An “Inconvenient” Commitment

Where do you draw the line on responsibility? At what point do you decide it’s okay to abandon their needs for your own personal convenience? At what point do you simply stop caring about the welfare of something you once loved? And what in the hell makes you think it’s okay to do so?

I recently learned that someone I know has given up on their commitment to care for an animal they were once so excited to have in their life. That alone breaks my heart, but there’s more… Not only are they giving up on a living breathing creature who depended on them, but this person doesn’t have the integrity to admit they should have never made the commitment in the first place. Maybe they have “too much going on in their life.” Maybe they’re embarrassed. Maybe they feel bad. Well, they SHOULD feel bad! How do you think that loving little animal feels? 😢

I’d like to take this opportunity to educate people on what it really means to adopt and commit to caring for a pet. I ask everyone reading this to just take a moment to put yourself in the place of that animal. And I know that there are people out there who will say, “oh it’s just a dog” or “it’s just a cat.” I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. THEY ARE PART OF YOUR FAMILY.

I frequently see the faces of these little souls and I can tell you, I know what they are thinking. They are thinking the exact thing you would if you were lost, abandoned and just want somewhere to call home. They WANT to be part of a family. People who adopt an animal that has already lost their family once, only to be left alone again, are downright cruel!

Just for a moment, think about the following:

1.  How would you like to be dumped simply because someone decided they didn’t have the energy anymore?

2.  How would you like being given away because someone decided you were too much work or needed too much attention?

3.  How would you like to be replaced with a younger, cuter model?

Animals are not an impulse buy or an accessory that you toss aside after a few years because you grow tired or bored of them. I simply cannot stress this enough.  Adopting an animal is a commitment for the ENTIRE life of that animal. You are committing to be responsible for that animal just as you are responsible for a child. If you are not ready to take on that responsibility, please don’t bother adopting them and giving them a false sense of hope and security. 

I’ve heard it all and I have to say, there are some pretty lame excuses out there, including, “I’m moving and can’t have them at the new place.” My response? You knew you had pets when you were looking for a place. Find one that accepts them. Or, “I’m moving to a different state.” My response? Take them with you. I moved two cats cross-country from California to North Carolina. Don’t tell me you can’t move them. You CAN. It’s not easy, but you do it. Or this one, “I’m or my boyfriend/girlfriend is allergic.” My response? Okay well admittedly aside from my initial thought, which is dump the boyfriend/girlfriend… take an allergy pill! Or hey here’s an idea, don’t adopt one in the first place if you are that deathly allergic. I’m allergic and I have THREE cats. There are ways around it. You don’t just dump a family member.

If any of this is making you feel bad, then maybe you need to take a long look in the mirror. Maybe you need to reevaluate your life and your priorities before making a commitment to love and provide for another life. There are very few unselfish, acceptable reasons in which you would need to find a new home for your beloved family member, a few of which may include:

1.  You have lost your job and have absolutely no means of income to provide food or shelter for the animal. (Then again, I’ve seen many homeless who would give their last meal to their dog.)

2.  You are quite literally mentally and/or physically unable to care for the animal and the animal’s life is in jeopardy.

3.  Your, or your child’s life, is legitimately in danger.

Animals have feelings and emotions, just as humans do. If you think for one second that they don’t know they are being dumped, you’re wrong. I have seen firsthand the eyes of sadness, the tears of loneliness and the shivers of fear. For that reason, I feel people should know exactly what they are signing up for when they decide to become a pet owner.

It is a promise to love them.

It is a promise to provide them with proper nutrition and health.

It is a promise to shelter them and keep them safe.

It is a promise to play with them, to teach them, to learn from them and to make time for them, even when you’re tired.

It is a commitment to giving them a loving and safe environment.

If you are unable to do any one of these things, you are not ready. And there is no shame and not being ready. But PLEASE, be honest with yourself for both your sake and the sake of the animal. Do not make a commitment you don’t intend to keep. 


Thrown Away

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Car ride? Did she say CAR RIDE?????? Yippe!!!!! Car rides are my favorite! I loooooooooooooe car rides!!! Where we going? Can I sit in the front? Max got to sit in front last time and I’ve been reeeeeeeeeally good! Haven’t chewed ANY of your good shoes alllllllll week!

