to everything, an unavoidable and frustrating challenge

a few months ago, jenn and i decided to get a second dog to keep our first dog, stella, company. we decided we wanted a dog of a similar age, size, and temperament so that they would be more likely to get along well and play together when they are at home in the yard. we searched a lot and found a dog named laika that seemed like a good fit. we brought stella to meet laika and they got along great. we had a second meeting that also went well, so we took laika home.

then everything went to shit.

laika had never been walked off-leash so we had some significant challenges training her on that. then we found she was not socialized enough with groups of dogs and became aggressive in those situations. then we found that stella is actually very possessive of her home and she wound up attacking laika many times. then laika attacked one of our chickens. then, only two weeks after we got her, laika ruptured her ACL.

so here we are, 6 weeks into her recovery from the knee injury. it seems to be going well so far. the other issues have mostly been sorted out too — laika is now better about off leash walks, meeting groups of dogs, and her and stella rarely get on each others nerves. so it’s been a real pain in the ass but it’s getting better and will eventually be fine.

however, i can’t help but wonder sometimes how much easier things would have been if we picked one of the other dogs we had looked at. it’s so easy to think the grass looks greener on the other side. so i’m trying to remind myself when i do that, that stella would have been just as much of a bitch to any other dog, and if the other dog was not as easygoing as laika, we could have ended up with them actually hurting each other during their scraps instead of just posturing. that would have been really bad. or if we got a puppy, which maybe stella would have been less pushy and dominant with, we’d then be dealing with all the other bullshit that goes along with puppies: house training them, teaching them not to chew everything, starting all their basic obedience from scratch. that would be a huge and frustrating commitment too.

so i use this to remind myself that even though i’m annoyed with how things have gone with laika so far, it wouldn’t have necessarily been any better with any other dog. it may have been slightly better or worse, but it would most likely have been a comparably challenging experience. and i think that view applies to most things in life. everything presents its own unique challenges so it’s impossible to say — even with hindsight — that choosing one house, or partner, or career, or anything else, over any other options would have been any better. as long as i make careful decisions based on the best information i have available at the time, i can’t beat myself up over those decision when things don’t go perfectly. because that’s just life.

look at me, being so zen and buddha-like. how pretentious.

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i don’t need any god damn advice

i’m just a goth girl at heart.

i realized a number of years ago that i don’t like getting advice from anyone. i noticed this over a few times when i was dealing with some kind of bullshit in my life, trying to figure out the best way to handle it. each time, i was aware of my different options or whatever and the various consequences, and was having a hard time deciding which would be best for me. i talked to a few of my closest friends about what was going on, and no one really had any good advice. i got a lot of “shit, that sucks,” “i don’t know what i’d do if i were you,” and “i’d do this.” and none of those things were any help to me. i was still left with the same options and consequences.

the thing is, no one can make any decisions for you. when you’re dealing with shit, you have to deal with it. that’s all there is to it. it can be hard as hell but that’s what needs to happen for you to get through it. i used to think it felt good to talk to friends about stuff i was dealing with, just as some sort of release or catharsis, but now i don’t even believe that. i consistently found that whenever i talked to friends about heavy shit, i wound up hoping they might illuminate some sort of new understanding or way of looking at my situation, and that rarely happened. so all those times, i just wound up spending 2 hrs rehashing the same shit i had been mulling over in my mind for the last week, except this time i did it out loud, which was even more annoying. and i was no further ahead by the end of it.

so now, i usually like to just keep my drama to myself. i bottle it up inside until i’m under an immense amount of pressure. then i react violently and unexpectedly to the slightest unrelated thing, like when someone bumps my ankle with a shopping cart at the store and i throw my basket down in a rage, spilling oranges all over the floor, and scream “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, DO YOU HAVE NO FUCKING AWARENESS OF ANYONE ELSE AROUND YOU, YOU STUPID SELFISH CUNT? I HAVE A GUN IN MY CAR, DO YOU WANT TO SEE ME USE IT?” just kidding. i actually keep a lot of my shit to myself because i have learned to be confident in my abilities to work through my personal problems. i just need enough time and rational thought to achieve it. and i feel good about that.

i HATE it when people bump my ankles.

this isn’t to say that i don’t need friends to lean on. i absolutely do. sometimes there is some unknown aspect to a problem i’m working through, something i can’t put my finger on, and sometimes a friend can see what that thing is or lead me to figure it out myself, like dana did when i was depressed by babymetal last year.

something kind of funny related to my babymetal depression is that after dana helped me figure out why i was depressed, i told ben about the whole thing. but before i could even finish what i was saying and get to the punchline, ben said, “so you felt like you were able to remember and appreciate what that youthful joy felt like but you were no longer able to experience it firsthand anymore because you are so weighed down by adult concerns.” it was absolutely incredible. ben’s intuition and understanding of me was stunning, like that of a high paid psychotherapist. that was one case where i could have gone to a friend for advice and been fixed right up but it was a real one-off. you can’t expect that kind of magic from people, ever.

no, the only way to reliably get through the shit that life hands you is to give yourself lots of time to process it and decide how you can come to grips with it. at least that’s what works for me. you do whatever the hell you want. i don’t care.