Don’t Send me Your Snow

This is such fun I don’t know if I’m going to get anything else done now I’ve started blogging. Yesterday I had to stop for awhile as all the trees on my block had sent their October leaves directly to my yard. I only have two trees whereas my neighbors have nine. I counted them. Yet only a few leaves litter their yards! Therefore, it was their leaves I was mowing and blowing and raking yesterday! I won’t complain as one must get along with the neighbors but they’d better not send their snow over here this winter or I might have to say something.

My laundry has piled up too. The hamper was full two days ago so now a pile of dirty clothes sit on top of it. I keep meaning to stop and sort them, put a load in the wash, but I keep thinking of things to write about. I wake up in the mornings about four-thirty and my mind is buzzing with things I want to say.  The thought that keeps recurring to me is how we need to make our outsides match our insides.

For most of my life I thought if people really knew me they wouldn’t like me, which might be true, except now I don’t care. That’s the nice part about getting older, things that used to bother me appear unimportant compared with the joy of being myself.

It took a long time to get to this point. I remember the first time I truly realized someone didn’t like me. Oh my, it hurt! Why didn’t she like me? What was wrong with me (or her) etc? Suddenly it hit me. Nobody has any obligation to like anyone else. And it was okay. I was free to not like her too (so there!).

But I only speak of the fear of being disliked because it makes us afraid to let others see who we really are. In fact, it makes us afraid to become who we are truly meant to be. It stifles our development, limiting our choices to the safe zones. Beyond this zone that everyone apparently agrees on lies the danger of being different, of not being “normal”. And this is the root fear at the bottom of the whole thing, this fear of not being normal. But the opposite of normal is not, as one would think, abnormal. No, normal means average and its opposite is exceptional.

So dare to be different. Dare to be yourself, inside out. Dare to be exceptional. You’ll be glad you did. But whatever you do, don’t send me your snow this winter.  I think my yard is already littered with leaves, this time from trees on the next block.  I haven’t counted them yet.  I’ll do that when I walk Winston, and I’ll let him pee on them.

Peeing on the Flowers

This morning as I was taking Winston for his walk around the block I was thinking (as I usually do while I walk Winston) about all the things I’ve been thinking about. Or, let’s face it, all the things I’ve been obsessing about, and suddenly it all struck me as hilariously funny. I could hardly wait to get home to write it all down. The hilarity began when Winston stopped beside the peony bushes at the apartment complex to pee. I thought, “Omigod, I’m letting Winston pee on the flowers – what if someone looks out the window and sees me letting Winston pee on the flowers!” My response would be “He doesn’t have any pee left–he’s already used it all up on numerous trees around the block. He only thinks he’s peeing on the flowers.”

I see no harm in letting him think so, as it gives him such satisfaction to sniff the leaves of the peony bushes until he finds what he’s looking for, to lift his leg and aim his empty bladder at the spot. As he trots away from the budding bushes, he already has his eye on one of his favorite trees just ahead. Contentment blooms on his face. Winston is happy.

Well, if this is not a profound thought, I don’t know what is. Right or wrong, if the thought makes us happy, isn’t that important? This thought, inspired by Winston’s happiness in the belief that he had marked the peonies, led me to thoughts of certain people in my life, those who exited it, who are (or were, as some probably do not think of me at all) unhappy with me. One of my most recent obsessions.

Although my detractors may not realize it, the gauges on their bladders have moved to empty. So, what is so hilarious about that? The fact that they don’t know it! And I do! It gives them happiness to think they’re peeing on me but it gives me even more happiness to know their bladders are empty. I’ve discovered a strange new take on sticks and stones.

Fact is, at one time their bladders were filled with bile and affected me deeply. At one time I was wounded, asking myself what had I done and how could I fix it. Absorbing their discontent merely because it was aimed at me. Now when I remember those times, I’ll be reminded of Winston’s empty bladder and how happily he trotted off to find another spot. And as the round buds of the peonies burst into blooms, laughter will heal the tender places within my heart.

I wrote the foregoing several months ago. Since then the peonies have bloomed and died and have been mowed off until spring arrives, when they’ll start anew… However, the epiphany I had that day has made a lasting change on my tendency to obsess about failed relationships, the “what did I do wrongs” and the “how can I fix its”. None of the advice I had given myself about letting the past go had worked until the day it was mixed with a touch of humor

Now, as Winston prances along ahead of me, sniffing out his favorite places while I hold onto the end of his leash and prepare to use the pooper-scooper, I think of happy things. Like the Christmas six years ago when my children took me to the pet store to pick out a puppy after I had taken early retirement and moved into my little retirement home alone. I think of my youngest grandchildren, a three and a four-year-old, giving me a hilarious verbal list of the words Mommy and Daddy has told them never to say–“and that’s a REALLY bad word – we’re never to say that!” Once, when I didn’t hear the word because it was whispered I asked the four-year-old to repeat it. “Oh, no! I’m NEVER supposed to say that word!” I still wonder what it was.

Each day as I walk Winston I also ponder. About what’s most important in my life – love.  Not sappy sentimentality but real love.  The kind that, while it keeps me fully engaged in life, also gives me the courage to express opinions others will disagree with.  I think of many things while walking Winston,  and sometimes when we return to our cozy little house, I even write them down.