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abandoned

1. “I don’t like you like that.”

I’m sure we’ve all had the pleasure of this conversation. At least, I hope we have – as I cling to the belief that I’m not the only one eternally falling for the people who just couldn’t care less. And the worst part of the whole thing is how truly amazing the person you’re keen on makes you sound. Well, thank you for telling me how beautiful, smart and funny you think I am, and oh, did you just say that anyone would be lucky to have me? Well, gee, I wasn’t hoping for anyone. I was sort of hoping for you. And excuse me if I ignore every compliment you pay me because no, you aren’t making me feel any better. Rather, do me a favour, and unless you want me, have the decency to move to Bosnia, and out of my life.

2. “I just want to be friends… who have sex.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but sex is meant to be good, and exciting, and full of the expression of feelings and thoughts for which we can’t find words. Oh… I’m wrong? Well, no one told me that. Not until after I’d willfully given myself over to you in excitement and anticipation of what the future could hold for us – an excitement that ended when you rolled over, high-fived me and then called me dude. Well, I guess that just makes you an asshole. And me angry. If you were a decent human being, you’d go and masturbate or hire a prostitute instead of attempting to turn me into your very own walking, talking, breathing and moving blow-up doll. And asking if we can still have sex without any emotions, just makes it worse. If you’re going to treat me like a whore, at least pay up afterwards so that I can finally afford those killer heels with which I plan to kick you in your manhood, before – sexily – strutting out of your life. For good.

3. “Let’s just keep this between us.”

Well, as if things weren’t bad enough, you’ve now sworn me to secrecy. I am officially your dirty little secret. And, whilst this may come as a surprise, that does absolutely nothing for my self esteem. Due to a lifetime of abusive relationships with abusive men, my first reaction is to wonder why I’m not good enough to be proudly paraded around the room? I mean, I’m sure I’m not entirely unattractive. And some have even gone so far to once or twice inform me that I’m a catch. Well, where’d you miss this fact? Did you not get the memo? No worries. Allow me to inform you on all that you’ve missed. You are a jerk. I deserve better. But I’ll still pine after you in silence, hoping one day that you’ll feel the same way that I do, and want to shout it out from the rooftops! Oh and yes, I’m a hopeless romantic whose heart you will break. But don’t worry. It can be our little secret.

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I foster puppies. It’s the same concept as fostering a child, in some ways. The abandoned or abused pups are found, and treated with deworming pills and other things, if need be. We’re then given a call to come and collect them and give them a home for a while. The whole things revolves around ensuring the puppies aren’t sick in any way, before they’re (hopefully) adopted to their new homes, where they’ll be given lives of happiness and love. I am currently fostering two gorgeous little puppies, one of which is 4 weeks and one of which is 6. I’m always delighted and amused by the very strong personalities that accompany each new pup I foster, and it’s no less amusing with these two. Spending all of my days with them, I’ve begun to pick up on a few invaluable trinkets of wisdom from them. I know it may seem surprising, but I feel we’re always able to learn from the various experiences we have, and the people (and animals) that cross our paths. And learning from two creatures that have been on this earth for so short a time, well, let me tell you that it’s humbling, and wonderful. I’ll try to express some of these lessons here.

The most obvious lesson these pups have taught me is that sometimes it’s okay to bark. I mean, not when you’re sharing your food. Barking or growling then is rude, and it just makes others around you not want to be there. But if you’re asleep and your friend bites you on the bum, or you’re playing and they sit on your head, then it’s okay. I know you’re probably not seeing the lesson in this right away, but bear with me. Puppies know what they want. They know when they’re hungry, they know when they want to play and with what, and they know when to bark and say “stop”! In this sense, they know where their own boundaries lie. And we ought to, too. We ought never let anyone push us into a situation or even a space in which we’re not comfortable. But since we’re the only ones who can hold ourselves accountable, and know where these boundaries lie, we need not feel too shy or embarrassed to speak up. Be honest, be loud, be heard.

Play is vital to a happy puppy – and, I feel, to a happy human, too. I admire most the fact that puppies have no sense of past or future. They’re entirely devoted to the now. One minute they’re enthralled with the crunchy leaf outside, and the next the squeaky chew toy has won their attention, and the attention each thing is given is whole and devoted. Now, I’m not saying we need to jump from one thing to another, one person to another, in a minute by minute flurry of activity, but I am saying we need to live in the now. The past has happened, and whilst we need to know where we came from to know where we’re going to, we can’t live in it forever. We need to make peace with it, be thankful for the experiences we’ve had – both good and bad – and then resolve to live. We also can’t exist with a fear of the future. We don’t know what’s coming, we never will. We can hope, wish and pray all we like, but there aren’t any crystal balls or palm lines that’ll let you in on what life has in store. So don’t let fear cripple you. If you spend all of your time worrying and waiting for what might/could/can’t happen, that’s all you end up doing – spend all your time worrying. Rather hope for the best, give life your all, and grab at every opportunity you’re given with both hands. A life half lived is no life for anyone, or anything.

Love. And love a lot. I fetched these puppies from the Haven late Thursday afternoon, and that night they were asleep in my arms. Every morning when I come down, I am greeted by whimpers and wagging tails, licks and nibbles that make me smile. I marvel at how these puppies, abandoned and possibly abused, can love to easily and so honestly. They will love anyone, as long as they’re given the chance to. If you treat them kindly and look after them, make them feel safe, they’re yours for life. I don’t really know if any other animal can love as unconditionally as a puppy. And I’m inspired. We spend our time rationalizing our issues, and finding complications, and reasons not to pursue a loved one or fall in love at all, yet I can’t seem to understand why… With all the horrors of the world, the deaths at the hands of man and at the events of natural disasters; with all the pain and suffering we encounter, why would we so quickly and easily turn down an opportunity to love? A friend, a family member, a lover… All of these people, in our lives, deserve the very best love we have to give them. I know things happen, relationships end and people fall apart, but when you know that the person standing in front of you is someone you could love, and when you know that they are standing there hoping you’ll let them love you, well, I don’t see how any amount of justification can excuse turning it all down. Like the puppies you need to jump in, all paws forward, and just trust it’ll all be okay.

There seem to be all manner of lessons one can learn just by interacting with a puppy, and I’m enjoying finding out just what these lessons can mean for me. At the end of the day, maybe they have it as simple as it needs to be. Eat when you’re hungry, bark when you have something to say, play whenever you get the chance, sleep when you’re tired, and never ever forget to love anyone whose willing to let you.