Rest now, baby girl

Little Lou passed today. She ruptured something internally because of the cancer and there was nothing more we could do for her. I stayed up with her all night until my sister got home and we took her to the vet. It all happened so fast. It was so sad. She’s cried maybe a handful of times in our 10 years together. Last night, she cried a lot.

Just 7 hours ago I was still holding my little baby. I miss her so much already. Her presence is everywhere. I did the math wrong, we had her for about 10 years. 10 years she gave us, just love.

I think she sent me a dream. My sister sent me a video of me and Lou at the beach. I remember thinking in the dream, ‘See! We went to the beach, I forgot about that. We did take her places. She did feel happy.’ We were swimming in the ocean, the water was clear and warm and inviting. It was all peaceful. Lou kept getting swept up in the current and I kept saying “Lulu! What are you doing little girl?” and laughing and catching her. Finally I picked her up, she kept sliding out of my arms and rolling around my body but I smiled in the video and started walking back to shore. My legs were still knee deep in the beautiful water (that really looked more like a pool than the ocean) by the time I woke up.

From that, I realize that she felt safe with me always. She trusted me and she loved me and she was never scared because I was with her the whole time. She wasn’t afraid to die because she was in pain and it was her time. She knew I did everything I could and she didn’t feel like I cheated her out of a good life. She was happy and she loved, all the while knowing she was loved.

We aren’t a trio of little dogs anymore. We’re two.

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Little Lou

My dog is dying.

That concept is really hard for me.

I know a lot of people who say their dogs are like their children and while I believe them, these dogs have been through a lot with me. For many years, they gave me the will to live. Sounds dramatic but it’s really not an understatement.

My little one is dying and that’s harder for me to grapple with than my mom’s release in less than two months. I know my little Loulou’s absence will hit me harder than my mom’s presence.

She’s got late stage breast cancer because when we found her (she was a stray), she was already so old we thought any surgery would be a risky undertaking. Plus I’ve read up on it and even if we had fixed her, she still would’ve had a high risk of cancer because she was part of a puppy mill and then abandoned on the street. After the first heat, it’s all statistics from there.

I feel guilty because she’s sort of the black sheep of the family. We have 4 dogs and 2 cats. The 2 cats and the biggest dog have their place with my parents. My sister has her little pup and I had mine. Then came Lou.

My uncle Mike named her after his crazy ex-wife and his daughter (my cousin) brought her home. My sister and I took her in the day we asked, “has she eaten today?” and he responded by throwing a raw steak on the floor. That was it.

I have the hardest part of the job now. She’s gifted me with 8 years of her life and love and now I’m her caretaker. Things wouldn’t be so stressful except one of her tumors became infected a couple months ago and she’s been in a lot of pain. Even through the pain, she was still her chipper, sweet self. As of last week, she’s had 7 seizure/strokes (the vet doesn’t differentiate, it’s the same medications either way).

Now she can’t walk or stand. Which means I hand-feed her with a spoon, take her to the bathroom, give her water on a plate, and ultimately do everything for her. I haven’t thought twice about it. Anything she needs, I’m there. I can tell she’s so depressed and it breaks my heart.

I made a clay impression of her paw. I got it shipped overnight when she had her first stroke. I wasn’t sure how long she’d make it. My sister wants to do an ink print so that we can get tattoos together. I’m onboard.

I started this post because I wanted to mention the realization that came to me about pain being universal, regardless of the issues motivating it. This experience has been excruciating and while it won’t last as long as my mom’s incarceration, it has reiterated that idea that we are all human, we all feel the same things. The spite and resentment I used to feel because of my teenage classmates threatening suicide -over what I believed were tremendously silly things to be upset over- has long since dissipated. But I think now, I question it a little more. Was I really that judgmental? I know I was angry. I’m really not that angry anymore.

I am grateful though that the stuff with my mom happened first and then all the “normal people” problems came afterwards. I mentioned in class what was happening with my dog and I had this bizarre “moment” with a girl who I thought sort of hated me. People really do want to connect to one another. Be it for egoistic reasons or not, they do and that lifted me up a lot.

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100 to 0 in the blink of an eye

I don’t know why this keeps happening. I am in the midst of the same moral dilemma. I realized that I’ve spent so much of the last several years eliminating the need for competition and finding ways to be inclusive and accepting. As much as I like to think of myself as an innately compassionate person, elevated by empathy, when it comes to academic type stuff I can’t seem to shake my distaste for mediocrity.

The problem is, I don’t actually feel this way except when I’m the heat of it. This is why I hate group projects and why I adore writing essays. I prefer settings in which I am a facilitator, not a contributor because (remember this is my outlet for all the vain things going on in my head) I am so far ahead of the curve. It’s a curse and a blessing.

