Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a rough year that pretty much began with January 2nd when three friends and I, in the spirit of "A Brand New Year," decided to try something different and go to a comedy club. I ran into the ex, the love of my life, owner of Scary Alice, my tarantula soul mate.  Everything kind of went downhill from there.  Seeing him after three years was such a shock, I think it shook my equilibrium.

Throughout the year, I seemed to just be off.  Nothing catastrophically horrible happened, but it was a series of picks, one after another, that chipped away at my faith, my hope, and my mental health. Two very good friends, people I would have trusted my life with, used me and dropped me, I met an amazing young man that I liked so much - would have seen a future with him had he been older - at such bad timing that I had to let him go and I still miss him.  There have been issues with my job, my family, my friends, this town, and through it all I've been battling anxiety, depression, loneliness unlike anything I've experienced before, and the constant temptation to slip back into the bottle which is where I spent a good deal of my time after the love of my life exited my life, complete with Alice.

But I digress. Mr. Love of My Life has his own story in my short story, "Snake Bit."

Thanksgiving has never been my holiday.  I'm of Swiss heritage - my parents were both born in Switzerland - so we never really celebrated this strange American holiday where everyone stuffs themselves to the gills with turkey and then passes out on the couch in a food coma.  My family doesn't mind food comas, we just aren't turkey fans.  So I usually treat Thanksgiving as a much needed day off for mental health because everyone is off spending the day with family and friends.

I am left in peace to contemplate where exactly my life went off course.  Don't get me wrong, I do get invites and it's nice of everyone to invite me, but there is something about spending the day by yourself knowing that the usual street traffic and people rushing about is not an issue because everyone is indoors battling the food coma.  Besides, I always feel like I'm imposing.  Thanksgiving is a family holiday.  My family is 1,000 miles away.  One spends Thanksgiving with the ones they love.

And today I realized as I took my dog for a much needed run in the snow, that I am spending the day with the one I love.  As usual on a holiday, there was almost no one about.  A few cars drove by, but the streets were deserted.  For one of the few days of the year I was able to let her run free off  leash for most of the walk.  I leashed her on the one busy street.  In my neighborhood it was so deserted that I think we passed one car driving by the whole time we were walking.

At the dog park we encountered a nice lady with two labs - a black one and a white one - and Tess did so well with both of them.  I wasn't sure what to expect given her aversion to other dogs, particularly labs.  She ran around the dog park and wrestled with the younger dog.  Then she raced the cars through the fence. Then she played with the other dog some more.  She got her much needed run and exercise and I got a bit of social interaction with the owner of the dogs.  A lovely trio, if ever I saw one.  Her dogs were well-behaved and sweet.  She was friendly, but not too in-your-face. After a spell Tess and I left the dog park and continued our (off leash) walk.

I mentally went through the list of things I'm thankful for today.  My dog, after a long spell of loneliness herself because of her isolation from other dogs, got some much needed social interaction with others of her own kind.  She did great.  She got to run and play and roll in the snow, once again acting like the one-year-old pup I remember adopting almost eight years ago.  She was happy and I am thankful for that.

I am thankful that Tess is almost nine years old, yet still behaves like a puppy and looks ageless.

I am thankful that given the fact she is a purebred German shepherd, she has zero health problems (aside from her awful teeth).  No hip dysplasia, no eye problems, no ear problems.

I am thankful that I have been able to share my life these last few years with such an amazing dog. After all she is one of my dreams along with "publish best-selling novel" and "open chocolate shop."

I am thankful for the fact that having her with me is one of the reasons I feel like I am starting to climb my way out of this black hole of despair that I've been trapped in for almost a year.  Today was one of the first days since January where I have gone for a walk with my dog and remembered why I love this town so much.

I am thankful that when I feel like I've lost all hope in humanity, people have let me down and hurt me, and I am battling that terrible loneliness, I have this dog who reminds me that there are wonderful, nice people in this world.  She finds them all the time.  All I have to do is look in her eyes and there is hope because with her, how can anyone be lonely?

And then I realized the other things I'm thankful for:

My family even if they are 1,000 miles away.

My true, good friends, even if the circle is shrinking.  I still know who the solid, important ones are.

My job.  There are issues, sure, but I love my job.  It's a good job, my coworkers are great, and my boss is great.

My cats, who are an endless source of amusement.

I have a few bucks in the bank, my physical health (mental is touch and go), a roof over my head, and food.

Things aren't so bad.  It's taken almost a whole year to see it, but I do finally see that light.  Things aren't so bad.  In fact, things are pretty okay.

And I'm thankful for that.

I am also extremely thankful for the huge pan of double fudge brownies I just pulled out of the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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