They say that the ‘art of writing is in the rewriting’. If this were 100% correct, then the blog post I will be publishing should be a masterpiece worthy of an award. Ha ha! I have worked on this post (written, deleted, rewritten) for almost four weeks now! Goodness gracious me! 😮
I’ve now reached the point of no return – I need to publish something, and so here it is. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. (She tips her hat, loops her thumbs in her leather belt, and puts one cowgirl boot forward. 😉 )
It’s been just over three months since my last blog post. That’s just sad! I didn’t realise it had been that long. And yet… at the same time… so much has happened in that ‘short space of time’ that it feels longer.
Long story short? (When have I ever managed to use less words when telling a story, ha ha?!? I’ll do my best here though…)
I’ve been extremely ill. And many will mutter ‘over exaggeration’, and that’s okay because even now when I think of it, it seems unreal that that is what I was reduced to! There were entire days where even getting to the bathroom seemed impossible, let alone trying to get my brain to focus! I went from Severe Bronchospasm, to Bronchial Pneumonia, then Pneumonia, and throw in some Pleurisy too. Along the way (at the beginning, with sufficient time in between) I had two Covid tests, but both were negative. Blood tests about 4 weeks ago (because I just wasn’t recovering) showed that I had indeed had Covid, and the conclusion was that I now have Long Covid. Up until the point of the tests, the fatigue (coupled with the chronic fatigue that I already suffer from) was debilitating, to say the least. Thankfully, treatment has been adjusted, and I can make it through a good few hours before I feel like my whole being will shut down. The ‘Porridge Brain/ Brain Fog’ is something else… especially for someone like me! If you love to read, like I do, you will understand my pain when I say : I could not even read half a page in my book! 😮 And apparently I have developed asthma!
The GOOD news is that I am definitely recovering! So, my beautiful blogging world, you’ve not heard the last of me yet! 😉
I already know that what I am about to type now is going to hurt me somewhere deep inside, and the tears will fall uncontrollably as I type, and I will have to stop to try and settle myself, so that I can see the keyboard and screen, and get through this. I feel my chest tightening already, and I am struggling to swallow the lump rising in my throat. I am actually feeling physical pain, as if my heart is breaking all over again 😦
Five weeks and one day ago, at 2:10pm, my beautiful big companion and very best friend (my boy, Toffee Dog, who I blogged about here, and have mentioned countless times along the way) collapsed. I had to rush him to the vet, somehow knowing that ‘this was it’. I still don’t know how I drove us there safely, and made it home safely. Because I sobbed, both ways. You’d need to read the blog post, and perhaps try to understand (draw on your sympathetic and understanding part of your mind), in order to appreciate the drastic impact this had on me. Honestly, it was the hardest goodbye of my life thus far. (He had a brain tumour.) And true to being a psychologists nightmare (which I often declare that I am, ha! 😛 ) I still struggle to say the above out loud, and my composure still shatters, five weeks and one day later, when I think about him too much! So… now that you have confirmed your suspicions that I am a special kind of crazy (I am smiling with my tears) let’s move on, shall we?
I’ll leave you with some good 😉
In the three+ months that I have been M.I.A from WordPress, despite physical and emotional pain, each and every day has given me an ‘in your face’ moment of gratitude. Something good has happened (albeit something small most days) in a way that I have been unable to overlook! An email; a message on my phone; assistance in some way (a meal delivered, my kids helping with the housework) – all things that brought a smile and a whispered ‘thank you’ to my lips. All things that equate to acts of love. Love that fanned the flame of hope, so that even if it wanted to, it could not die.
May hope spring eternal for all of you, every day, in some way! Please don’t forget that the world needs someone like YOU, and you are loved! ❤
Thank you for reading. ❤ Here’s to me writing to you all again soon 😉
In 2017, around about this very same time of year, in Queensland, Australia, a policeman fried an egg on his car hood! I am not joking! From what I understand, the temperature that day was around 46°C (about 114.8°F)!