I can’t tell if this is because my standards are just so high or if everyone else’s are so low. This discrepancy drives me insane. In that class I was looking for forward to, the one that was supposed to stimulate and challenge me, I could quite literally not stop talking. I had to physically sit on my hands to keep myself from contributing to the discussion. I would like to clarify, this is because the answers were literally in the text. If you did your reading, and attempted to comprehend the material (through deep processing methods) there is NO CHANCE you’d miss it!!! He was asking questions that in my honest opinion, were very straight-forward —again— BECAUSE THEY WERE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE TEXT. There was no interpretation beyond googling definitions and a basic understanding of US history. I am not a history buff by any means, but I’ve taken the class and I learned the material and I can give you a overview (without specific dates or names) of conceptually, what occurred.

I mean this is basic stuff! 1900 – today. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just ranting because I need to get this off my chest. But I also need to figure out a way to reconcile my competitive nature. I am experiencing cognitive dissonance. I believe two directly conflicting things to be each in turn, true. I believe it is morally right for me to allow others to talk and to listen instead, to allow others to come to realizations on their own time. I believe in inclusivity and compassion. AND YET. I also believe in excellence. I believe that hard work and dedication should be rewarded. I believe that if I am the best, I should not be embarrassed for being the best and that it is my job to establish my grasp of the material to the professor and to speak up if I know the answer to something.

It’s going to be a long semester.

The concept of time as I understand it

I just got off the phone with my mom and she said two things that when held together, represent how I feel about time.

It’s her 50th birthday today. She just told me that she has officially outlived both of her parents.

I will be 25 in about a month. That means she has been in prison for more than half my life.

When I think about time in a conceptual format, wrestling with these two things befuddles me. If time is a string, it begins to become more elastic, depending on my perspective. To me, it does not seem that much time has elapsed but really, it has. More than half my life has been spent with her behind bars.

The sum of her life, eclipses the lives of both her parents.

Time is weird.

Let go my ego

I read this article recently that really stuck with me over the course of the last few days. It said something along the lines of “I really thought we’d had a connection because we talked everyday but then I began to realize that we didn’t because we never got into the deeper subjects that mattered”. I’ve looked at a lot of my relationships lately with that thought in mind lately.

I just got off the phone with my mom and I’ve gotta say, we don’t have that problem. I sometimes feel like I talk too much about my own stuff and because she’s my mom, she’s always willing to listen. I think I will constantly be reminding myself to listen more, talk less. But at the same time, we talk about everything. From trivial to tumultuous, we go there. I appreciate that about our friendship now.

I don’t know what it is about my college but for some reason, I’ve noticed more and more lately that a lot of people don’t engage in anything. Like the taste of blase is so tempting, they’re unwilling to try something new. My mom just said “I never noticed until I got here, how many people in life really just like to skate by, waiting for other people to do their work for them”. She went on to say that in her groups where this is happening, she finds out the real life lesson is usually something entirely unrelated to the group material. Once, it was about a bully in the room and learning how to (metaphorically) disarm her. I find that to be the case for myself more often than not.

I’m taking an art education class this semester and the first two weeks for me were SO frustrating. I feel like I’m sitting in a room of kindergarteners. I mean, I have had years of study in art (before this college, it was at my community college). In total, I’ve studied art — and I mean really studied art — for almost 6 years. I found out during a small group exercise last week that one of the girls in my group had only taken one other art class before and that the words coming out of my mouth sounded like an entirely different language. The thing is, I needed to hear that. I think my lesson this semester is in temperance and humility. Fine, I’ll take it. I have already decided I will make office hours with my teacher to explain to her why I’ll be a lot quieter in the weeks ahead. I hope she’ll agree with me when I level with her. I don’t want to intimidate or come across as a know it all. But I can see it in her eyes when she looks pointedly at me, she’s desperate for engagement and she doesn’t care 9 times out of 10 when I’m monopolizing the discussion. 

My problem is that I fear I will never be challenged intellectually at my current school. I’ve been here a year and so far, I’ve had two classes that I found remotely interesting. It’s really unfortunate and it is pretty soul crushing for something who finds knowledge to be akin to a fountain of ecstasy. When I was at community college, my brain was constantly exploding with new concepts and essays and wow, I never realized I was so spoiled. I fear I will never feel that way again for as long as I’m here.

My vent is this: HOW DID YOU GET SO FAR IN LIFE WITHOUT A BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF ECONOMICS, POLITICS, CULTURE, ETC?! Were we not required to take the same general education classes?! HOW have you NOT absorbed ANYTHING!? I just don’t understand how it’s even possible. My mind does not compute. No wonder facebook has destroyed our minds. These “peers” of mine just regurgitate and all I want to do is fall asleep listening to it. WAKE UP PEOPLE USE YOUR DAMN BRAIN.

