Tag Archives: relationships

The Dog Mom

Kate

I don’t like children.

It’s one of those phrases that come to my lips the moment someone asks if my boyfriend and I will ever have kids, but it’s rarely uttered. The reactions are nearly always negative and range from a strange look between disbelief and disgust to a twenty minute rant on why children are the best thing since sliced bread and that I’m totally missing out if I don’t sacrifice my life for 18+ years to support a creature with half my DNA.

It’s always been this way.

I was never a child that lugged around a baby doll. My cousin had a little bald, plastic baby named Gracie that she kept swaddled against her and dressed daily. Instead of a stroller or papoose, my room was loaded with stuffed animals. While my cousin had Gracie, I had Whiskers, a progressively piebald stuffed cat who wore a bed skirt-like dress to hide his bald spots. I talked to my stuffed animals as if they were people. I fed them, hugged them, tucked them in at night.

History has repeated itself night after night.

Every night before I go to bed, I take my hair out of its clips and pins, but as I walk through the darkened house, I make note of where my babies are. Edgar is sleeping under my chair in the kitchen, Finny is laying against the backdoor, and Katie right where I left her on the sofa or curled up on my bed waiting for me. Before I go to sleep, I pet each of them and tell them that I love them. A little part of me fears not carrying out the ritual, not reminding them of my love before they close their eyes. As I peel back the covers, Katie with her stubby dachshund legs dives onto me full force before settling at my feet or near my head. Most nights I wake up with at least Edgar and Katie curled up around me, protecting my flank as if I was one of the pack.

Respecting the autonomy of others means no guilt.

My boyfriend and I have never wanted children. I never dreamed of having a family. Hell, I never thought I’d have a life partner until I met mine, but children have never been in the picture. Never did the image of school pictures, birthdays, or trips to Disney with brood in tow come to mind. I’m still at the age where I don’t know whether to reply yay or oh no when someone says they’re pregnant. My reaction is obvious, but I’m quickly realizing that most at least feign joy. It’s expected. It’s the norm. The norm rarely feels like it fits me anymore. In the future, I see myself writing books, going to a gallery opening or event that’s centered around my partner’s art, and doing some traveling. I want a small house with enough room for us and the dogs. Somewhere there will be a house where dogs lounge on the sofa, locking eyes with me from across the room as I read and pet one of their siblings. The floors will be littered with half-chewed dog bones and tumbleweeds of fur.

“To love another person is to see the face of god.”

My babies won’t live as long as yours. At most, they’ll live into their teens and because I’ve rescued them from the shelter, our time may be shorter than I anticipated. Yet their lives aren’t tragic. Their short time on earth puts my life into perspective and makes me grateful for the years I have with them. For all the wet kisses and the adoring gazes that make a shitty day better because somehow they know what I need. Dogs are strange. Part wolf, part toddler, they’re at once all-knowing and innocent. Animals give their love without caveat and present the only true form of unconditional love on earth, and it’s this I crave. I want to love and be loved without judgment. Someday I’d like to be person my dog loves so wholly and able to love as they do.

 

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The Jane Austen Protest

Marriage, marriage, marriage.  It’s enough to make your head explode.  Being an English major, I have been subjected to reading literature from the Regency period to the Victorian era, on my own and while under duress, and all I can say is, what is so bad about not getting married?!  I do understand that it was a product of the time period, and women needed to be monetarily provided for by either a husband or male relative.  It just aggravates me that even today women believe that a husband is the be all and end all of their lives.  Before I get accused of being a bitter single woman, I have a long term boyfriend that I love dearly…who feels we should get married one day.

I truthfully don’t understand the need.  Maybe it’s because I have Asperger’s Syndrome and somehow don’t grasp the norm, but the idea of getting married has always bothered me.  It’s a piece of paper that says I can now file taxes with you and the state has a record of us being a couple in case we decide to call it quits.  Then, I wonder if I just tell myself this to legitimize my insecurities.  I despise the thought of standing in front of everyone and being dragged to a party while being dressed in formal wear just to appease other people’s desire for normalcy.  Is my bitterness about this subject due to a fear of not enjoying this whole process and ruining it for my partner?  Probably.  I know when I get stressed, I am unpleasant to say the least, and this ugliness and is usually directed full-force at my unassuming boyfriend because subconsciously I know that he may get mad at me, but he’ll still love me unconditionally and won’t keep bringing up that I had a nasty moment.

I am scared that I will look ugly, that I will pick things because I am under duress and want to get out as quickly as possible but hate my choices later.  I fear losing myself in the process or becoming a monster because I am a stressed-out control-freak that cannot let go and trust others or herself to make the correct choices.  I am indecisive, to the point that I can’t even decide how I feel about my life in general.  I immerse myself in school work and getting ready for graduate school and a possible doctorate in the future.  If I stay in school, I will never have to grow up and face life, or at least that is the not-so-subconscious mentality.  I can stave off engagement and marriage if I don’t have a job and live with my parents.

I’m torn between ruining things for my significant other and possibly making myself incredibly miserable for a certain amount of time.  The thought of this makes me hyperventilate and pace inside my head (I’ve gotten really good at masking anxiety and stimming).  I don’t think marriage would change anything in our relationship, besides him wanting to get our own place, but that scares me because change is a scary uncertainty.

I hate the idea of unwanted attention. People asking me questions, looking a hundred times happier than I am about the whole thing.  I’m not a person that gets excited about anything or looks happier than content most of the time.  I fear not looking happy enough and having people assume that I am not happy in my relationship or have cold feet.  In the past, my lack of excitement has caused me to appear as an ingrate or unhappy when I really was content, so now I’m paranoid about not exuding happiness.

I try to convince myself I don’t want things, but I’m not sure if I don’t want them or I just don’t want the attention associated with them.  Do I let other people ruin things for me?  Sometimes I wish I could live by myself with just me and my dog and my writing because it would be so much simpler albeit lonelier.

I try to rationalize that everyone gets cold feet, but this isn’t cold feet.  I don’t want to abandon my relationship, I just have an incredible amount of anxiety about dealing with this sort of thing.  A part of me wonders if my flip-flopping between fantasizing about a possible wedding and damning all things white and traditional comes from some Asperger’s traits.  People often talk about aspies as only seeing things as black or white, and often I feel I see a wedding as love or hate.  I don’t know how to formulate a middle ground in this case, and to me, that is a horrible feeling like a lack of mental control.

For now, I still am not sure how I feel, but through this little self-“talking cure”, I have at least reasoned out some things about myself and what affects my thinking.  Sorry about this rant, any advice is appreciated… except the suggestion of eloping.

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