i have to ask the question every once in awhile cuz i figure as long as i am asking, i am relatively safe. but i tell you, hanging out with as many different animals with as many different personalities, for as long as i have, changes you.
i used to be nice. i used to be soft. i used to care too much about the rest of the world. but then i discovered that nice and soft and caring too much about things beyond my control was not only futile, but crippling too. so respect replaced nice, and compassion replaced soft, and purpose replaced the useless worry. and all of those things that replaced the old, are rock hard in their roots from which they grow.
and i guess to a certain extent we impose our interpetation of words on what those words become. like respect to me is tough, it demands honesty and truth and accountability and it doesn't make nor accept excuses. compassion is not just about being kind and gentle, to a certain extent, it is about fearlessness in seeing reality, understanding, and accepting and still despite all that, doing what needs to be done. and purpose is brutal, it is not a kind word, because the purpose becomes the whole of everything. it is not something that you can pick up and lay down, it is carried in fair or foul weather, 24 hours a day.
and it changes how you view the rest of the world. because now i look at humans as just another animal species. but the part that kind of scares me sometimes is when i start recognizing some of the dogs or the cats in the humans that i meet along the way. so someone who is high strung, and tense, reactive, and not always nice, i see with phoebe's face. and i find myself wondering if they had the same sort of life where they bully and are mean because they never felt loved. or i look at jack and see forever a victim because she has always felt small and weak and unsafe, and i wonder when i meet a person who reminds me of her, if they have always felt the same too. or i meet someone who never thinks farther than the next game or fun thing to do and i wonder if they are deep in their hearts, just a lab who doesn't realize that life can't always be just about fulfilling their needs, sometimes there are other things that need tending to. and cole with his cop ways, and maude with her constant complaining, and bonnie who wants to be second in command without earning it, and all of them like so many people out there. the ones who like francis just never got a break or the ones like michael who lived a life of nothing but frustration and closed doors, i see all of them in humans too.
am i crazy because i see so much that is canine in the eyes of the humans i meet? and am i heartlessly cruel because i see the want and the need there and most times i just turn away? because when push comes to shove, it is not humans who are my purpose at saints just like it is not animals who are my purpose when i am nursing. and there too, i see the dogs on the chains, and the eyes that beseech me to please look deep, acknowledge and act. and i don't, because in that moment , they are outside my purpose and beyond my scope of practice, so with them too, i just turn away.
and this changes you too. because every time you decide you can't help here, it does hurt and haunt you to just turn away.
if i was a good and nice and kind and crazy person, i would be out there fixing every problem, righting every wrong. but i am none of the above, so i don't. i picked my two corners to work in and they are the only two places i go. and never at the same time.
i don't think i am a lunatic yet, but i think at times i am a hard, unbending woman. and this makes me sad because i wanted to grow up like melanie wilkes but i became scarlett o'hara instead. melanie was a good and kind person, but scarlett kept herself and her family safe.
lunacy looms around every single corner, and i try to be aware of the danger it brings. because it is a risk living these two separate lives because both of them can suck you right into the vortex of desperate needs and you have to have defences to withstand that or else you all go under and then who will save you or the ones that you decided to save?
rescue is not about an endless heart, it is about using and abusing your brain. and it is the brain that sometimes gets forgotten, like the silent partner in all of this, but it is the one thing that you really need to keep safe.