So…I have to admit, I am a bit discouraged and very much disappointed. I have been spending some time researching different blogs and what the best way to approach a blog is. Sadly, it appears I have completely missed the blogging boat.
It sounds as though blogging to share experiences or opinions is a thing of the past. Blogging has become less about the craft of writing and connecting and more about promoting products, giving positive reviews and kissing booty to make a buck. The general consensus appears to be; no one actually reads a blog for the words on the screen, most don’t even read a post in its entirety (which I have learned firsthand as my husband admitted he only partially read my last post) rather they skim looking for bold or capitalized words only comprehending part of the story.
The whole point of starting this blog was to write and be read but alas it would seem my words will likely fall on deaf ears or rather blind eyes. Just another reason I truly believe I was born to the wrong decade.
I don’t want to promote products to simply earn a dollar, or write about things that are not important or impactful. I want to share with you (if there’s anyone out there actually reading my words) my experiences, in hopes that my life’s bloopers and blunders will be helpful, meaningful or comforting to you in some way.
The technology of today is amazing and useful in so many ways but I find myself wishing it were possible to go back to a time when books where read by hand, letters were read on paper and connecting with people was a little more emotional and heartfelt.
Day time daydreaming…
I am a bit embarrassed to admit that my husband was once part of the “poop on pibbles campaign.” He made it explicitly clear that we would never foster a Pit Bull let alone own one. Being the exceptionally wonderful wife that I am, I completely disregarded his warning and brought Massey home. She was our 4th foster and our first, and thus far only, foster failure. It has been about 2 years and she is an invaluable and incredibly loved member of our family.
On her 2 night in our home she woke me up from a nap and ran to our lab. Moments later he had a seizure. He has had seizure before but up until that point we never had a way to know when they were going to happen. Massey changed that and it was at that moment I knew she was never leaving our house.
Strolling down the street in black and white polka dot rubber rain boots, neon green sunglasses and a pink top, I am everything but intimidating yet the mother walking towards me grabs her son by the arm and drags him across the street faster than a speeding ticket. The first time this happened I was taken back, surprised and a little hurt. Now I just get annoyed.
Maybe it’s her Purple argyle leash or hot pink collar that make her so threatening, or perhaps it’s the kidney bean dance she does when she sees people she wants to say ‘hello’ to. There’s really nothing threatening about her, I promise.
Her name is Massey and she is a 4 year old boxer/Catahoula leopard mix, a Pit Bull and my soul dog.
I want to clarify something; Pit Bull is NOT a breed but rather a classification of a group of dogs that all possess similar body characteristics, i.e. muscular legs and torso or boxy head. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PUREBRED PIT BULL. Boxers, American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, American Stafford Terriers, etc. are all members of this not so honorary team.
To hear my husband say “our home will always have a pibble,” warms my heart and only stokes the fire within me to continue to be an advocate for the breed(s).
My father always spoke to the importance of experiences in your life. A prime example and likely the most relatable example I can share is telling a child not to touch a hot stove. Naturally, the child’s first instinct is to touch the stove. We learn through experience and I fear we as a society are distancing ourselves from the idea that our experiences are the catalyst that help us to develop our opinions. Now, we simply believe what others, more specifically the media, publishes and leave it at that. I would bet 90% of all people who have ill views of Pit Bulls have never had a personal experience with the breed(s) and that is truly and utterly heartbreaking. What’s more upsetting is this display of seer ignorance hurts no one other than the dogs. Thousands upon thousands of dogs suffer because people are too close minded and ill-hearted to really care at all about the reasons why they feel the way they do.
One of the reasons you hear so much about Pit Bull attacks in the “news” is simply because A; it’s what sells right now and B; they are one of the most commonly found dogs in American homes. Obviously, the more there are the higher their bite numbers will be. There are also a significant number of reported dog bites by labs. Once again, a popular family dog. You don’t hear about the Cocker Spaniel who bites its owner on the butt because they are far less common in homes and therefore far less likely to have a high percentage of reported bites. The numbers are all relative to the number of dogs in the general population.
One of my BIGGEST pet peeves surrounding the Pit Bull debate is the theory that “it’s all in how they are raised.” Yes, if you teach a dog (any dog) to fight and be nasty it will no doubt be aggressive in nature BUT some dogs are wired wrong just like some people are wired wrong. The mother who loved her child unconditionally, provided all the nurturing and support she possibly could is no more at fault for that child growing up to be a serial killer than the person who adopts a puppy and raises it with love and nurturing only for it to turn around and bite the mailman.
