Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Last Year in My Twenties


   That tattoo was my birthday present to myself this year. The Velveteen Rabbit has always been one of my favorite books; mostly just due to the raw emotion portrayed in the story. I remember being a child and feeling the sadness and the worry the little rabbit felt on the dump heap. It always made me cry. But the older I got, it wasn't the discarded rabbit that brought on the tears, it was this passage: 


   I'm still not even sure I can put into words why that passage is so powerful. I suspect it's slightly different for each person who reads that. It's particularly applicable to motherhood, but that's not where I usually go with it. I think, in a lot of ways, I was "people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept."

    Look, I don't really know what the point of life is. I don't know what the point of my life is. I have no clear sense of direction- no calling, no vocational predilections, no sense of purpose that I could readily identify. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. And that can be hard- especially because I'm a high anxiety, Type A kind of gal. 

   I think in someways, to compensate for all the above, I just wanted to be there. To arrive. To be finished. To have all my goddamn ducks in a row. And I wanted (or thought that it had to be?) neat and pretty. Clean and linear and tidy. I thought my purpose in life (or the best way to deal with a lack there of), was to get my life in order with as little mess as possible, and keep it carefully and neatly arranged. Then my anxiety would be gone and the reverberant feeling that there was something there in the ether I needed to accomplish would dissipate. 

   But it didn't. If anything, it felt worse. It felt like I had squandered whatever chance there had been at the thing that I was supposed to do, but didn't know about yet. And then, despite all my effort to be neat and tidy, life kept happening. And I got dinged and scratched. And at some point, there were enough dings and scratches that I said screw it, and stopped being so careful. I started to give up being carefully kept. 

   And this feeling is still evolving. I'm still oh so terrified to make mistakes. But regardless, I keep making them, because I'm human, and with each once I can feel the seams getting a little looser. And that's okay. Because what I realized was so wrong with my perspective, with my furious scramble for whatever I thought I was accomplishing, is that it was always going to be a dead end street. It was entirely ends focused; goal oriented. You chose your path in the woods, you get to the end, and then what? 

   The Skin Horse said "You become." It's a process; not a result. Real isn't something that has a before and after. It creeps in through the cracks overtime. It is the Becoming that makes you Real. It's the bruises and the tears and the heartache and the scars. I used to think it looked ugly. I didn't understand. 

    I don't know what my goal is. I don't know what my calling is. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the time between now and death. But when you get to be Real, you don't have to worry about it quite so much. You get to enjoy Becoming. 

   I don't really like to make resolutions. New Years isn't my thing, and I've never really waxed sentimental over birthdays. But as I close out this decade, I want to remind myself to try a little harder to not try so hard. I want to do things even if I'm bad at them. I want to try things and fail. And I want to be okay existing without purpose for a bit. Because I'm starting to think the purpose is existing. 

I become.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Adding to Our Family

     I realize I'm averaging two posts a year now, but the three jobs and a Perrin thing is kind of a time suck. I have lots of things I've wanted to put out there, but we have recent big news. We're getting a dog!

    For those of you who don't know the back story, our dog Fender passed away a few months ago. I had had him since he was 11 weeks old. I raised him, trained him, and he was the best dog imaginable. He moved around with me countless times. We had tons of adventures at the Shelby Farms dog park. He loved playing with possums and chasing deer. He was the sweetest 150 lbs. you could ask for. During my labor, he was by my side the entire time. He walked the neighborhood with me and slept next to the birth tub and ate jellybeans out of the midwives' hands. Once Perrin got here, Fender became the ideal big brother. He guarded Perrin from the ever scary vacuum cleaner. He shook whenever Perrin cried. He snuggled with all of us in our bed. And even though he was generally a little too eager on the leash for Joey and I, he walked slow and gentle whenever Perrin was the one walking him. 