Complacency and apathy are my biggest enemies. Ironically, when I use the word enemy, I don’t even feel angry about it. I almost wanted to say “disinterests” or “turn offs”, like my mind couldn’t even muster up the right emotions to feel.

I just don’t understand it and in many ways, I wish I knew how to blend in more. Flowers for Algernon sits heavily in my heart. I wish I understood how to conform and stop caring like everybody else. Is it so wrong to want to actually learn something? I understand that I will forever be looking at my classes from the lens of theoretical “life lessons” to take home at the end of the semester but really… I just want to learn something academic for a change. I want to be challenged. I wish I’d gone to a different school. I want something better.

What I should’ve done first

It’s hard for me to be specific about this post. But let’s just say, I met someone when I was with my ex. I told him I was unavailable (and it killed me to do it considering he is clearly the better man) once things got more serious between me and my ex boyfriend and for the most part, he respected that. Since I’m recently single, circumstances are different. I am a lot of things but I am NOT a cheater. I think cheaters are fucking cowards who can’t get their shit straight, operating purely on fear and lack of character. 

I think the question I forgot to ask myself lately was “does he deserve me”? You know I’ve been putting so much stock into his merits/feelings and I think I neglected to appreciate my own for a second. Let me just be clear, I am awesome. A lot of people say they’re “rare breeds” but really, I mean it when I say I am a rare person. In addition to that, I have many desirable qualities and abilities and I know that I am like a fire that can’t be put out, I always burn hot. I mean that as a metaphor for success, not one for temper (although sometimes that also burns hot). I am kind, compassionate, creative, patient, loving, forgiving, etc. Seriously, the list of my positive qualities runs long. But there’s more to it than that because everything I do, I do with my entire being. I mean there are definitely exceptions like when it comes to my Children’s Art course I’m in right now where I’m just plain bored. In the area of relationships, I’m a badass partner. I have my faults sure but I am worth it.

I have dreams of a career, I have dreams of a life. I never want to feel like I will look back one day and think “should I have done more?”. I excel. A lot of my friends used to pick on me for staying in California… but seriously how could I leave my sister to do it all alone? I am loyal to a fault. When it comes to blood, I will never ever leave her behind. I say that with gritted teeth and a crap ton of conviction (pun intended).

What I feel right now is a lot of mixed emotions. I talked to my psychic about my feelings and what I’m meant to learn at this point and she said maybe it was about working through my fear. I agree with her. I needed to work past my fear of abandonment so that I could finally focus on my self worth. Who I am now, who I want to be, and how I need to act in order to make those things happen. When I met him, my world opened up. It was like this hallway I’ve never seen before suddenly lit up and there were endless doors I could pick from. Of course, my brain immediately tried to run down the hallway. I really need to stop doing that. My last relationship taught me a lot but mostly, it taught me caution. It was only during the break up that I saw how my ex actually saw me in the world, in relation to himself. After a year of undying patience and commitment, it was just shocking to hear the words out of his mouth. To see his perspective was just… I will never forget it. I mean, I always knew he was clueless but that? That was beyond offense.

But I also forgive myself for it and I know that I really did do everything I could to make it work. I showed him so many interpersonal skills. He took a crash course in dating and I don’t really know who else in the world would have had the patience required to teach him that stuff. I burned out after a year of it when most people would’ve left after the first week. I turned a fuckboy into a relationship person. Where he was once a 4 year old, he is now entering puberty. Lucky for him, he’s a man so he can take his sweet time growing up.

I think it’s not just because I’m a woman that I constantly revert to thinking “everything is my fault”. I think it’s still the stupid guilt and weird childhood stuff from my mom that brings me to that place. So when I took stock of my life recently, and the people in it that brought me to this headspace, it took me much longer than it should have to recognize I am worth more than the treatment I am currently receiving. I don’t know what to do about it either, because there’s really nothing I can do except wait or leave and I really don’t want to give up. 

I’ve played the waiting game for the last 13 years and one thing I have learned over the course of that time is that they always come back. I still get texts years later from people who want to start things up with me because they weren’t ready the first time around. It’s always sort of satisfying to see this happen time and time again.

The annoying part is, I didn’t start this. He was the one jumping in with both feet, unafraid of the dark water. I was direct and honest always. I was fun and flirty and I asked for nothing and he gave me endless time and effort. Finally, I turn around and I think I’m sort of ready to start something and he walks away. Maybe for reasons I will never discover but knowing my luck, I hope that isn’t the case.