Saturday, June 6, 2015

Alone with the Dogs

I'm sitting here drinking coffee answering some messages, and I suddenly realize that I am alone. Well, as alone as one can be with four dogs in the background, playing and barking and hitting my chair as they chase each other around the couch. I don't get much alone time anymore, and that's been really tough. I need that time to regain my peace, my inner strength, my calm in the chaos that is life. And when I don't get it, I find myself bursting into tears over the most insignificant things--a random commercial, the end credit song of a movie, the news, a red light. I need my alone time to cry things out, so I can recoup and feel refreshed and strong enough to keep fighting through all the daily things that I think I can't fight against. So I'm here, now, alone with the dogs, without my ears in, and I feel calm. 

May is a hard month for me, but this one had added pressures. Having lost my job the end of April, that had me bummed, yet relieved at the same time. I wasn't bummed about not working there anymore, because let's face it, that place was a sinking ship and I was lucky to get a seat on the life boat. The panic was not having money coming in. May also signifies the anniversary of my beloved Mom's passing, and that marks the whole month with a black armband. Mother's Day is a day of mourning, since we actually lost her on Mother's Day 2011. Also, I lost my beloved Mother-in-Law in May as well. Two very strong, very compassionate, very family oriented women gone in the same month, different years. How do you just bounce back from that? You feel the dread creeping in when April showers are still giving birth to May flowers, and it sticks with you for 31 days, lingering slightly the first week of June until you finally start to come out of it. You have to. You gotta keep moving, if not for yourself, then for everyone who depends on you to be strong, smiling, giving, caring. You have to do it for them, even if you just feel like you're going through the motions. Eventually it sticks and you feel the sluggish motor turning over, the cogs and belts moving and pulling you through the days until you're running again, like a new motor built from reconditioned parts. Almost fresh, almost new. Almost.

May also signified the end of my beautiful daughter's three year journey through grad school. A celebration in the middle of black armband month. Swap that black for a rainbow for at least a day. Shake off the dark clouds and mourning for sunshine and cheers. I wanted to cry over everything, from the speakers I didn't even know, to the family who accepted their deceased child's diploma, to someone who was having trouble finding a seat. (That's the lack of alone time coming into play. I guess I could cry with people around, I am mostly human after all. But then you have concerned family asking what's wrong, then they want to hug you, and all of that caring makes you want to cry more, it becomes an endless cycle and you just don't want to go there. It's like being stupid enough to think you can watch the movie The Family Stone without bursting into sobs, especially now, especially in May, especially after what happened in May.) But I was proud to see my beautiful daughter get her MFA, after three years of hard work in Chicago. We had a nice visit with her there, and I decided I rather like Chicago. The walking, the trains, the taxi cabs, Uber, Montrose Beach, the people, the laid back hustle and bustle that is almost constant. I will ignore the two separate shootings that occurred in the very neighborhood we were in at the time; in fact, we saw the cops while we were walking back from getting ice cream. But I guess nowadays that can happen anywhere, at any time, for any reason. She's going to stay in Chicago for possibly a year, a choice I support because it's hard to go back home after being on your own for so long, and with no license or car the public transport is perfect for her. I look forward to visiting her again, perhaps during a different month next time. It was a nice distraction from all that was wrong in Georgia. I read, I walked, I became a Netflix binge-watcher. I got to see my girl...and yes, I missed the hell out of my dogs. 

Cut to June 1, my 30th wedding anniversary, when I had a working interview at an office. When you're not working, the days tend to bleed together and when I told them I could do a working interview from 8-1 on Monday I didn't even realize it was my anniversary. I was offered the job before 1 pm. I still left at 1 to celebrate with the man I married. This office should understand, because they are big on family. So June came, the black armband came off, and the sun shone. Yes, it's stressful starting at a new office. It's hard when you're a dental assistant, because every time you go to a new office, you have to adjust to not only new instruments and products, but new ways to do things and new philosophies as well. You have to really let go of "At my old office we..." and just know, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Once you get past that, it's the same repetition, different office. And you can't beat three days a week--in a dental office that is fanfuckingtastic! Most are a minimum of four days, but some stretch to six days a week, and I'm even seeing quite a few going to 10-12 hr days. So three eight hour days a week, and the rest of the time is mine. Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming...

I am, however, not complete. I am not content. I am still restless, still feeling like I'm living someone else's life, like I'm not where I need to be. I'm not. This isn't where my life is supposed to be. I'm supposed to work with animals. Dogs, cats even, and I even dream of working on a farm sanctuary with goats, and cows and sheep and chickens and roosters and horses and any other animal that needs refuge. The world is an ugly place to animals, and I know I'm supposed to do my part to make it better for them. Confucius say "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." Well I WANT that! That is my destiny. Maybe I'll write about it, too, even better. But I want to be surrounded by the peace and love of animals. And I won't feel like I belong in this world until I am. Even now, as I sit here alone, I am surrounded by four dogs who love me and are happy to have me in their lives, as happy as I am to have them in mine. It's what I live for. Don't get me wrong--I love my husband and my sons and my daughter, and my dad and brothers and sister and everyone else I miss terribly in Ohio and Virginia. They are my world, my support, my pride and joy. But animals are my calling. And because they love me, my humans understand that and support it. 

Family is important to me as well. But some of my family members wear fur. And I'll never truly be alone.

 “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Maya Angelou

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