“Be Yourself, Everyone else is already taken”– Oscar Wilde
I have no idea if this quote is actually attributable to Oscar Wilde or not. That’s a little surprising because that is the type of thing I would usually fact check, but today I am in no mood for fact checking, apparently! Besides, I found this on the internet, and according to Abraham Lincoln, 80% of internet quotes are true, or something like that…
What I “am” in the mood for is avoiding. Avoiding chores, as it were, but my therapist would tell you that I am an expert “avoider”. I know how to avoid pretty much everything. I almost avoided going to the ER last week for 8 staples to put my head back together. I just avoided death by cancer. If something can be avoided, I am your go-to guy!
Today’s thing to avoid: grooming dogs. We’re not even talking bathing and drying, just combing, grinding nails, cleaning ears and trimming feet! The problem is, I have backed myself into a corner with my dogs, and now I am stuck seeing it through. It’s pretty much how everything in my life is. I dive right in to the deep end of the pool, and then I have to tread water until I can figure out how to get back out. I did it with the dogs, I have done it with every facet of my life for as long as I can remember. I totally devote myself towards one endeavor, and then the fire burns out and I just tread water until something else sparks my desire. It’s been a vicious cycle my whole life. Some I attribute to my late-diagnosed ADD, but some of it is because I have never learned how to really live. So, I have instead focused my life on trying my damndest to “be” someone because at the end of it all, I have no clue just “who” I am.
Oh, I know I am an almost forty-something white male that was raised in a deeply dysfunctional Southern family that got the hell out of Dodge just as soon as I possibly could, but that doesn’t really help me with “who” I am.
I do think “Former Monk” pretty much expresses the most about what I have become. Former. I am a whole lot of formers! This country is strewn with all of the things I have done, got decent at before I got bored, and then moved on. Being a monk is just one of those. I must say, though, that it is probably the one thing I was best at and it was the period of my life where, overall, I was happiest. Well, if not “happy” truly content.
You name it; I have done it, and done it better than most. (That statement alone explains the lack of long-time friends.) God has blessed me in many ways, but in humility I am sorely lacking. If you have ever met my father you understand that my lack of humility is a genetic condition. The therapist has tried to convince me that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism known for difficulty in social interaction, but I have assured him that A.S I do not have. JACKASS syndrome would fit me more appropriately!
You see, even though I have no clue “who” I am, or what I want to “be”, I can clearly see the faults of all those around me, and society, and the country, and everything. AND I have a solution for all your/ their problems if you/they would only listen! (that reminds me of a potholder my mother has/had: It’s hard to be humble when you’re this great!”) <<<told you it was a genetic condition! FTR: I think the potholder was my dad’s but mom got it in the divorce>>>
Besides the ADD, the one thing that hinders me the most in my life is this sense of righteous indignation that overcomes me on so many multiple perceived wrongs I see or hear about on a daily basis! I could be the white Al Sharpton! It consumes me! If an actual or perceived wrong happens to me, or to someone I know, or I hear about it on TV, or I see it on Facebook, my whole being is consumed with this fire to see the wrong righted and to “bring down” the evil doer! It’s a full-time job, I tell ya!
So, I think I have decided that I actively seek out those “indignities” BECAUSE of the fire that I am filled with in response. That passion makes me feel ALIVE, which is so much better than the general feeling of apathy that I walk through life with. My whole life lacks “passion” except when I first begin a new interest…
And the thing I have only recently realized is that all of my “new” interests only share one common strand: people. People, as in the ability to connect to. The ability to forge new relationships over a common interest.
Like my dogs… The truth is, I DO love my dogs (most of the time). I have always loved dogs. However, as an adult, when I started seriously “in” dogs I was training “with” people. I was showing “with” people. Then I moved up North to work with dogs and I moved half a country away from all of my “friends” that I had made in dogs. Southern people and Northern people are two different species, but that is a topic for another day. Making new friends as an adult isn’t easy, but I did what I always do and jumped head first into several friendships. I trusted people completely, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them screwed me over in a multitude of ways! Lies were told about me. I became somewhat of a pariah in certain circles because I had trusted the wrong people, and with my righteous indignation toward perceived wrongs I stood up for the wrong people and pissed others off. Those that know me never believed the lies, but damage was done. Friendships were gone. I was wrong by being too loyal and too trusting too soon. Even to this day, I have to fight the urge to try and “right a wrong” that was started over 9 years ago. So, since I no longer had friends to do “doggy” things with, my activities have curtailed greatly, and the dogs have become a chore where they used to bring much joy…
The other thing that happened with the dogs is that I let something I enjoyed doing and was good at become an occupation. The easiest way to zap fun from something is to make it something you HAVE to do! So, since I was making a living training and boarding and showing dogs I needed a new hobby. So, I chose to go to back to another childhood love: horses.
Rather than do the smart thing, and “lease” a horse to fulfill my desires, I went head first and bought one, an emaciated, dehydrates, lame, broken down, almost dead Thoroughbred mare. It took me a year to nurse her back to health, only to find she had an even more serious breathing condition. That year, though, brought me many new and dear friends and I enjoyed every wasteful dollar of it! So, if one horse could bring me that much joy, just imagine how much joy I could have with 3! And then I had to move to NePA, and start all over again!
I never saw anyone at the first barn, really, so I didn’t go every day like I had in CT. The one person I liked left, so I did, too, with two horses. I had seen that I wasn’t enjoying my horses the way I had in CT, so I sold my yearling since there was nobody to share watching her grow up. The next barn was an hour away, and in the beginning was good, but the energy there turned toxic. So, I moved the two horses again. Then bought a pony. Then bought another Thoroughbred out of a feedlot. At one point I had 4 horses at four different properties. Then they were all at one, and I was genuinely happy with them again. So, of course, someone I had trusted ended up being the biggest liar and snake I had encountered in horses. I was again avoiding the barn. So, I sold one, and moved the other 3 back an hour away to a good friend’s place for the summer. It was a magical summer until it wasn’t. Another friend decided to lose their mind.
So, now the 2 horses and pony live on the same property as the dogs, and all of the things I once loved and thrilled at doing have become “work”. Unpaid work. They have become chores. And there is nobody there to even discuss it. So, the joy that used to come from the social interaction that surrounded my animals is gone, and I am left with the work.
So, I am now partaking in Operation: Try and Outlive Them. One day, I am hoping to get my life back. In the meantime, as I am in this pool of my own creation trying to tread water, I am hoping to finally figure out WHO I AM???