I’m writing again. I think things are on the up and up. This means… something, I guess? I’m not sure what, exactly, but I’ll take this opportunity to share my experiences of the past month while I feel like it.
As I write this, my sister and Bandit are sleeping on the couch in the living room. Bandit is my sister’s doggie. She’s 8 months old. Bandit, that is. My sister is a few years older than that. Like 26. They’ve been there for the past month like that, every night, sleeping on the couch. In a few days, they’ll be there no longer and my sister and Bandit will move into their newfound mid-town apartment. I haven’t had a dog or been so close to one for 20 years but my love for doggies has never faded. I love them with the kind of burst-at-the-seams love that I can probably only have for dogs and maybe my own baby, if I ever have one someday.
This last month has almost been like having 2 children. Except one is grown so I don’t really have to concern myself as much. But Bandit… it’s been quite a ride for us. Having a doggie is very similar to having a child. On my off days, when my sister isn’t home, I schedule my day around Bandit’s walks and naps. I can barely get anything done when she’s up and about. She’s chewed up my plants, left bite marks on corners of furniture, tries to grab a shoe every chance she gets. She leaves her chew toys everywhere and demands playtime most of her waking hours. Also, due to poor timing and also confusion (she’s moved several times in the last few months, that poor thing), she’s pee’ed several times around my apartment.
Bandit was potty trained pretty well soon after my sister adopted her from the shelter. But when my sister’s living transitions happened too quickly, Bandit started to get a bit confused and I noticed she was pee’ing in my apartment sometimes during the night. One day, she did it right in front of me and I got so upset that I yelled at her. My entire disposition changed towards her and she knew it. She became very sad with her tail down and she curled up into a ball and fell asleep on my rug near me. I went to do some work while she slept and I glanced over at her and just started to cry because I felt so bad that I got so angry! She’s a dog and she hasn’t settled into a potty schedule here. I asked her for her forgiveness.
Bandit also has major separation anxiety so every time we leave her alone in the apartment, she starts to cry. I can’t bear hearing it — it makes me so, so sad! For awhile, I was really stressed and also anxious that she was so sad about being alone for an entire workday. Letting her “cry it out” is excruciatingly painful for me. I just wanna run back and bring her with me!
I imagine parenting to be something like this. I’m going to be a wreck, aren’t I.
Bandit and I have gotten much better in the past month. Things get easier with time and routine. But they’re leaving in a couple of days and I’m pretty bummed about it. I’m going to miss them. Besides living up to her name on occasion, Bandit is a very sweet dog with lots of personality. She’ll curl up and nap with me when she’s tired and sees that I am, too. When I am sad or upset about something, she senses it and comes over to console me. She’s also very playful and has lots of energy, and loves it when people interact with her during playtime.
A part of me is also relieved that they’re moving out, cuz I get my apartment back. I don’t have to vacuum every day, or have to worry about my food being stolen when I turn my back; I can leave my doors open and not have to worry about Bandit chewing up my plants and shoes and stuff.
To be really honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve used Bandit as an excuse for my lethargy. The truth of the matter is, it’s easier to shift my focus on a doggie than have to pay attention to my heart or what’s really going on in my inner life. It’s been a downer of a few months for me and I welcomed the distraction. I let life go along its way, one drudging step at a time, and I didn’t really care for it much one way or another as long as I was able to get out of bed and get through the day. This is really no way to live.
I’m starting to understand how people let days, months, years pass by in this distracted way. It takes hard work and determination and sometimes just brute force to listen to and care for our inner selves – the parts that make up the core of who we are. Who really wants to deal with the brokenness, darkness, sadness, anguish and disappointment that lie deep inside? I’d rather just take care of a doggie. I’m pretty convinced that the way of distraction is a road frequently traveled by many.
My admitted distraction will be gone soon and I’ll be left to an empty apartment.
I guess it’s time to face the music. Or make some music.