I was over the moon with excitement!! Tail wagging, butt wiggling, slobbering all over! And she loves me! My human is the BEST! Then…

Wait… What? Hey where are you going?! But… but… I don’t understand…this is not the park.

But, I love you…

County Shelter, Cell Block DE:

Day 1 — Waiting for my human to come back. She must be lost. You know, her sense of direction of not that great. I’m SURE she will be back. We’re a team! She loves me.

Day 2 — I don’t understand. What did I do? Where’s my brother? I must have been bad.

Day 3 — She IS coming back, right?

Day 4 — I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, whatever I did, I’m sorry and if you just love me I promise I’ll never ever do it again!

Day 5 — No, I don’t want a treat. I don’t want to walk. I just want to go home.

Day 6 — It’s noisy here. The floor is cold. I don’t understand why I’m here. I miss my human.

Hi there, my name is Lucky. I know, seems ironic now… I had a human my whole life, as long as I can remember. She used to hold me and tell me how cute I was. We would go everywhere together. I even had a bed. Of course I never slept in it; she was much more comfortable. We would eat together; walk together, two peas in a pod I tell ya! A few months ago, she even got me a baby brother! Max was kind of annoying at first but I learned to love him because she did. I taught him everything I know! I wanted her to be proud of me. I didn’t even complain when she kicked me off the bed to cuddle with him. I KNOW she’ll love me forever! Or so I thought.

Word on the street is this “shelter” place is where the bad dogs go, but I swear I wasn’t bad! My cellmate says my human probably traded me in for a newer model. Huh? But I’m her best friend. Why would she… OHHHHH (sigh). Max. I’ve been replaced with Max. How could she? I comforted her when she was sad. I wore those awful outfits for her. I pretended to like that stupid guy for her. I played with her, protected her and loved her. I don’t understand.

And you wouldn’t believe the stories I hear in here. Ralphie? He was kicked by his human and when he tried to protect himself, he was dumped here. My friend, Abby? She’s had so many puppies and was treated so badly by what they call a “breeder,” she’s now depressed and doesn’t trust anybody. They say she’s not adoptable because of her saggy over-nursed belly. The worst part is that they took her puppies from her. She’ll never see them again. And my friend, Fighter? He was taught to attack other dogs. He didn’t want to do it, but he loved his human and wanted to please him. Now they say he’s aggressive and can’t be trusted. He used to be strong and agile. Now he sits in the back of his kennel just shaking and wondering why he is being punished for obeying orders. I’m starting to think it’s the humans that can’t be trusted.


Courage, Life Lessons, Self Love

Dear Diary, I Surrender

Sometimes, I think the little voice in my head is drunk…

“I have no husband, no children and an impulsive urge to switch things up!!! I’m a people person, I love to socialize. I need a change. This will be exciting, I can just say screw everything and start over! Clean slate, clean mind, open heart. Let’s do this!”

Cool. We’ll just start over; piece of cake. Right…

You’ve heard the old saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Well, I can tell you from experience, greener does not always equal better. In fact, sometimes it’s an illusion. You want so badly for it to be better that you build it up in your mind only to be disappointed when the wake-up­ call of reality hits you… OMG what have I done?

Not in a million years did I think I’d be unemployed and struggling at 45. On May 24, 2016 I took what I believed was one step closer to discovering my place in the Universe. I felt stuck in my job. Granted, it was a very safe “comfortable” job that supported my love of dance and ensured financial security, but I wanted more… I wanted to FEEL again. I was no longer enjoying the day-to-day robotic functions of my career. The impulsive side of me was feeling restless and wanted to explore opportunities elsewhere. I was having what Oprah would call a “light bulb moment.” And I have to say, suddenly realizing you are not as happy as you wish to be and deciding to make huge life-changing decisions is quite exhilarating! The thought of living a totally different life was intoxicating, an emotional high. I can do this. I can really do this…I CAN start over! Why not? And of course, there’s no better feeling than saying “whatever I want!” to co-workers when asked what I’ll be doing for a living. I was empowered!

Empowered or naïve? Well… Good question. Moving from sunny, almost always perfect weather, peace-loving California to a much more conservative North Carolina seems like, well…let’s be honest here, a terrible idea. I mean, no offense to the South, but being a non-religious independent thinker and feminist in support of civil rights, let’s just say this is not exactly my comfort zone. That being said, I have met some truly good people here. I’ve made lasting friendships and even managed to have a relationship (using that term loosely). Short-lived as it was, I feel I’ve made yet another friend and that we’ve both learned from each other, as well as taught a thing or two.

