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This Is Why We’re Not

This, tonight, is why were not married yet, Love.

I tell people it’s because we both want to finish school first and don’t want to risk a long-distance marriage, but that’s not the whole truth.

It’s your temper.

I rarely see it, but when I do, it’s explosive. I can’t handle that after living with my mother.

Every few months or so we get into a disagreement about something and you explode in anger, yelling at me. Usually after your outburst I just sit there in silence, scared that it’s going to escalate like it always did with her. It never does, it’s just an awkward silent time.

After every fight, I apologize first, because I know I’m very opinionated and sometimes I talk over you, which means you feel like I don’t respect your opinion. I’m trying to fix that, prefacing my statements with “in my opinion” or, after you’ve told me your opinion, I’ll say “I see where you’re coming from” to let you know that I do hear and respect your thoughts, even as I keep my own.

Tonight, you hit my cat for scratching you. I warned you that if you started playing with him you’d probably get scratched because he’s still a baby; apparently you ignored me. When he did scratch you, you hit him, and I grabbed him away from you and got onto you. I had warned you about him several times and then you exploded, yelling at me about how the cat should know better. A few moments of silence ensued, we started talking about other things, and as you left, I apologized.

I always apologize.

You. Never. Do.

This is why we’re not married yet: you’ve never learned to swallow your pride and apologize, even when you know you’re wrong.

I hope in the next couple of years you get better at expressing yourself so you don’t get frustrated and yell at me out of nowhere. So you can let me know when you feel slighted before it ends up exploding out. I know you have issues communicating your thoughts and that’s why I still happily wear this ring on my finger. I hope you learn to apologize, not necessarily for your actions, but for what your actions caused.

We’re young; we’ve got some growing up left to do. I know I’m to blame in this, too. But I’m not going to marry you when your temper explodes like that. I lived 19 years with that, and I’m not doing it again. You may think it was just a little hit to teach the cat that was wrong, but you did it in anger; if you hit a cat in anger, who’s to say you won’t hit a child in anger?

This is why we’re not.

I love you.

I can’t wait to walk down the aisle and finally take your name as my own. But I will wait. I can wait as long as it takes for you to realize that this is a problem that we’ve discussed before, and maybe now is the time to figure out some strategies to deal with this.

Because, let me tell you, I will NEVER live in a house where I am afraid of outbursts again. I’ve lived through the bruises from my mother when she exploded in anger. I’ve lived through locking myself in the bathroom as my brother exploded, punching through the wall, and breaking the windows out of his car, and I will NOT do it again.
You’ve never hit me, and you probably never will. But every time your anger explodes out of nowhere like that, I’m taken right back to those days living in fear that the yelling is just the first step. I’m not going back.

I love you. Ninety-nine percent of the time you are the greatest guy I could ever ask for, but this has to stop.

Ask The Band: How Do I Help My Owner?

Dear The Band,

I do not know what to do. My owner hit me today. I growled at another dog and she full-out whacked me across the muzzle. Not just once, but again and again.

I am so scared. She has never behaved like this before. She has been so sad for months and months because she lost her dearest friend and was betrayed by another, but she has never been so mean. I would know that she was sad by the way she wouldn’t want to walk me or play with me or train me or even spend time with me sometimes, but she was still a good mummy.

I am trying to be a good doggy, but I do not know what else to do but to ask The Band for help. I listen to her, and she is so scared. She is scared because she is hurting me, and she is scared because she sometimes thinks that I would be better off at the animal shelter than with her. Even though it scares me, too, when she hits me, I do not want to live with anybody else. I just want her not to hit me.

I worry for her, The Band.

She used to love nothing more than to spend time with me or with any dog, but I can count on my 18 toes (if you count my dewclaws) the number of times in the last six months that I have seen her truly happy. That she has loved to take me for a hike or to agility training. I worry for her because she used to believe that a career with dogs is what she wanted, and in the last few weeks I have seen her barely tolerate the dogs that she is pet-sitting. I worry for her because she hugs me and tells me that she just wants to go back to bed.

I know she worries for herself, too. She does not know whether she is upset because she is still grieving over her lost friends, or whether her sadness has become something more. I do not have the answers for her, and that is why I am here.

My muzzle hurts where she whacked it, and my flank hurts where she grabbed it, and my brain hurts where she was sad at me. I do not know who else to go to.

A Concerned Puppy Dog

Today Is Bullshit

Let’s take a look at some things that are total bullshit right now.

Psoriasis is bullshit. The itching, the peeling skin, the pain. People staring at me. People making nasty comments about me, asking to be moved to a different table so they don’t have to sit near me, avoiding any chance of touching me. All bullshit.

Medications to treat psoriasis are bullshit. All the damage it can cause, the extra blood tests needed, the worsening of the itching (and to think, I thought it wasn’t possible to itch MORE), the dryness, my lips chapping and bleeding even though I’m practically attached to the chapstick tube. All bullshit.

My best friend’s Grandma died yesterday, and the best I can do is help her by editing a couple of letters she needs to send, and being there online. Because she lives several states away, and I can’t just go hug her and tell her that she can relax and cry, and that I’ll take care of the huge list of things she has to do. That she doesn’t have to hold it together alone. Bullshit.

That people I don’t even know online have lost people so very special to them, and there’s not a damned thing I can do to help. I read their words, and I can relate to how they feel, but I can’t find the words to help. Instead I’m sobbing my heart out for people I’ve never met, and wishing that somehow, I could make it just a little better. All bullshit.

I’m afraid to walk from my car into the store because my purse might get stolen again. I should not have to live in fear. Fuck you, asshole, for stealing my purse, and part of my confidence. It was really fucking hard to get that confidence, and it will be even harder to get back there again. Total bullshit.

The Mate is in constant pain, and no matter how much I want to, there is no way for me to make it better. He’s on so many heavy-duty drugs, and still, he hurts all the time. Medical science can find a way to build robotic arms and legs, and no way to help him with the pain in his spine? Bullshit.

Animal abuse. I don’t even need to go into how many animals are out there suffering, and I can’t fix it. I do what I can, I have more animals than I can easily take care of, I transport, and still, there are so many more out there suffering. It’s all bullshit.

Parents that are assholes, abusive, nasty, whatever. I had them, and I hate that anybody else might have to go through something similar to what I’ve gone through. I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT. I just want to gather everybody up in my arms and some how make it better. And I can’t. And that’s bullshit.

There is so much more bullshit I’d like to cover, but I’m having trouble typing through my tears, so I’m going to go hug my dog, find some tissues, and try to figure out at least one bullshit thing that I might be able to fix.