Healthy Painful Decisions

Decisions that are healthy for us are usually the hardest ones to make. The small decisions like to have or not to have ice cream after dinner, grilled chicken vs McDonalds are even sometimes difficult. When it comes to the big ones, it’s downright heartbreaking in a lot of cases. And even though the decision makes sense, it doesn’t make it easy.

When everything in your head is telling… no, SCREAMING the same thing over and over, it is usually a telling sign you know what the right answer is. But you also want to avoid impulsive decisions if it hasn’t been something screaming at you for long. Fighting things like that are what I do best. I wanted to see the good and to see the end game. I was ignoring what was right in front of me, and not seeing it for what it was. In my case, the end game isn’t reality. It’s a dream. A dream from a fairytale. Fairy tales don’t exist, and the dream I wanted isn’t real. I wanted to believe that work could be done to save it. But, at the end of every day, I wasn’t happy.

fightWhen the decision is made and executed, you know it was right or you know it was wrong. When it feels right, it doesn’t mean you feel good about it. And it doesn’t mean the recovery will be peaceful or painless. In fact, in my experience, you are rushed with many emotions that cycle throughout you for the next few days. Your body needs time to adjust to the shock, the adrenaline, the fear, excitement.. whatever else kind of emotions there are when you make your decision. Mine was a deep sense of loss, relief, and a want to run far away to get away from everything for a few days and process these overwhelming emotions.

worthAs I stated in my previous blog post a few days ago, accepting the pain and knowing you are doing it for something that makes you better is how you should handle these things. Breathe through it, just breathe. This is incredibly painful, but I knew it would be. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m letting myself feel the pain, breathing through it and I’m letting go. I’m finally letting this go. I know I have done everything I could and more, and I know I can’t say I could have done any better.

I feel as if I not only did everything right, but I put all the tools I learned into play, and I feel like I am making the best decision for me. I also feel I am making the best decision for him. It’s not my place to say what he’s going through, but this is what I felt I needed to do for both of us. Because I love him, I have to leave him. I have to let him go. For me and my own personal reasons, but also because he can’t thrive with me right now. He can’t do this with me, and as much as it hurts when mistakes were made, it hurts more that we can’t face these challenges together.

letgoSo, I made the decision, and I’m accepting the pain. I’m also looking at the bigger picture and realizing this is what we both needed. It was too soon to reconcile. And I’m accepting that too. I feel disappointed and very sad, but I also have the closure and peace of mind knowing I did everything. I literally gave it all the energy I had. I sacrificed time and energy I normally would have used on myself, or on my business, and focused on the relationship. At the end of the day, I was exhausted from working on the relationship so much, I never had anything left for me. I’m at peace, and I will be ok. I’m not regretting anything, and I’m handling the emotions by just letting myself feel them, knowing I did my very best to do everything I could on my end. Shit happens. Let it go and carry on.

Tattoo Enlightenment

I’ve been getting some work done on a big leg piece, and today, we were filling in quite a bit of color. After about 45 minutes or so, it’s starting to get raw and painful. So, I’m vocal about it. The owner of the shop was walking through, and he’s almost 100% covered in vibrant, gorgeous tattoos. Yeah, even in the “sensitive” bits (holy crap was I impressed!) He noticed I was really struggling, and started up a very enlightening conversation with me.

moomba tattoo sketch ffviii

Fan art drawing I found

He told me everything that’s worth anything in life requires going through pain. The things we have gone through in our own lives are way more painful than what getting a tattoo feels like. Go through the pain to come out the other side a better person. When talking about tattoos specifically, you are going through the pain to express yourself and feel better about yourself by adding this onto your body. If you just breathe through it and accept the pain, it’s way easier on both you and the artist. With anything in life, you have to go through some hard things to learn valuable lessons. He said stop fighting it, and accept it hurts, and it won’t be nearly as bad. You’ll be in a better mental state, and you’ll feel more accomplished after it’s finished.