Many people forget that dogs are animals. As much as we love them and think of them as family members they are still and always will be animals. So many times I see people post a picture or a video of their toddler hugging their family dog around the neck and giggling louder than a fire cracker on the fourth of July. Sure, it’s cute but when you look at the dog and take note of the wide eyes, tense body, and tucked tail it becomes not so cute. Far too often people completely ignore their pups’ body language and just assume “they are going to be a good dog.” It has nothing to do with being a good or bad dog and everything to do with their natural instincts. It is in their nature to want to protect themselves just as it is in our nature to do the same. So the next time you see a story about a Pit Bull (or any dog) mauling a child or an adult, yet the details of what happened prior to the attack are vague or missing all together ask yourself why. I wholeheartedly believe the majority of dog bites could be avoided if only people were educated about dog body language and would teach their children how to respect a canine’s space and boundaries. Would you want someone squeezing you around your neck or tugging on your ear?
Half the battle is irresponsible breeders who care more about money and less about the dogs they breed and the people whose homes they end up in. If Hill Billy Joe and Hill Billy Sue, who are siblings, get together and have baby Hill Billy Bob, Hill Billy Bob is likely to be sick. The same applies to dogs. If blood lines are crossed you may get a dog that appears normal on the outside but inside, things are just not quite right. You see this a lot with Blue Nose Pit Bulls. They are widely sought after and therefore breeders will go to whatever extent they need to, to create a product that sells, even if it’s not safe. Their negligence and greed has led to a pandemic of aggressive Blue Nose pit Bulls. Is this to say all Blue Nose Pit Bulls are aggressive? No, absolutely not but it does speak to the importance of doing your research when looking to purchase a dog from a breeder. It also serves as a reminder that as long as demand is present and people keep buying, backyard breeders will always exist.
Also, Pit Bull owners are not all gang-bangers with tattoo’s tallying their 'hits'. Most of us are ‘normal’ people with jobs and families we love. Some of us are young, some of us are single or married or even elderly. Some of us are handicapped and rely on our pibbles to be our eyes or ears, or sense when we are not well. Pit Bulls are loving and gentle, smart and loyal. Everything the stereotypes say they aren't or can’t be.
So, to the women who did the chimpanzee (when a parent is practically dragging their toddler by the arm in an effort to get them to move faster) with her son to get out of mine and Massey’s path, I implore you to learn from your own experiences and say ‘hello’ to Massey. You might decide that Pit Bulls aren’t as bad as you thought. You might even LIKE her.
As for me, I will keep being THAT person who displays her love for the worlds most hated breed(s) with bumper stickers and ‘I love my Pit Bull”’ t-shirts.
I was meandering through Pinterest on my lunch wondering why I am having such a difficult time finding things to write about. It seems like I have a rush of really great ideas (well, at least I think they’re pretty awesome) at night while I am getting ready for bed and by the time morning comes the passion I felt for my potential blog post is gone. Poof.
I came across a pin entitled “Finding your niche.” While this post pertained exclusively to blogging and the blogging community, my brain started to wander (as it often does) to the idea and importance of finding you niche in life. From the time we are young-ins were are constantly fighting to find our place in this big bad world. Some of us just slide into our passions easily. Almost without effort. Others, like myself, stumble around drifting aimlessly for what seems like an eternity before we find something, someone, or some place that really speaks to us and who we want to be.
I can honestly say, at the age of 26, I had absolutely no idea what I REALLY wanted out of life until recently and even now sometimes I am not sure…and that’s okay.
I feel like the pressure to figure out how you are going to live your life is so immense that often times our happiness is cast to the side in a feeble attempt to appease our critics. In my humble (sense the sarcasm) opinion, I think people work to support their lives but forget to actually live. So many of us get trapped in a mundane cycle of our habits. Get up, get dresses, drive to work, work all day, go home, make dinner, shower, go to bed, toss and turn, etc. Obviously the routine varies a bit here and there but the general execution of these activates are similar, day in and day out. Whatever happened to living, truly LIVING!
I often found I was envious of my fellow classmates for knowing what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives right out of High School. I know now that the majority of those classmates had no more a clue than I did. Some spent thousands upon thousands of dollars attending classes to earn degrees for careers they really didn't care for all for the sake of appearing normal. Clearly, I have no fear of what others think of me or my decisions. I have always been the ugly duckling, black swan, *insert your favorite underdog analogy here*- and I’m okay with that. My point is, finding your niche is never an easy task but finding your niche can be that much harder when you are working so feverishly to gain the acceptance and approval of others.
