Who was your favorite grade school teacher?
What was your favorite food as a child?
What was the name of your first best friend?
Leave it to a slew of security questions for some insignificant online publication to remind me:
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t remember who I was and most of the time, I question who I am now. After 37 years, I still don’t know? I’ve been afraid to admit to myself what I like and don’t like, because, it’s not pretty.
I’ve recently accepted the truth: I’m not a dog person. I’ve tried to be, but I’m not. Growing up, I had a soul connection with my dog, Koko. When she died, so did my interest in dogs.
We rescued a dog a couple of years ago. My girls wanted a pet. He was sweet and docile. I never connected with him. I’m a shitty dog owner; I’m gone 10 hours a day, every day. I don’t like being slobbered on. I can’t stand finding hair clinging to my pant leg three hours after I’ve left the house, or constantly wiping up the clumps of fur that collect behind the bench in the hallway. I can’t bear the smell of dog food and I hate walking a living being on a leash, it’s just wrong to me. I don’t want to take care of anything else; I don’t have the capacity.
So, I made the decision to find him a new home with someone who could give him a good life, and the love he deserves. It was excruciating for my children. They understood, but it hurt. I cried for them, but I also cried a sense of relief—I was no longer pretending to be someone I wasn’t.
I want a simple life. Less. The other day, I threw out three half used bottles of shampoo, gave away ten pairs of shoes and clothes, and tossed a bunch of socks that didn’t even look like socks anymore; they looked like the rags I use to clean the clumps of fur off the floors with.
Life got messy and complicated. I couldn’t see straight. I don’t want to live like that anymore.
I want to work one job well and give it my all. I want to use my mind more than my body. I can adjust people’s thoughts; their bodies will listen, too.
I love being alone, until I don’t. Accompanied solitude. I like bustling places: places with lots of people clanking and laughing.
I crave the sound of the ocean. I need it. I have to have it, so I go, sit, wash my feet, and then I’m satiated for a while.
The mountains keep me sane. My mind stops racing and I feel like I can see for miles, even though there’s something bigger than me blocking my view; humility fuels creativity and clarity. It’s a good place to be, but eventually I seek respite in a fast drive on an overly lit three-lane street, a loud meal and glances.
Glancing gives me energy, with a person who throws a gaggle of butterflies my way. They look promising, even though the mirage is much more attractive than the truth. They suck and I’ll suck with them. I know that well enough now. I usually look away before the five seconds is up; otherwise, I’m doomed. Six months later, I’m a puddle of insecurity and despair, dead butterflies crunching under my soles.
I’m seduced by the idea of a committed relationship, morning breath and plans three months in advance, but then I wake up to an unfurled bed; I only have to make one side, boil the water for my French press and purge my darkest thoughts. That’s better than morning sex. There’s someone though, someone who feels that way, too. And, when we’re together we are a perpetual orgasm of thoughts and revelations.
I eat like a truck driver, I always have. I have a bottomless stomach; there’s always room for dessert and chips and salsa.
I need to swim every day, but I can’t these days, there’s not enough time. When I do, my bones turn to liquid and my thoughts disappear; it’s the one place I can breathe. I stop feeling like I’m going to drown. I take that back, there’s one more thing that saves me: dancing is like swimming, too.
Although yoga is my companion (and always will be), teaching it makes me feel a fraud. I don’t know enough, yet. I picked up my knowledge through osmosis. I always question what I’m doing. I forget the names of muscles and bones constantly. I keep studying. Maybe one day I’ll remember…
I don’t retain information well. I read and it evaporates. Maybe it’s because I’m too focused on the ink staining my fingers, or I get lost in another fantasy in my head; I should be writing instead of reading.
More often than not, books bore me. Most authors write from their head, not from their heart. They lose me in the first chapter. They color inside the lines, follow the rules and use white out and semi-colons in the perfect places. Yawn.
It’s the poets, the essayists I resonate with. The rebels. Grammar is a suggestion, not a commandment to them. They cook instead of bake, no measurements needed. They write however the fuck they want. Goosebumps on their readers’ necks punctuate their sentences. That’s all that matters anyway: can you penetrate the reader? Make them feel? I want to fucking feel if I’m going to use up my time swallowing your words.
I’m clean on the outside. I shower twice a day. I smell like a vanilla cupcake. But, I can never seem to wash off the filth on the inside. I have dirty thoughts, sick thoughts. I don’t want to wash them away. They’re entertaining.
My daughters are the sacred, purest part of life. I live for them. Somehow I’ve sheltered them, protected them, from the world and from me. They got my good vanilla cupcake parts; the rotten, filthy stuff didn’t transfer. I make mistakes every day, but I’m there. I listen. I snuggle them and sing songs and make their lunches and teach them to be kind and generous. They are like the mountains: they keep me sane.
I’m sensitive and moody. I have been my whole life. Food and hugs bring me back to balance. No medication needed.
I try life experiences on like clothes. Some fit, some don’t. I still get swept up in the self-deprecating thoughts of failure. I just did the other day, but then I think about jeans. You have to try on a lot of pairs before you find the right size. The others weren’t failures; they just didn’t fit.
Eventually, I’ll find the right outfit, and the right path that will lead me to the right place to settle, with the right job and the right people who think I’m the right person, even though I’m not a dog person. ~Rebecca