pawspauseprose

Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen


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But, What Did I Do?

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As a person, as a society, and as a living being on this earth, that question has been asked or wondered forever. More often than not, it is because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, when a person or animal needs to blow off steam, get out their aggressions, or sadly, just make another feel as bad as they do. As a mother, I called this the Wagging Tail theory, after needing to find an analogy, that my daughters could understand, and in this very moment of life, it couldn’t be any more valid.

Whenever one of my own was wrongly blamed, singled out, or just felt to be less than they were, I asked them to imagine their sweet dogs, since they had loved those puppies from birth, and treasured them as constant companions and confidants. I explained how each of the three animals were all different in looks, and personality, but they all came into life the same way, needing the same nourishment, warmth, care and love, and when the time came to leave their mama dog, they relied completely on the attention and compassion their owner would give them. However, not all puppies were like ours, finding a perfect home, exactly what they were hoping for, and because of that, damage started.

Some, I would explain, were bought only as gifts, later ignored or tossed away, and others were abused and hurt, never understanding what they had done to deserve the treatment. Then one day, out of nowhere, and for no particular reason, they just couldn’t take it anymore, and when someone reached down to pet their wagging tail, they were bit, barked at, or worse. The rational mind knows this as a watershed moment, but for a child’s logic, it is that time when you are exhausted, and just can’t run anymore. It becomes that well known emotional and physical point when you are just done.

Understanding that they were not the cause, but the reaction from previous pain, my children would try and reconcile the event they had been caught up in, to figure out what had caused a friend to become hurtful, an employer to take another version of a situation, or why a loved one snapped over a simple mistake, or misunderstanding. The realization of a bigger picture usually came slowly, but when it did, they would be sad, taking into account the pain and suffering needing to finally be released. Keeping that in mind, they also looked for the bigger picture, and tried harder to help, not assuming facts not in evidence, as they so often heard on television, truly a wonderful concept.

Regardless, how a beating heart has been wronged, disappointed, embarrassed, let down or physically hurt, the need to be loved and wanted, equal to all others is always the ultimate goal. A child that acts up in class, doesn’t want punishment, only attention and compassion, but has no other way to get it. A dog that has been ignored, or abused is still as loyal and loving as they were in puppy days, however, biting a hand trying to feed it, is their only reaction of self preservation, not wanting more pain. The biggest lesson we can ever learn, is that all any of us want, is understanding, compassion and equality; even if it takes many bites from pain, or fearful screams to overcome our damage.

Looking at the family I raised, I am proud of them all, and the level of humanity they achieved, the values and morals they teach their children, and the understanding and support they give their partners at home, and in the workplace. However, sadly, I also know as long as there are differences in this world, affecting economic situations, physical ability, compassion and financial needs, there will continue to be voices needing to yell, unnecessary revenge waiting to be played out, and love wishing to be felt. I can only assume this is a lesson in humanity all of us are all to learn before we leave life. A very basic credo, that we are all the same, and loving one another is the only answer…a hope and directive, quoted many times, in all religious and spiritual teachings.

So, Talk…don’t Bark the next time that you receive a painful encounter. Then, listen with your heart, regardless of your frustration, and reverse the situation, getting to the source of the emotion. No, you won’t fix everything right then and there, maybe you never will. However, I can almost guarantee that genuine compassion and understanding will be the key to defusing the moment, and changing a life for the better, possibly even your own.

 

 


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You matter, so I protest

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As an everyday white woman, living in the suburbs, I can’t ever claim to know the treatment of those protesting, as they grew up, and now try to survive. I have however, visited the situation up close and personal, and will never forget the experience.

In 2014, my best friend asked if I would consider renting a room to a family friend, who worked in the government, and was going to be in Denver for a temporary position. Having the space, and trusting her as I do, there was no issue, and for the better part of a year, this young man lived with me, shared meals, I did his laundry, he made me laugh, and I helped him when I could with graphics and designs for a website he was involved with. I also learned his New York slang, and some secret government gossip, which I am sure he made up for me, but regardless, he was a delight.

As with all young men, he loved my baking, and put on more weight than planned, and when his son was born, his wife and baby joined him here for a week. It was nice having family here again. He was also very fit, being in the guard, and ran for miles every day in the neighborhood, sporting Nike’s and a bright white tank top. The neighbors peeked out their windows to watch, and when his sleek, new black expedition was delivered by flatbed truck to my driveway, they must have figured something was going on, and a few looked a little longer. This young man will always have a place in my heart, and I was sad when he returned to the DC area.

However, before he left, on one of his nightly runs, he came back home, and was grinning like a little boy. He told me that one of the ladies up the street he had spoken to many times, invited him to a BBQ party. I wasn’t interested in going, but he headed off to the liquor store, bought several 12 packs of beer, and left later that night. I was shocked when he came back within the hour, and without a word, he went upstairs to his room.

I found out later that week, that when he showed up, everyone just stared at him, and he was made to feel very uncomfortable, even though he had been invited. The woman who lived there didn’t speak to him, and in case you haven’t guessed it, he was the only black man in that festive backyard get together. He left the beer and came back, later changing the route of his run.

Remembering as a nerdy kid who never was chosen in Gym class, and often mocked, I realized how insignificant that had been, and my heart hurt. Here was a young man I would have been proud to have in my family. He was financially sound, a husband and father, living out of state to better his family, and employed with the very government those people depended upon, yet he wasn’t good enough. I can tell you it makes me sick today, and I think of it, every time I pass that corner house.

We are in this life together for a reason, and we all die in the end. However, before such time, we need one another, to make it work.