Being Home.

June 29, 2015

Filed Under: Personal

I’ve been waiting to update until a striking moment of writer’s overflow, thinking it’s at these moments of necessary purging that my words are the most meaningful. I’ve had these moments, but I haven’t been sitting with my fingers on the keys, but rather on the steering wheel, in the grass, on a coffee cup. Everything feels significant lately. Maybe it has something to do with coming home. I’m in Michigan. I have been for a week.

It’s been a slow morning at the house, and I’m alone. While sitting at a countertop in my older brother’s favorite stool (it’s the only one he will sit in), I just had one of those moments when everything comes rushing in at once. Sometimes when I think of the past, it feels like remembering a movie I saw once a long, long time ago. It’s as though those faces, conversations, and experiences weren’t actually a part of my own life, but something I saw once as an observer. In the excitement of spending time with my family, I often forget that being here makes everything feel real again. I wonder if this is some sort of coping mechanism, and really the only way to truly move forward – a certain amount of healthy distancing and emotional detachment.

About four months ago I adopted a dog. She is named after Holly Golightly of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of my favorite female characters ever written. (Sidenote: if you haven’t read the book, do yourself a favor and get on that asap.) Holly, the dog, is a rescue. I’m her fourth owner, and it shows sometimes. She’s anxious, afraid of abandonment, and, most of the time, prefers the company of women. It’s clear she has been affected by the people who have given up on her and possibly mistreated her. I don’t know exactly what her story is, but I do know that whatever she has gone through hasn’t made her less loving, less hopeful, or less adoring. Holly has not lost the desire for affection, and she will sacrifice her own self-care to get it. Her intense attachment to me means that I sometimes have to stand by her food bowl in order for her to eat or be home with her so she can relax. This behavior has presented challenges for sure, though this response to her experiences has inspired me. Rather than rejecting humans, she loves more fiercely, which actually does not mirror her namesake at all. I named her after an erratic, distant, falsely brave woman, who I have always felt an odd kinship with, and my Holly ended up being one of the most deeply loving and adoring creatures I’ve ever come across.

I think when any living thing goes through painful circumstances they can respond in two general ways. They can shut themselves off, creating a callused shell around them as a form of protection… or they can regard their experiences as a product of circumstance, choosing not to fold, but rather remain open and affected with a new sense of wisdom and intention. I’m trying my hardest to make my story read more like the later. While I willingly admit that I often fall into cynicism, fear, and pessimism, I also know I am not solely the sum of my experiences. I’m a bundle of 28.5 years of life, this present day, and what is excitingly still to come.

Hope has nothing to do with the past and can exist without reason or justification. It just is.

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4 Responses to “Being Home.”

  1. Ashley says:

    This is really beautiful – what a profound realization. You look SO happy with her in all the photos you post, lucky dog.

  2. Kristy says:

    Thanks for sharing and being open about your life and thoughts. You are such an amazing person, so honest and smart about what is important. Love your guts … and heart!

  3. Amanda says:

    You and I are in very similar situations. I too adopted a dog, Ollie, four weeks ago who came with separation anxiety and lots of dependency issues. My husband and I are his 4th owners and I am working with him to gain some independence and confidence. I had to hire a behavioral specialist because I was so overwhelmed with his needs. What I have observed and reflected on these past few weeks is our societies lack of commitment and loyalty to people. At least two other people decided to take on the responsibility of taking care of a living being but when things got hard they abandoned him (thus creating a bigger problem). Our society has a “throw away” mentality that seems to give permission to people to walk away when there is a challenge rather than seeing the joys of working hard on relationships. Ollie has made things difficult and my husband and I have had to make sacrifices but we chose to take him in and he is the sweetest and most trusting dog. I know that the hard work will pay off and we will have learned something and will have become better people because of our commitment to Ollie. It breaks my heart to think about the abandonment that Ollie has experienced but other than his anxious worry about us leaving him alone, he hasn’t stopped trusting us. In my own abandonment issues, I have to trust others to have positive relationships even though I know that there will be times when I will get hurt. The joys of committing to others is worth more than shutting myself off from relationships in fear. Isn’t it amazing what we can learn from pets?!

    • Kayley Anne says:

      Thank you for this. I am so glad I’m not the only one with such a strong attachment to my dog. I am often the first one to leave get togethers so I can get back to Holly, or request a dog friendly restaurant. As inconvenient as it may seem, I sympathize with Holly and her fear of abandonment. I can’t even imagine all the hurt she’s experienced in her three years of life not being able to find someone to commit to taking care of her. It makes all the work worth it to show her that she deserves to be loved. I am so glad you have found a little pup to show this to as well! I’m sure Ollie is so, so sweet and thankful.

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