I’ve been awfully busy — did you miss me? I know I’ve been slacking off the blog. Here’s my excuse:
It turns out, puppies are a LOT of work. Who knew? Apparently, everyone but me. I mean, I knew having a puppy would mean some work, but I think my expectations were completely unrealistic. In my defence, I have never, ever had a puppy. Kittens, yes. Dog, yes. But the only dog I ever had, Chip, was a grown dog when we rescued him. So, really, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
Having Grimby (short for Grimbergen, our favourite beer while in France) has been a great opportunity for me to learn about myself. Some of it has been good, some has been bad, much like the days themselves. I’ve discovered the following about myself:
- I am not a very patient person. I need to change this. I’m working on it.
- I’m a perfectionist. I know, I know: Everyone says this, but wow. I SERIOUSLY need to learn to let some things go. I’m working on this, too. Good thing Grimby’s a patient teacher.
- I don’t know what to do with anger.
This last one’s been a biggie. Pardon my language, but I have LOST MY SHIT so many times, I am mortified to admit it. I’m ashamed of my temper and who I become when I lose it. I don’t like me very much then, and it’s made me feel like I’m just like some members of my family who have some real anger management issues. Having grown up thinking I was so different from those people, at least in terms of my chill attitude and pleasant demeanour, this has proven exceptionally hard to swallow. I think herein lies my largest issue with poor little Grimby, who is just being a puppy and wondering what the hell he’s done and where he can hide from me when I’m blowing my lid. I’ve reacted in ways that make me cringe: shoving him away from me, or flipping him on his back, even when I know it’s not a good practice with dogs. I’ve yelled and shouted and seen him cowering. And oh, the profanity. Seriously, the sailor’s mouth on me. Pass me the bar of soap.
While I’m glad to be learning this now with a puppy, as opposed to a child, I’d really prefer to not have this red angry monster be a part of me. I’ve become terrified that if we should ever get around to having kids, I’ll be a terrible, angry, seeing-red mom, which is someone I very much don’t want to be (having grown up with a lot of anger around me and not liking it very much at all). I think that anger has probably always been there, being that I am, in fact, human, but I ignored it, since there were always people in my home who were often very, very angry, very, very often.
I’ve tried to figure out why I am SO poor at dealing with anger and I think I might know why (thanks to a recent epiphany): Those other people around me were so angry when I was growing up, that there wasn’t really room for me to be angry, too. Though now I realize that I should have had that right, too. Instead, I swallowed any anger I might have experienced and probably displayed through more acceptable attitudes: fear, timidity, avoidance and guilt/shame. Because there was so much stress, strife and anger in my home, there was no room for me to express angry feelings, which means I never learned how to manage or express anger in a more productive or acceptable manner. No one else knew how to deal with theirs, so I had no model to follow. I didn’t have a chance. But I realize that I do have a chance, and a choice, now. I’m actually amazed that I’ve never ever thought of this before.
Sharing this here makes me want to cry, because I hate it and it’s embarrassing. I feel vulnerable and ashamed of myself. I want to hide that this anger is a part of me, but I think that’s actually the problem. It’s time to own up and admit that I’m human and that humans sometimes get frustrated and angry. I’m working on it, though, which means owning it, accepting it and learning to translate my anger into more productive actions and emotions.
Because you know why? This little guy is awesome. Grimby is the cutest puppy in the world. Everyone loves him (well, maybe not Maui and Hermes) and I do, too.
I just want him to be the perfect dog. And you know what I’m learning? He already is. He accepts my flaws, without judging me, and he’s teaching me to do the same for him, and maybe more importantly, for me, too.
Who knew how much a small, snorty, wriggly little creature can teach you. I’m learning that, too.