Huh… fight… flight… avoidance… acceptance. Familiar? These are also the four choices any dog has when faced with a stressor. My job is to help them reach acceptance, which can take quite a bit of time in some cases. Personally, I fight (a lot), and then flight sometimes (In a tattoo’s case, I literally try to have the rest of my body crawl away from the pain)… I never reach acceptance when dealing with pain. I put up a huge fuss about it and bitch and act like a baby. So, this time, I breathed through it, and focused on the end result.

moomba ffviii

Original Moomba from the game

This tattoo means something really deep to me. I haven’t been able to accurately express what this creature signifies to me when explaining it to another person. It’s a childhood feeling of nostalgia. When I’m down, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or feeling belittled, I think about this creature subconsciously. I never realized I did it until recently, however. I’ve had a fanart picture in my drawing notebook for years, and I found it when I was packing up some of my things.

The creature itself is called a Moomba and represents purity, bravery, friendship, selflessness, courage, integrity, nobility and strength. I also think these creatures are incredibly intelligent, but not in a ‘booksmart’ way, but with morals. They help people who deserve it, they would give every last thing they own to someone who is in need, they will defend the weak, they stand by their word, never lie, and they don’t give up when things get hard, they dream big. What it means to me is who I want to be at my core. All of these things are core values of who I believe I am. This creature is the definition of beauty to me.

Once I started to think about all this, the pain kind of disappeared. I wasn’t even thinking about the pain anymore, just putting this amazing permanent reminder of what type of person I want to be on my body. And how good it made me feel. Then, there was hardly any pain at all, and it was more excitement.

So, acceptance. Accept that it will hurt, and then let it go, and move on. This was a very cool, very simple life lesson I’m trying to practice here. And actually quite relevant to other areas of my life as well…

My Moomba

My (almost) finished Moomba. Still freshly irritated and swollen at this point

Rainbow Bridge

The loss of a dog is sometimes harder than the loss of a person. Why? I believe it’s because the dog can never hurt you. The dog never gave you any reason to be less of a person and ‘act out’.

A dog can be your best friend, even while they are getting in trouble. Their whole purpose in life is to try to make you happy. They want to be with you every second they can, they want to make you feel better when you are sad, and they want you to know they can help clean up after dinner.

It’s always hard to lose a family member, furry or non-furry, it still hurts. No matter how they go, it doesn’t make it any easier. Which leads me to the reason of my post today; the loss of a family pet.

My mother’s dog just passed away on Saturday, after sixteen years of life. It wasn’t unexpected, just… you never really are prepared for it. For the last few years, I had been dreading this phone call. And Saturday, while I was driving to my training class, my mom called me and told me the news.

Shock. Sadness. Sorrow. Guilt. Loss. Denial. Acceptance.

All the feelings I had at once. When an animal is always in your family, you get used to them, and don’t expect they will ever leave you. You don’t expect it, and when it happens, you tell yourself this can’t be happening. But then almost immediately, reality sets in, and you tell yourself she was old, and her health had been declining.

My mom did an awesome job taking care of her the last few years. Handmaking her food, paying for her medicine every month, carrying her around the house, making sure she is tethered somewhere safe so she won’t fall down the stairs.

My heart was heavy and sad, but it wasn’t only because of the loss of a family dog. It was because this dog meant so much to my mom.

Just like any animal lover, you form an attachment with your animals that you can’t put into words, you can’t explain why you prefer your dog over your family sometimes, but you do. And this phone call was painful to me in that way because I know the same feeling. And the loss kind of feels like you have lost part of yourself.

I talked to my mom, I helped her handle the situation, and I was late to training. When I got there, it was hard to focus because this dog was also my dog for 10 years, and then I moved out and went to college. When you have a puppy, or a dog who is so full of life, you don’t think about the moment when they won’t be around anymore. But because of this incident, I have started thinking about this. This makes me treasure every moment I have with my own dog so much more.

As hard as this is, we knew it was coming. But again, it doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make it bearable, or make the pain go away.  It just means it wasn’t unexpected. My heart is with my mom, even though we are miles away. I’m sad about the death of a family pet, but I’m also sad for my mom. I want to be there and hug her and tell her it’s ok, and help her through this because I know the feeling she has right now. I know the feeling of complete vulnerability and sadness. No one can help, no one can do anything to make this feeling go away, and I know that all too well. However, I just want to be there.

So, in loving memory of Hershey, I am posting the Rainbow Bridge poem, because it helps. Even though I’m not religious, I do believe there is a special spiritual place where dogs can go. Their souls are innocent, and if there is a place like that – they all deserve to be there.

Rest in Peace, Hershey.