    He started having trouble using the bathroom, so we took him to the vet and they discovered that he had a huge mass blocking his GI tract and putting pressure on his hip. Surgery would be incredibly expensive and he, being an 8 year old giant breed, was unlikely to survive. We thought we were going in to the vet to get some dog laxative, and we ended up not getting to take our dog home. We were all so heartbroken. 

   Joey and I had always said that after Fender we would take a break from dogs for a while. Fender was expensive to board, racked up huge vet bills, and we weren't sure we wanted to tackle all of that again anytime soon. But after a few dogless months, we realized we really missed having a dog in our family. Fender was such a good dog; he really made us realize how much a dog added to our family. Perrin is about to be four and is old enough to really be interested in the idea of training and caring for a dog. (Not that we expect him to do much of it, but it's nice that he wants to be involved). So we decided to start testing the waters of dog adoption. We had no idea how complicated it would be. 
     For anyone who doesn't know, we feel very strongly about adopting animals from shelters and rescues. So we started with the local animal shelter, PACC. They have so many amazing dogs that need homes and are often at capacity. We did some searching online and narrowed down a list of about 10 dogs that seemed like they'd be a good fit age and breed wise. We went in and spent some time checking them out and playing with a couple. We found one awesome pit mix who snuggled right up into Joey's lap. We decided to take the day to discuss it. After coming to the conclusion that we thought she would be a good fit for our family, Joey went back to the shelter the next day. Unfortunately (for us anyway) she had been adopted as well as the other dogs we had looked at. We were glad they found homes, but a little bummed since she seemed like such a good fit for our family. We decided to get our house ready and get all the necessary dog supplies (we had donated all of Fender's stuff after he died) so that once we found "the one" we cold bring them home immediately if necessary. 
     A friend of mine who fosters through a local rescue generously offered one of her kennels to us. When I went to pick it up, she mentioned a litter of puppies that were in her rescue that were out for adoption day at a local pet store. I didn't think much of it because Joey had always shown preference for adult dogs, but after mentioning it to him we decided that one of the puppies might actually be right for us. So I raced over to the pet store, only to find out that the entire litter had already been adopted. Once again, we were happy for their forever homes, but a little sad that we had missed what seemed like another great opportunity. 
    A few other puppies and dogs were also at the pet store, so I chatted with the foster workers about them for a bit. One very young puppy was labeled as an American Bulldog mix, a breed I had always been interested in. I snapped some pictures of her and the other puppies and sent them to Joey and chatted a little bit longer. That night, Joey and I decided to fill out an adoption application for her. But over the next few days, after speaking with my friend from the foster group and our roommate who is a vet tech, we started to doubt if she was really the dog we were looking for. Being so young, it was hard to tell exactly what kind of mix she was or how big she would be. She was only 9 pounds at ten weeks, so there was a very real chance she could have some terrier or other small breed in her and may not even reach 30 pounds. While she still looked beautiful and seemed to have an excellent personality, we were looking for a slightly larger dog with a less ambiguous make up. 
    That led us to look more into one of the other puppies ta the foster- a lab/shepherd mix. She was 4 1/2 months, so here features were more developed and there was less of question about what her breeds may be. She was also already 30 lbs, and obviously wasn't getting any smaller, so we knew she would be a larger sized dog. I spoke with a woman from the rescue and after discussing it, we decided that this puppy would probably be the best fit for our family. So last Saturday we were able to go spend some time with her, sign the paperwork, and bring her home! 
    Joey and I decided to make it a sort of early birthday present for Perrin, so I came home with her and surprised him. He got to take her to Pet Smart to make her tag and pick out a few toys. We're excited for her to get acclimated to our home, cats, and chickens, and to begin the process of training and socializing. Joey has never had to train a dog, and we want Perrin to feel involved in the process, so we are going to sign up for formal classes. Her foster family had named her Quinn, but after going back and forth about a handful full of names, we decided to let Perrin name her. His pick was Icky! We decided on Iki, to make it a little less weird. So here she is, our Iki.