The Things I learned From My Labrador

I took a long look at humanity the other day… And decided that I would rather be a Labrador. Because I look at the news and it just scares me, and I look at my best friend in all the world (who happens to be a chocolate Labrador) and his species just seems to be doing things a lot better than ours. Wouldn’t it be great if people could offer each other unconditional acceptance? Or if we all made the people around us feel wanted and needed, no matter what they have to offer to the world? Or if we were so loyal that we could always be depended upon? It would be really great if I could detect my own medical symptoms (that isn’t why my parents got a dog, he just learned to do it because he is a four legged genius)

I’m writing this post because today I’m not in a people mood (my dog seems to know this, and hasn’t left my side). We all have those days where we just want the rest of the world to go away, where we don’t know how to deal with other people and their inconsequential problems, or their ability to do all of the things that we can’t. Sometimes we feel like there is a wall between us and everyone else, and all we want is one person to figure out a way to clamber over it and rescue us. People don’t see the wall, because to them it isn’t there. People do not feel the distance between themselves and you because they never really stop to look for it (and why would they stop to look for a thing that they don’t even realise is there?) We’re very private about the way we feel, and yet we are hurt when the people around us don’t detect our internal struggles, (again, how on earth could they?). See how illogical human beings are? My dog climbed over the wall. He just knew that it was there (ok enough about the dog right? He’s awesome, he’s there for me when nobody else is, he makes me feel understood even though we don’t speak the same language… I’ve made my point.) 

Today is the start of the week long sailing regatta that I usually take part in every year. Everybody camps by the river, and it is the best week of my year, every year. Sailing is something I’m good at without really having to try, and I love that. I love the adrenaline rush and the salty spray on my skin and the sun on my face and that feeling when you win a race. But I can’t sail any more. I can’t even really walk that far so that’s probably quite an obvious fact, yet the emotions associated with the realisation of this have only just crept up on me. I was messaging my friend from sailing last night. I knew I was going to miss everyone. I knew that the first few days would be difficult. And I wanted to be missed back.

Now this sounds selfish, or warped, or whatever. But we all want to be missed when we aren’t at a place. We all want to be missed because it makes us feel like we still have a place wherever it is that we aren’t. Being missed makes us feel needed, and wanted. And it is human nature to crave both of these things. Everything has to have a purpose. Especially our own existence. We can’t handle the fact that it might not.

Apparently it is a relief that I’m not going. People are actually relieved. (Last year my heart gave up on me while I was sailing and I ended up unconscious in the water, and an amazing person got a trophy for saving my life… so I can see why people wouldn’t want me there. But I hoped, that like me, people might be a little bummed out by the fact that I’m not.) I’d tell you that hurt, but that would be an understatement. It made me feel like nobody. Like less than nobody. Like I no longer fit in the place that saved my soul.

A couple of weeks ago my mum got me a little string bracelet with a metal anchor tied to it. On the anchor was the word ‘hope’. A few days after having the bracelet I found myself in a pretty bad place emotionally, and when I looked down at the bracelet, the anchor had fallen off. I had literally and metaphorically lost hope. And I did the same again last night. I started getting drunk messages from people who haven’t spoken to me for months. (People don’t know how to deal with you when you are physically broken, and they get even more freaked out when you fall apart emotionally, even though you’ve been there for them). And all together, in that moment, I missed being me. I missed being wanted. Because I’m human.

Initially I hated myself for feeling that way. I was angry and I had nowhere to direct that anger, so I directed it at myself. But I only felt this way for a few moments. Maybe before this blog and before I realised a lot of things, I would have sat and stewed in these feelings like I was in an emotional slow cooker. But instead, I picked up a book (Holly Bourne’s books are quite possibly some of the most awesome YA books ever written), and I read until the early hours of the morning.

Today I realised that there are no Jenna Marbles or Julien Solomita videos left on YouTube that I haven’t already watched. I moved on to watching TED talks, because I figured my brain needed feeding, and that intelligent talks were the way in which to satisfy its intellectual cravings. When my friend sent me a picture of the pre-race briefing for today’s sailing, with the caption “you’re basically here with us!” I was sad not to be there, but appreciative at the attempt to include me. And here’s where we get to the point that I had no idea I was trying to make until just now,

Step 8 to getting out of a rut in life:

People are going to say ‘the wrong thing’ because there is no right thing to say. People are oblivious to your inner thoughts unless you voice them, and so they can’t really be blamed for occasionally making you feel worse. Sometimes your brain is going to take the tiniest word somebody says and stamp it in big bold letters over every single thought. We are obsessed with being brave, with being strong, with heroes and heroines. We forget to tell each other this – it’s ok not to be ok. You are allowed to fall apart sometimes. But only for a little bit. Because the thing about messes is that they can be cleaned up. People can undo the damage that they unintentionally caused (and probably don’t even know that they have created). As much as it is important to give yourself a chance, it is also important to give the people around you a chance (even when you just want to push them all away.)

… Or just get a dog. Maybe a rescue dog, and then you’re rescuing each other… Unless you’re scared of dogs… (Oh wow, I’m just going to stop now…)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and bake some oat cookies. Because I just feel like they are necessary. (And also because I’ve slept away most of my day and I feel like I should go do something with it.) Plus, this post is rapidly deteriorating so I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.

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