My country shares the same seasons with Australia, and so currently I am in the hottest Summer month! The town I live in is on the coast, and while I don’t experience the same very high temperatures as my Aussie family, I still think the humidity I experience is a lot worse than what they do!
Plus, I don’t have aircon.
Most houses in my town don’t. Businesses, hotels, offices, most retail stores – yes. But housing is a no. The few who do have are more those who are considered ‘wealthy’. Suffice to say, I don’t qualify! 😛 but I am far from being alone in this!
When February rolls around, even those who hate their jobs can’t wait to go to work! Ha ha! I’ve even known some who have put in unpaid overtime to snatch an extra couple of hours in the company aircon! Crazy, right? But we all get pretty much desperate to escape the humidity!
Typically, it goes like this : your sleep is disturbed around 2am because you need to scratch a few new itches… the mosquito’s have been busy! There isn’t a breath of wind and even though the thermometer clearly says that’s it’s only 27°C (80.6°F), it feels like you can’t breathe because of the heat. And then you confirm it! The humidity is 96%. No wonder you’re gasping for air! (AND your area is experiencing loadshedding (where they take your power for three and a half hours at a time), and your electricity will only be returning at 3:30am, and so the small fan next to your bed isn’t even circulating the hot air because it needs power to work!)
It’s 1pm. Lunchtime. Maybe the shade of the tree will help? You step outside into the garden and your breath is actually taken away – nope, better off inside the house, even without aircon! Because outside there is still no wind, the sun is beating down at about 35°C (95°F) and the humidity is 88% – hey, at least it’s dropped! 😉
Oh man! This is great! The wind has picked up and it looks like a storm might be rolling in! That lightning in the distance looks promising! (I love storms, and we have some serious electrical ones here… that sometimes take away our electricity and it takes 7 hours to fix and get it back on! Which is annoying, to say the least!!! But I still love storms 😉 ) And then it happens! The first raindrops begin to fall. Your heart flutters with excitement…. but you’re about to get a lesson in disappointment 😛 Oh…. it rains! Hard! And you actually go out and stand in it because it cools you down! (Yes, we do that!) But it doesn’t last long. And as the storm passes, the wind disappears. And all you’re left with is a rapidly climbing humidity percentage!
Perhaps now you will understand why I say I don’t like Summer. I was made for Winter, and the cold! Ha ha ha!
This girl is not designed for the heat!!!! 😛
It’s also quite a stressful time because of all the creatures that come with it! Moths the size of my hand, other creepy crawlies that I have yet to identify (I probably don’t want to know 😛 ), bees and wasps and hornets that need to be chased as soon as possible because my dogs are forever trying to catch them, and my two big frogs who seem to have taken residence here (although I still can’t find where they hibernate) and produce lots of little babies, who are really small and very cute – and I get to watch them grow up which brings me some happiness – but I also have to be on constant alert for snakes. I am on call for the kids – my adult son and teenage daughter both squeal, and not with delight, and off I go to ‘catch and remove’ whatever creature they have discovered! (I still think I have a mini heart attack every time I have to catch one of those large moths, ha ha!)
I get the opportunity to practice PLENTY of gratitude during all of this, especially when we are given the most wonderful opportunities of experiencing a little bit of coolness. Everyone notices the instant happiness that pretty much floods my being! Ha ha ha!
And the absolute best part of it all?
