I am not a mess

It has not been an easy year. Really it hasn’t been an easy 7 years, but let’s focus on this past year, for the sake of time. March 2016-March 2017.

I broke up with a man I thought I was going to marry. Not because he was cruel or because we fought, but because we had both changed. I hurt him and, in turn, he hurt me. And it was awful.

And while I was hurting and confused I had two men, people I had known for years, who I thought I knew and who knew me and everything I was going through tell me that they cared about me and wanted me. And who were just using me. One to pass the time, even though he was engaged (which he neglected to tell me), the other to make his ex-girlfriend jealous.

And while this was going on I was falling apart. I was a mess. While the heartbreak didn’t help, I started falling apart long before that and I kept falling after. I was on medication for the depression, but it wasn’t helping anymore. The panic attacks were back in full force. I stayed in bed all day and didn’t care what I was missing. I didn’t want to do any of it anymore. I kept a bottle of Norco under my pillow because I couldn’t fall asleep without knowing I had the option to not wake up again. So I got help. I didn’t want to, it felt hopeless and stupid, but I did and I’m still proud of that. I went to a crisis group. I upped my meds. And I got better.

I got better just in time for my family to make a drastic change. One that wasn’t completely unexpected, but I would be lying if I said it was easy or that it didn’t upset me at all.

During this change, I moved across the country. I left my friends, my family and my home behind. I was alone and without the support system I had spent years creating. And it was exciting and terrifying. Which brings us to now. I am in my first year of my Ph.D. program. I have two dogs. I’m sick all the time and it’s pissing me off. I miss my family and the girls I’ve been friends with for the last 12 years. My family dog is dying and I don’t know if I will get to see him again. I miss the ocean and the sun. I love my job and I don’t regret any of my decisions, but it would be an exaggeration to say I like Michigan.

To say the least, there have been a lot of changes this past year. It went by faster than I thought possible. And things are still hard. I still freak out sometimes. I say the wrong things. But, despite the fact that I jokingly declare it weekly, I am not a mess. I put myself back together and I learned a lot in the process. About what I want and who I am. I feel like myself for the first time in years. And it’s good.

So, no matter what the people I’ve met along the way may think, that I’m crazy or unstable, I’m not. I just had a long year. And I think I’m finally ready for the next one.

Alternative Uses for Dogs

Ok, maybe not all dogs. Probably not good dogs, for example. Or small dogs. My dogs fall into neither of those categories, being large fluffy monsters from Hell. So here are some things my dogs can teach you that you might not expect:

1. The Ability to Overcome Physical Pain

Are you a fighter? Do you need to learn how to take punches and dull your body’s natural and healthy response to pain? Well, do I have a plan for you. You see, my dogs love you. They don’t know you, but they love you. How will their love help condition you to pain? As we all know, love is pain, but it’s rarely physical pain. Unless you’re loved by my dogs. Because my dogs love you, they want you to feel included when they play. The problem with this well-meaning gesture is that my dogs don’t know what pain is. Elena has at least an inch of dense undercoat and another inch of fluffy, shock absorbing overcoat. And Azlan is, of course, a sentient ball of fluff that has no physical body in the first place. They do not understand that you don’t have this armor/fur and they will not hold back with you anymore than they do with each other, which is not at all. If you manage to survive a few weeks of wrestling with my dogs, I promise you will raise your pain tolerance to unsafe levels.

2.  Defense Maneuvers

This could also be learned while attempting to minimize your injuries during wrestling, but if you want to improve your reaction time to an attack, the best way is to eat your meals on the floor with my dogs.  The floor is the dogs domain, if you are on the floor with your food, both you and your food are their property. They also only have respect for me (mom) and while that is a tiny amount of respect, it keeps them from actually stealing food out of my hands. They do not have this respect for you. To keep my dogs from stealing any of your food, you have to develop your reflexes because they are very sneaky and very fast. In challenge mode, I will take away your entire meal if they get any of it, which will use hunger to encourage you to improve. By the end of the training, you’re reaction time will be cut in half or you will have died of hunger.

3. Appreciation for Alone Time

As stated before, my dogs LOVE you. And they love you so much they will never leave you alone. Never. They will be with you when you eat, when you sleep, and when you shit. They will even stick their head around the curtain while you’re showering and watch you. Because you are never allowed to leave them. EVER. If you shut the door, they will cry and beat at it and not listen when you tell them to stop, because, again, they also do not respect you. When you begin to lock yourself in your freezing car while it’s snowing to be alone for one solitary minute, you’ll have learned your lesson. I have heard this lesson can also be learned when raising human children.

4. Deathlike slumber

Are you a light sleeper? Does the smallest noise or movement end your dreams? Fear not, we have the answer: Dogs. If you can sleep through my dogs attempting to wake you up in the morning, you will be able to sleep through the apocalypse. Here’s the plan:

You alter your schedule to you go to sleep at 4am.

7 am – I release the dogs into your room. Sensing that it is far past the time to go to the dog park, both will growl at you, increasing in volume as you continue to ignore them.

7:30 am – They are now standing on top of you as they growl.

8 am – Azlan is attempting to dig you out from under the covers. Elena is sitting by the door, silently threatening to shit  on the carpet because she does not respect you and WILL be going outside. And she’s willing to use biological warfare to get what she wants.

8:30 am – Azlan is now rolling around on top of you. I don’t know what it is meant to accomplish, and I don’t think he does either. But fuck if it doesn’t wake you up. Elena has shit on your carpet and you begin to choke on the fumes.

9 am – Azlan is literally just sitting on your face. Elena, upset that you have ignore her attempts to anger you, is now looking for ways to destroy everything you love.

At this point, if you have managed to stay in bed and in a state where going back to sleep is actually possible, I will come in and take the monsters away. Slowly, you will be woken up less and less by their antics and soon be able to sleep like the dead.

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The devils

I would like to end this post by again stating how much I love my dogs. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But this is a warning post for anyone thinking about getting a dog. It ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.