Sunday, April 3, 2016

Grief After Giving up Our Dog

It's ok to grieve. It's ok to feel sick to your stomach, worthless, devastated. Whatever you're feeling - it's ok because it's you and you've just been through a tremendous loss.

Tremendous because our dog meant something to me, and grieving is thus warranted. I gave up our dog for adoption yesterday. He will lead a good life, but that doesn't take the current pain away. I didn't get to give him one last hug or say goodbye - perhaps I did say it but just can't remember. But he knows I loved him. And I gave him plenty of kisses and tight hugs prior to him hopping out that door. So he knows... I hope.

Amidst my grief I went to one of my favorite places in the world, the library. I got a few books on grief and hope to begin reading one of them tonight. But they don't take the pain away. If anything, starting to read last night made me cry even more because that particular book focuses on how amazing a dog is. And it's true, but that only makes me feel worse for giving him up and being completely alone now.

Amidst my intense grief last night, after trying to read, I decided to take some action and look up some resources available to people separated from their dogs. Below are the resources I found helpful, and perhaps you'll find them helpful, too:

Tufts University's Pet Loss Hotline, if you need to talk. Their website has some helpful resources as well.

Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make It Meaningful, by Ashley Davis Prend, A.C.S.W. Highly compassionate author. Mainly focuses on the death of a loved one, but does give a great overview of the stages of grief.

Get your doggie fix by seeing burmese mountain dog Waffle dorkin' out and lovin' it. Once I was feeling much better I even put a cute picture of a pup on my desktop wallpaper.

When all else fails, go on Pinterest.

(Photo from Pixabay)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Dream to Be a Writer

Last night I watched the documentary, The Short Life of Anne Frank. I want to be a writer too. Why do I feel so accomplished after I write something? Why do I feel my best when I am journaling or reading? My mother always thought I'd be a writer and that I'd write a book. At least, that's what she told people! I'd like to be a writer... for Anne Frank, because she never got to be one. For my mother, so she can be extra happy in heaven. And for myself, to fulfill my great dream that I've always had.

But do great dreams always die once you reach a certain age? All I really want to do in life is sleep, read, write, eat, and travel. I'd like to go back to school to study writing. But I don't know how that will happen. I'll have to work, probably as a clerk to earn a living for the time being. I don't have anything I want to write about, but I want to learn to write well, learn and use new words, compile written works, have my own curriculum vitae.

I don't want to be a journalist. The world rules the journalists, meaning that whatever the world wants/does, the journalist must do that/follow. I want to be a writer--someone who isn't restrained by news and what's occurring right this minute, but someone who has a mind of her own, can express herself better in writing than in spoken word. Being true to myself, not anyone else.

I want to tell stories that inspire people, like the story of Anne Frank. Anne Frank's story inspired me to write this post and to look into being a writer. Being a writer is what I'd really like to be known for.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Good Old Emerson Fry

Remember when Emerson Fry's fashion line was so small she herself was the model? The pictures of her in front of her farmhouse? Yes, I miss those days...

Monday, September 14, 2015

An Ode to Summer

Summer opens the door and lets you out.

I so admire this film directed by Andrew and Carissa Gallo for Kinfolk. (Carissa is one of my favorite photographers.) The film's aesthetic perfectly captures the essence of summer: light cotton shirts, warm sunrise, cool mornings. I particular like the beginning of the film, when the girl's at home surrounded by farmland, sitting on her porch. Total house/life envy.

(Photo by Carissa Gallo)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sylvia Plath: Drawings

Sylvia Plath's drawings span her life and travels in the United States, England, France, and Spain. One of her letters or journal entries accompanies each section in the book, Sylvia Plath: Drawings. She describes with particular glee her honeymoon with Ted Hughes in the small Spanish fishing village of Benidorm.

Her daughter, Frieda Hughes, writes the book's introduction. She describes how calming it was for her mother to draw, and particularly how her mother's artistry and academic endeavors flourished when she was with her husband, Ted. Painting also calms me, and like Plath, I prefer to depict real things on a small scale.

Her drawings render her as human to me. They're imperfect, with wriggly, deep-set lines. I can't help but feel that despite being calmed by drawing, she held a critical eye and still struggled amidst the peace.

Below are terms aptly describing Plath herself; Frieda uses the first two to describe her mother in the intro.

1. Effusively (as in, "she wrote effusively"): unduly demonstrative; lacking reserve.

2. Ebullient: cheerful and full of energy.

3. Benevolently: characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings.

Which of Plath's drawings is my favorite? Cambridge: a View of Gables and Chimney-pots, c. 1955.

(Sylvia Plath's signature from Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tiny Beautiful Things

Behold the first installment of Tabbed Vocab. I read Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things and include below some new words I learned from the book, all of which exemplify the work itself. Hopefully this helps you learn some new words, and get a better sense of the title, which you may or may not want to read.

1. Irreverent: in the book, it means brutally honest.

2. Ad hoc (as in "ad hoc memoir"): formed, arranged, or done for a particular purpose only.

3. Elucidate: make (something) clear; explain.

4. Behoove: it is a duty or responsibility for someone to do something; it is incumbent on.

5. Magnanimous: very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.

Would I recommend this book? I rate it 3 out of 5 stars. Some of the topics didn't apply to me so I skipped over those, but the ones I did read were influential. The book's focus is on relationships (friends, family, spouse, children, partners, exes), so if you lead a more solitary life like me, you won't get as much out of it.

If you've read the Dear Sugar column, what does Strayed's advice mean to you?

(Painting by Margaret Berg)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Order of Interbeing

"From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, ‘Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don’t want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy.’ If you say this in a voice that communicates your real openness to understand, the other person may cry."

What a lovely book Peace is Every Step is. Each word is a drop in Thich Nhat Hanh's river of compassion. He understands your desire for peace in your life and offers ways to cultivate contentment. Once you drink the last drop, you feel loved and yearn to love others.

Nhat Hanh teaches conscious breathing, being in the present moment, thinking of nice images, and understanding others. He says thinking "In" and "Out" when breathing isn't actually thinking; "In" and "Out" are only words to help us concentrate on our breathing. If you have an unpleasant feeling, such as anger, breathe through it: "Breathing in, I know anger is present. Breathing out, I know this feeling will pass." Just the act of smiling, even slightly, helps us feel happy. He suggests smiling on an out breath, or when you wake up in the morning (try placing an object, like a feather, near your bed to remind you to smile).

Finally, Nhat Hanh lists the fourteen precepts of what he and his monastic community call The Order of Interbeing. These principles act as an ethical guide to serving others. Here are a few that I find so very much needed in today's society and that I hope to fully embody: openness to others’ experiences and insights; not forcing people to adopt their views; helping people let go of fanaticism and narrowness; taking a stand against oppression and injustice; and "learning to look with the eyes of interbeing and to see ourselves and others as cells in one ... body."

What about you, dear reader? What are the principles you hold so dear?

(Photo from DTTSP)