Let me take you down a little trip I call, “my new exciting life, interrupted…”

· May — I’m free!! I’m free!! Happiness, shopping, dare I say even giddiness at the “anything is possible” prospect of my new surroundings.

· June — unexpected events, actions and reactions involving friends, family, job market and general lack of urgency exhibited by every contact I’ve made so far.

· July — savings gone, now in debt to mom, sister and three others in Cali for loans to survive. Depression takes over. Accept temp job out of panic.

· August — Speeding ticket (for which I find out in this state you have to hire a lawyer… for f’n 10 mph over, 55 in a 45 with NO visible sign posted…yes you read that correctly).

· September — Rear-ended driving home from temp job I hate. Car totaled. Neck and back fucked up, slight concussion, commence shit ton of debt due to medical bills. Hire lawyer, mostly as a way to receive medical attention.

· October — Realization that I’m now overweight, alcohol flows like water and hope has gone pretty much out the window.

· November — Physical therapy going well, feeling better. Glimmer of hope for settlement to cover debts… Glimmer short-lived as other side drags feet.

· December — PT done and feeling optimistic. Wait for it… Temp job ends five days before Christmas. Total breakdown; miss my family, feeling like a loser.

· January — Hope is back! NYC trip with my rock, my life coach and amazingly optimistic best friend to “recharge” and make a plan to turn this shit around. Begin online course, volunteer at local animal shelter, unemployment kicks in.

· February — Focus on myself. Start writing again.

· March — I’m a published author! Coauthored an amazing book with seven inspiring woman! Feeling good! Things are looking up!

· April — F***, still unemployed. Losing grip again, lease renewal due. Hello, panic.

· May — STILL unemployed, lawsuit dragging, collection letters mounting, sexually harassed at a neighborhood party, start selling stuff to pay bills… which brings us to today.

I REFUSE TO GIVE UP. I still have a roof over my head. I have love and emotional support and I am stronger than this! Choosing to move forward and embrace a “new way of being” is choosing to accept the loss of your “old life.” This is not something to mourn. It is a life lesson; a step forward into receiving your true purpose. In order to switch directions and discover your soul’s passion, you have to be willing to let go of comfort. You have to be willing to stand on the edge and scream, no, I will not give up! You have to be willing to be vulnerable and unguarded. It’s scary as hell to live paycheck to paycheck, or in my case, unemployment payment to unemployment payment, but it’s also very eye-opening. While I’ve always been grateful for the “little things,” I’ve been lucky enough to have never experienced the panic of not knowing where my next meal is coming from or how I will pay rent and still have enough for gas and food. Now I do. I am not the person I was a year ago, nor is my life anything close to what it as a year ago. I accept that, finally. And I’m ready to move forward.

I believe the Universe teaches, as well as it listens. The lessons we are taught throughout the trials and tribulations of our lives are sometimes difficult to see while in the eye of the storm. We go through emotional meltdowns. We wonder “why me?” We resist ourselves and doubt our abilities. Sometimes, we need a slap in the face. That being said, dear Universe, the slap could’ve been a tiny bit less dramatic. 😉 But got it. LOUD AND CLEAR. As I sit here filling out an application for food stamps, I am reminded of how lucky I am. I think about those who have struggled their entire lives. I feel guilty for the pity party I let take over my mind and and health. I think about cancer patients and abused children. I think about single mothers trying to make ends meet. I think about the many homeless people struggling to simply be acknowledged as part of the human race. I think about minorities and the unbearable racism and discrimination they have to endure on a daily basis. As I sit here writing this, I slap myself awake and start to cry. But I’m not crying for me. I’m sobbing for the cruelty that has become our world. I don’t want to live in that world. I want to thrive and help others thrive. I want to feel love and give love. I want to be happy. Isn’t that all any of us really want?

Among the MANY life lessons I’ve learned over the past year, most importantly I’ve learned this. Do what feels right. Let yourself be vulnerable. Be open to love. And stop listening to that discouraging voice in your head. She’s full of shit. In short, follow your heart and be willing to become that person the Universe always knew you were.

Resist, Uncategorized

This is NOT okay

“I’ll be right back,” I told my friend, walking into the house. “I’m just going to use the restroom before we leave.”