I truly love butterflies. I once visited a butterfly sanctuary with the purpose of a picnic lunch in the botanical gardens after. I wanted a few more minutes with the butterflies, and before I knew it, everyone had finished their two hour relaxing lunch and it was time to go… and I was still standing with my butterflies! Yes, I was very hungry by dinner time! 😛
This horrible heat and humidity that is brought by the month of February also brings plenty of butterfly sightings! I sometimes see four or five, all in one day! And a couple of days ago, the most exquisite black and bright blue one followed me in to my house when I had finished hanging the washing on the line. It sat on the wall above my bed, and actually looked more like a sticker than a living creature! I reached for my phone to take a picture, but it was clearly camera shy and fluttered away, back out of my bedroom door (that leads on to my patio). And as strange as it sounds, that just made my day! ❤
Yesterday was just plain strange! I popped in at ‘the shop up the road’, which is a small supermarket, and while I was standing looking at the fruit, I heard a buzzing sound. I looked to my left and there was a bee hovering next to me. I put some banana’s in my basket, and hurried off to the first aisle, only to discover that the bee had decided to go with me! And would you believe it, he continued to follow me, and hover next to me, throughout that whole darn store! Ha ha ha ha! There was an old lady in the checkout queue ahead of me, and my bee friend was still next to me. She turned to look, and I laughed and explained ‘he’s been following me since I arrived, silly bee’! She laughed and said, ”it’s your brightly coloured aura and the positive energy you exude, he thinks you’re a flower!” I just laughed even more and replied, ”or probably because today I actually put on perfume!” 😛
What is my point? (Other than complaining about the heat and humidity? 😛 )
Well? It’s a miserable time for me 😛 The weather we are having makes me sticky and uncomfortable, and sucks the energy out of me. It will slowly begin to move on though, and I imagine that by the end of April, I will be feeling a whole lot better about the weather 😉 (And no, I won’t be complaining about the cold!!!) But I will miss my butterflies! (And so long as the bees stay away from my dogs, and don’t sting me, I might miss having one as my companion too 😛 )
It’s a very effective reminder for me that even in uncomfortable circumstances, there is always something good to be appreciated, even if it’s as small as a butterfly!
And I also remembered a dialogue… I don’t remember where from, but it may have been something I watched last year :
”Will the storms ever stop?” ”Perhaps not. But neither will the rainbows!”
I was thrown into a ‘state of anxiety’ for about a week, because of my dog. Let me explain – or try to, at least. I don’t know how eloquent I will be… or how much sense any of it will make…. but please bear with me…. or dog with me, rather 😛 This is Toffolux – Toffee for short :
The top two pictures are from the last couple of years – the bottom two are from when my daughter was 10/11 – they would watch movies together. 😉
I have touched on, in previous posts, a severe traumatic incident in 2012… that was followed with a lot more trauma till 2013. But added to that, I have childhood trauma too… that was more ongoing. Anyway….
At the end of 2013, I was helped with my 2012 incident… adequate trauma counselling etc. Things started looking up. However, I was still having nightmares and I was still afraid. In 2014, it was suggested to me that I get a dog – to help me.
I have ALWAYS been a dog person… I find myself incredibly attached to them though… whether it’s mine or not. Ha ha! I have a feeling dogs sense this. In my complex, anytime a dog escapes their yard, they show up on MY doorstep. In fact, there are two dogs living outside my complex at the end of the road, who come here too. It’s rather amusing, really. The lady at the end of the road asked if I was a vet – no ways! My dog passion can never be followed that way… my heart would literally break. In fact, a few weeks back, there was a doggy run over on the highway (the opposite direction we were driving) and traffic had come to a standstill… and I had to pull over a little later because my tears were blurring my vision. Moving on….
The children were excited at the announcement that we would go to one of the local animal sanctuary’s in search of a dog. They love dogs as much as I do… and had been waiting two years for a ‘replacement’ for our last one. My instructions were clear – not a puppy! I wanted a ‘grown up’, about the size of a maltese poodle.
We came home with a puppy. Sigh.
Toffee had arrived at the sanctuary at three weeks old, after being thrown out of a car window in a plastic packet. ‘One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure’. This was most certainly the case when he came into our lives. We went searching the day he was six weeks old. He had just finished fighting off Biliary too! This pup was a survivor!
And he chose us. By attaching himself to the fur at the top of my daughter’s boots and hanging on. I still laugh out loud when I think of that moment! And Toffee became this girl’s best friend – yes! I would choose him over a diamond ANY day!
Most of my free time has been spent with Toffee by my side. We have engaged in long conversations – I haven’t really had anyone else to spend time with… so he is my movie companion, my sounding board, my friend. My children often joke that he is also the ‘husband in the household for mom’, and that they don’t know how a guy would fit into the equation – and since they are okay with that, I am too. Ha ha! Because Toffee sleeps on the pillow next to me at night. He snores in my ear. And sometimes he even steals the blankets. When I talk to him, he gazes at me, listening intently. And sometimes even offers up appropriate ‘noises’ in response. My son is still convinced he KNOWS what we are saying and is talking back. The funniest is when you ask him a question, and he responds with shaking his head as if to say no.