Finding your niche means accepting yourself for everything you are and being open to the possibility that your niche may not be something that everyone agrees with or approves off. Life isn't about who’s winning and who's losing, it’s about living and the only way to truly live is to surround yourself with people, places, and things that make you happy.
There have been many times in my life where I have felt ashamed or embarrassed of where my life has led me. What I've learned is; no matter how desperately you try to achieve acceptance of others, there will ALWAYS be someone waiting in the wings to pass new judgement and ridicule your way. Finding my niche meant ignoring the nay-sayers and forging my own path. It meant doing things a little differently, my way. Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning but thankfully I think I am on the right track.
There have been quite a few times in my short 26 years that I have thought to myself “well, that ship has sailed.” In some ways, it’s a good thing. In others it’s a premature conclusion that I’ve jumped to given my age and current life status. I own a house, my own car, a pack of dogs & cats and I have other obligations that would make pursuing any career other than the one I have more than a little difficult. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with marketing and I seem to have a knack for it but I certainly don’t wake up in the morning and think to myself, “I can’t wait to design the next ad for Air conditioners and heaters.”
Until recently (the start of this blog) I had all but given up the idea of having a career that I truly love. And then… it happened, the “ah ha” moment came. I can’t count the number of times I said I could never foster dogs because I would fall in love with each and every one. I feared I would eventually find myself living in a shack ransacked with dogs (not that that would be such a horrible thing) but alas, here I am. Tim and I have fostered well over 25 dogs and have only foster failed once, with Massey. Yes, I have and will continue to fall in love with each dog and believe me; Tim could have used an arch to escape the flood that consumed our living room after the first few left for their forever homes but, the feeling of satisfaction that consumes you knowing you played a small role in making a big difference makes all the tears worth it.
The point is I didn’t think my heart was big enough to foster but I was wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the same philosophy can apply to writing. With any luck, a year from now I will be sitting in this same living room on this same couch (well, maybe not the couch. We really do need new furniture) thinking “I can’t imagine my life without writing.” Just as I sat here a few months ago thinking “I can’t believe it’s been over a year and a half ago that we started fostering.”
Here’s to doing more than just dreaming the dream, here’s to pursing the dream.
Everyone always say to “live each day like it’s your last” and “to be your own person,” but when that advice comes from the lips of a 101 year old women, I think it’s sound advice and you should sprint to the bank with her wisdom in your back pocket for a drop off into your emotional deposit box.
The attached article interviews Marion Cannon Schlesinger and provides not only a good read for the youngest of women (and men) but also a good chuckle.
If I live to be even close to 101 years old I hope I have at least half the wit and wisdom Ms. Marian retains.
Through my struggle to perfectly arrange the cluster of words that appear on your screen, I have come to the realization that the success of this blog and of my passion for words, will not be authenticated or celebrated until I learn to write for myself and only myself.
I think one of the most common excuses for squashing ones dreams before they’ve even had a chance to leap of the cliff, is simply fear of rejection. Fear our wings are not yet, or never will be, strong enough to carry us over the mountain. I think my biggest and most profound mistake thus far has been expecting the journey to be easy…almost effortless. If I have a passion for writing and I am good at it, why wouldn’t success find me?
The need for validation lives deep within each of us. Whether we choose to deny it or let it consume us, the truth is, it’s there. But I believe there's truth in the saying "those who try hardest to earn others' attention, rarely get it." So I am making a goal for myself to write daily. It may be nothing more than a paragraph or two, sound like complete jibberish and only make sense to me but, at least it will be words on paper. I will focus on my passion and not let external circumstances dictate my success. My job is to show up and write. If I have accomplish that, my job is done, at least for that day.
I have pondered starting a blog for some now and after some friendly prompting and a few pats on the back, I have decided to give it a go. Fortunately and unfortunately, I live in a rather realistic mindset and know the possibility and likelihood of a successful career lounging around in sweatpants, baggy hoodies, sipping imported French tea from a “my children have 4 paws” mug with a messy knot of hair on my head while letting the fluent thoughts from within transcribed onto paper (or computer screen) is highly unlikely.
Did you get all that?
Clearly, I am a dreamer. A dreamer of all things big and unlikely yet here I am pursing them. Isn’t that the point of life? I know is cliché “the sky is the limit,” but when you really sit back, take a deep breath and think about the meaning of life…it’s all about dreaming…and the chase…it’s all about the chase! Obviously, I am not going to save the world or even one tenth of the world but for the few people I do manage to reach and the few animals I am able to rescue it will mean the world to me.
This blog will likely become a mish mosh of articles. Some about books, more about animals and lots about life!