What the f…?! Lights go out; door shuts. I hear the knob click, it’s locked.

Immediately realizing I’m not alone, my body goes into a sort of shock but at the same time I am having a conversation with myself. What did I do to bring this on? Hey says to me, “I haven’t had sex with my wife in 12 years. You are so attractive. I want you so bad I can’t stand it. Nobody needs to know, we can do this right now.” What the hell?! At what point during the last few hours of having just met me makes you think this is okay?

Other things were said but quite honestly are irrelevant. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this was even happening. I am NOT that girl. Why did he think I was? What did I do? These are all questions that unfortunately MILLIONS of women ask themselves every day. Simply put, this is NOT okay.

No, asshole. I am not going to submit to your advances.

No, I am not “down with this.”

No, I don’t feel sympathy that your wife is repulsed by you.

No, this is NOT okay.

Question — If some stranger did this to you on the street, a person who hadn’t just been introduced to you by friends at a neighborhood party, if you hadn’t just been talking and socializing with this person, his wife and several friends, what would you do? Situations like this occur more often than anyone would like to admit. They get swept under the rug so as not to ruffle feathers. This type of abuse is not talked about because we, as females, have been conditioned to feel shame. Abuse is not limited to acts of obvious, angry physical occurrences. Abuse is about control. It is about having the upper hand. It is unwanted force upon another human being. Sadly, it is also common and often looked upon as normal.

How many times have you heard this? “Oh, he didn’t mean anything by it. He’s just being a guy.” For years, and especially now in this “alternative world” we find ourselves living in, where groping women at will and brushing it off as harmless is accepted, we have succumbed to a “rape culture,” in which the victim is blamed and/or questioned instead of the attacker. It is a mentality that makes it somehow okay or not that bad. A rape victim has to recount every horrible detail in front of strangers before accountability and punishment is given for such behavior, IF they decide to believe her. Women and young girls are asked about their attire and how short their hemlines were. What did WE do to entice him? You’ve all heard it. “Oh it’s not that big a deal. You should be flattered. Can he help it if he finds you attractive?” YES, he CAN. Or “well when you dress like that…” This one REALLY pisses me off! As females, we are already self‑conscious because of the unrealistic standards to which society holds us. Now on top of worrying about our waistline, we also must worry about how our clothes may be perceived by strangers? And it doesn’t stop there. I could be wearing a damn turtleneck, covered head to toe, showing no skin other than my face and STILL incur unwanted advances. Did I do something to make him think this was okay? Am I dressed too provocatively? Oh my god I did smile and laugh while we were talking; was it too much? Did I unknowingly give him the wrong idea? I HATE this conversation. I hate that I try to justify what happened. I hate that when I saw a bruise appear two days later from the grip he had on my arm I tried to justify it. I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt me. I probably just bruise easily. I HATE that voice. And I know where it comes from…society. We must teach our children better. We must teach common decency and respect for everyone, no matter gender, race, whatever.

I am sharing my story because no one deserves to be unknowingly followed into the bathroom at a party. No one deserves to be backed into a corner, or in my case, a sink. No one deserves to sport bruises from being forcefully grabbed. And NO ONE deserves to feel like less of a person because someone took advantage of them. So in conclusion, men, these types of advances are NOT flattering. They are insulting, annoying and in some cases outright terrifying. The situation I found myself in, while extremely wrong, was a far cry from the types of abuse that goes unreported every single day. This behavior is UNACCEPTABLE.

I am also aware that some women reading this will perceive it as dramatic and overanalyzed. To those women, I say this: be grateful you have never been through such an ordeal. Be grateful you are lucky enough to have always been in control of your surroundings and have never once felt threatened or helpless. Be grateful you have never felt fear mixed with so much anger that your mind and body quite literally “shut down” for a few seconds, sometimes even minutes. Be grateful that you’ve never had to second-guess yourself because of someone else’s actions toward you. Be grateful you’ve never had this conversation with yourself — I shouldn’t have hugged him when we were introduced. Was I flirting? I didn’t mean to, I was just being myself. Oh my God what if I did? I’m a terrible person…

Be grateful. But please, do not judge. And please do not brush it off as guys being guys.

At the beginning of the evening, he asked, “have you met the pig,” referring to the one sprawled out on the grill and being served as the main entree. Little did I know, I WOULD have an encounter with a pig that evening, just not the one on the grill.