And in all honesty? He is definitely the most ‘human’ dog I have ever had. I’ve had eight dogs in total in my lifetime – I got my first puppy at age 2. And so when I compare? He’s definitely a ‘person’ more than an animal 😉
But there is this too : when the nightmares came, Toffee would wake me… and cuddle against me, sometimes licking my cheek in reassurance that it was okay. When the ‘unexplained fear’ overcame me, it was like he knew. When I was feeling anxious, he knew. And he always offered reassurance. A paw on my leg if we were sitting together. A look he would give me, followed by a big sigh, and then an approach where he would bump against me for love…. and giving him love always gave me a strange form of comfort.
My children have been growing – they have their friends, their recreational activities, their social lives. In my down time? I have Toffee, and whatever it is I choose to do – read, watch series or a movie, or just sit and think about life. He’s always at my side.
Since March, Toffee has (after six years of perfect health) been unwell. Recurring bouts of prostatitis, and a need to be neutered. And so his neutering was booked for the 2nd October. And the day I booked it, my anxiety was what some considered ‘stupid and abnormal’. Because of him being an older dog, there was the niggle of ‘what if something goes wrong’? My kids weren’t around, and when I got home from the booking, I’ll admit it… I cried. Toffee, with his 26 kilogram body, jumped up on me to hug me (he does that too! Stands with his paws stretched up on your shoulders and actually curls them into you as if pulling you in for a hug!) Then he disappeared to my room… and when I followed a few minutes later and entered the room, he let out a loud sigh and I saw this :
The pillow says RELAX on it. He stayed like that for me to take a photo… but then I couldn’t contain my laughter any longer and he lifted his head, wagging his tail, and ‘smiled’ at me.
He came through surgery that day like the champ that he is. But the following week there were minor complications that caused me some sadness and stress…. and again, some people commented that I was being ‘ridiculous’, ‘he’s just a dog’, ‘this is quite pathetic of you’.
WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT, WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE BACKGROUND, WHEN YOU WEREN’T THERE TO COMFORT SOMEONE THROUGH THE TRAUMA… PLEASE DON’T JUDGE THEM! THIS IS WHERE KINDNESS SHOULD KICK IN.
I have said that in CAPS because it is SO important.
In the end, Toffee needed an extra large cone… but as you can see, he wasn’t too unhappy about it 😉
Unfortunately he’s not quite back to being healthy yet. He now has an ear infection. Sigh.
Why all of this? About my dog?
I had seven days of struggling with sleep, and anxiety. How silly, right? But here’s the thing :
When you’re unfamiliar with trauma – whether it be long lasting or a particular incident – and if you do not understand the complications that can follow years later, then you too are nodding your head in agreement at how ‘ridiculous I have been, allowing a dog to make me almost not able to function for a week’.
But if you ARE familiar… and if you’re not please try and understand :
Although it IS about me loving my dog ‘too much’, there was a whole other thing taking place. It’s called a trigger. After a few years of being ‘almost completely free’? This ‘event’ triggered something in me. And I don’t know how this really works or why it happens…. I just know it does.
And so… when I slept? The nightmares came back – not as severe, and yet I still woke up terrified. I looked over my shoulder a little more than usual…. even in my own home. I found excuses to communicate with my daughter when she wasn’t home – sending her a meme or something, just to get her to respond, so that I would know she was okay.
You may not fully understand. Because you don’t know what I went through. And the reactions from others made me think about it quite a lot.
And I had to add another thing to my ‘to do list’ in my character….
I know I should not have an opinion about anyone unless I fully know their why. But at the same time – what is it in me that always seems to want to know the WHY? Yes, it helps explain… and it makes understanding easier…. And yet…. There are times where people will not be able to find the words to explain their why to me; they may not trust me enough or they may just not want to talk about that part of the past; or they may have ten million other reasons NOT to tell me their why. I still have just ONE reason to at least TRY and understand without the necessity of every detail…. And it surpasses those ten million….
