I returned from the holiday with an eerily foreign sense of inner peace and resolve. Peace that life is what it is. And resolve to make it even better whilst refocusing on the simple pleasures. I didn’t say it was profound. While the resolve remains intact, the peace was shattered to anxiety-ridden bits within 48 hours of returning to The Everyday. A few memorable catalysts…
Employ. The coworker who drives me up the wall with her insecurity-driven (I can only assume) incessant bragging was immediately up to her old tricks of making herself feel important by making others appear second-rate. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s braggarts. And know-it-alls. And queue-cutters.
Shelter. After making myself comfortable in my parent’s very respectable adult house for a few days, I returned to my own rental and suddenly felt like a cold sardine within its confines.
Four-Legged Friend. Oh, and there was the incident where my sweet little Foo bit a human. Yeah, there was that. I'm a dog-rearing failure, I'm going to get sued, and to avoid Foo getting taken away in a paddy wagon we will both go fugitive. Let me explain. My end of year raise made my embarrassing debate between walker-for-foo and therapist-for-me a reality. As if there was any question, the dog walker camp was far more persuasive. After all, who needs a therapist when you can’t even tell him the truth? I mean, really.
Foo met Dog Walker once, and all seemed fine. Until I received an urgent call at work on what was to be Dog Walker’s first day informing me that all was not fine, no not fine at all. Turns out Foo was much less enthused about Dog Walker than me. In fact, he was not in the least bit okay with Dog Walker entering the apartment during my absence, and, in fairness, Foo reportedly made that disinterest quite clear to Dog Walker via ferocious barking and fang-bearing. Is it Foo’s fault that So-Confident-He-Is-Delusional Dog Walker plodded onward, much to the chagrin of his tasty knee?
Upon getting the disturbing news that Foo is Kujo, I closed my office door and cried. And continued to cry off and on until I went to bed that night. It was neither a reasonable nor proportionate reaction (I know of real tragedy in the world), but pity parades rarely cater to reason or proportion (or the suffering of others). I’m all about embracing what needs to be done, and apparently crying like a baby is what I needed to do before I could implement the resolve. Recall, resolve is intact. Peace, gone. Resolve, here. That’s right, this is where the resolve comes in.
Work. They always told me work would help me learn to deal with difficult people, and this has never rung so true. Dealing with the pesky coworker is a work in progress. When she comes around to do her thing, I’ve resolved to breath, remind myself I'm lucky to have a job at all, pretend not to be seething inside, remind myself that I’m not stuck in an adolescent mentality (whilst I excuse her behavior as some sort of compensation for being so short), and convince myself that braggarts never prosper. So far this is working about as well as a cold compress on a hungover head. But using logic to trump raw reaction is a start, and I’m not looking to work miracles on myself here. The Tylenol, tomato juice and Coke will come later. Seriously, how did it take me this long to discover the cure that is Coke?
Shelter. This is where I’ve spent most of my spare time thus far. The reorganizing I’ve done freed up a noticeable amount of space in the joint, and the whole apartment has become more user friendly and aesthetically pleasing. The best thing about this is that the space surrounding me tends to mirror the space inside my head. In other words, things are feeling less cluttered upstairs, and this is a welcome sensation indeed.
Four-Legged Friend. My beloved Foo is soon to receive a few house calls from a dog shrink. Sadly, I'm totally serious. In lieu of a dog walker, I’ve hired Chicago’s finest dog behavioralist to help curb Foo’s “house aggression,” which I hardly knew had so spiraled. Ok, there were signs that this was brewin’, but the bite was the proverbial straw… that will break the bank. But I’m hopeful it’s worth it, and I’m excited to learn new things. Dog Behavioralist’s philosophy sounds like a good one. He uses purely positive reinforcement, recognizes anxiety-inducing triggers, desensitizes Foo to those triggers, and teaches him to respond in new ways. we'll see....
photo c/o ffffound.com