m working on it.
This year I bought Easter candy, I bought myself a new dress to wear and I’m thinking I might buy some bunny ears for my dog to wear ( He’s a Labrador which makes him a hunting dog- so you know, dress him up like a bunny hahahaha ).
Who knows, maybe I’m on the way back to celebrating the holidays again.
I have missed them- and maybe they’ve missed me too.
Daily Post Prompt: Outlier
She should not be here in the dust
where there is no water
no breath of air
nobody to care.
She should take to the air
she should find the Sea
she should lift her wings and fly
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt
Every doubt, every scar, every insult, every hurt, every injustice every demon.
I was told to overcome them, banish those demons- put them behind me, bury them, shove them into a room and lock the door and throw away the key.
Go ahead and build and fashion with my own two hands a room where the air is chilled by despair, lit by anger and every square inch, every corner of that cavernous room is crammed full of bones, twisted shadows and the torn and bloody remains of every me who ever was in doubt, ever injured, ever insulted or dealt an injustice.
The crying the half breaths and the whispering and shouting into nothingness would never end in that room- does anybody know that?
Why doesn’t that matter?
Create a Hell is the advice I get, create a hell shut the door, lock it and throw away the key.
I can see myself standing in front of the door. I can feel the coldness, hear the despair. I can see the handle being frantically turned and worked from the other side.
I should lock that door, throw away the key and walk away from that door…
Or I could open the door, walk inside and
embrace what I find there and make it my own.