It’s doing everything I can to show REAL love to others – an ‘unnatural’ kindness and compassion, that just is, and doesn’t need explanations.
It’s not easy. I won’t always get it right. But I have made a decision to be ‘more aware’, and at least TRY to get it right!
So this was one part of the ‘all will be revealed in time’ that I mentioned in my last post 😉
(And just as a side note : someone told me that I can’t help anyone with their life purpose if I am still reliving things from my past – my response was this : if it wasn’t for the past, and the understanding that triggers exist, THEN I would be ineffective. If I wasn’t experiencing the things that I am, and learning from them and growing, then I wouldn’t be in a place to identify with anyone, would I? I don’t relive my past – and I don’t live in it either… but sometimes it just appears out of nowhere. This is reality for so many! Getting through something, dealing with it, moving forward in life? Unfortunately it doesn’t mean it never happened. Our response to the reminder is what changes… and we are better equipped to ‘fight’. This trigger was an unknown – I didn’t expect to react like this at all…. or for it to have been as bad as it what it was. I probably should have identified it sooner, and not lost a week, as such! BUT I have learnt from this… and I am prepared for next time 😉 I won’t be completely unaffected by it next time, but the impact WILL be a little less. I guess my honesty ISN’T always a good thing – and makes people question my abilities and character. BUT…. connection comes from honesty – I want to be REAL! So my apologies to everyone – I am not perfect. But I share tidbits for this reason : guys and girls! Life is still worth living! Sometimes we get slowed down… but keep putting one foot in front of the other! Sometimes it will take a little longer than we feel it should…. But always remember that slow progress is still progress, and you’re still a lot further than anyone who isn’t even trying ❤
Yes, this is a question I regularly ask. And I ask it of my dog. If you have a dog, have ever owned a dog, or have ever been a regular visitor to a house where a dog resides, then you will understand my need to be continuously asking this question.
Unfortunately, for the most part, the answer comes in the form of a screeched,
“Drop that!” It’s usually issued in reference to the item in his mouth : a shoe, an eraser, a pen, underwear, kitchen towel – you get the picture.
I saw the above picture in one of my moments of mindless Facebook browsing, and the Nike slogan popped into my head, “Just Do It”!
Suddenly my curious mind realised that I have no clue as to the origin of that slogan. Curiosity killed the cat – grateful I am human, or I would have needed more than nine lives – and I was surprised to find that the slogan is based on a death. Well, sort of, anyway.
Apparently the guy who came up with the slogan remembered something from a case back in 1977. A man was sentenced to death after robbing and killing two other men. As they led the condemned man to face the firing squad, he was apparently heard uttering, “Let’s do this”.
The words were altered, although the meaning is pretty much the same, to “Just do it”.
I feel unprepared for a situation I find myself in. In fact, lately, I am facing a lot of things that make me feel like I am the Queen of The Unready. (It’s great to fantasize about being a Queen of my own kingdom and all that, but the other feelings that go with the title are not so great.)
I find myself procrastinating, questioning and hesitating when the tasks before me actually need to be done. I find myself whining to my dog about how unfair life is, and all the reasons why I just don’t want to do the things I have to do – and detailing all the reasons I am so Unready.
And sometimes I think my dog understands.
This morning, with a mammoth task before me, I stood in the kitchen and sipped my coffee, complaining yet again out loud about why I didn’t ‘want to’. And in trots dog. And I mean ‘trots’, because he had a prize in his mouth, and he tends to display show-horse behaviour when he’s bragging about prizes. The prize? A page from a magazine he’d been tearing up. The page? On one side, an ad for Nike.
Yes, Dog…… Just Do It. And so I did! Ah yes, the little things that inspire the mind to accomplish the great tasks. The furniture has all been moved around, and I can cross that off the list. Only another ten things to go – and there are no more magazines lying around for inspiration. I guess I’ll have another cup of coffee 😉