Friday, August 16, 2019

A Different Kind of Hurt

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using: fun, funny, family, fracture, and fully

They were submitted by:

CW: pet death


About 9 years ago, we found a family of chupacabras in our crawl space.

Okay, it was actually puppies, but when we pulled them out covered in mud and fleas and spider webs, they were more chupacabra than not. 6 funny looking little things who didn’t even have their teeth yet and eaten up so badly with fleas that our house was infested and yipping like mad because their mom was nowhere to be found. The mom ended up being a neighbor’s dog who didn’t take too kindly to us removing the puppies from her spot, but something had to be done, so there we were with 6 puppies to bottlefeed, clean, and help take a poop every few hours.


No, really. Once we got them cleaned up, dewormed, and got rid of the fleas, it was a great time even if it was a bit stressful. Each pup would sit in my lap for feeding times and take the bottle like it was the best thing in the world with their little ears wiggling and tails helicoptering like mad. I’ve played mom to a lot of creatures, but taking care of puppies was one of the best. They loved eating popsicles and fought in their own poop and made me laugh harder than I had in a long time.

That’s how we got Layla.

Between people I knew at work, friends, and family, it wasn’t terribly hard to find homes for 5 of them, but that was the limit here in this rural area. We hadn’t planned on having another dog at the time, but here she was, an almost solid white mutt with a few small brown spots that had way too much energy to burn and was already part of the family. All the others had been brown and black, so she already stood out from the rest of the pack pretty early on. Truth be told, I was glad no one else wanted her, and here she stayed for 9 years. Until early August anyway.

It was a good 9 years. She was healthy with never any concerns or problems other than a penchant for chewing the tip of her tail when she was bored. She was a handful, though, always. Digging holes, never learning to walk on a leash unlike any other dog who has ever lived here, always barking her head off when she wanted something… One time, she drug me down the front steps so hard I had a bruised ass for weeks. WEEKS. I can’t pretend she was some kind of saint with the years of destroying toys in seconds and holes I can never get to fill all the way, and the tons of mud brought into the house, but she was loved wholly and completely.

Then things changed a bit.

Last year the day before Hurricane Michael hit, we found her woozy and unable to stand. She had recently lost some weight that had me a little concerned, and I had been trying to put some back on. After years of rescuing animals, I have a pretty good handle on things and a pretty good first aid kit, so that afternoon, I tested her blood sugar levels on a whim because of her wooziness and weightloss, and it was through the roof. 533 when normal ranges are 80 to 120. No vets were open because of the hurricane, but I had an insulin dosage to start with and knew what to do, so we headed to town to try and get the supplies we needed. After Walmart shockingly refused to sell the insulin to us because they were closing early (15 minutes after the time we arrived) due to the Hurricane (that wouldn’t be here until the next day), we dropped $150 on a bottle of insulin and got her stable.

It took months though to really figure out how to keep her stable, though. Dog diabetes is really pretty rare in comparison to humans, and a lot of vets don't see many cases of it or know too well how to treat it without involving a specialist, so we couldn't get too many answers there beyond what I already knew to do. We changed food time and time and time again. The amount she needed each dose kept going up, and I was really at my wit’s end with it all. Twice a day dosing, fighting with her to eat…so much money had been spent on supplies and food changes and supplements. She hated eating the new food, and so many tears were shed in frustration that nothing we were recommended to try actually worked. I ended up doing my own extensive research into things. It was then that I figured out that sometimes the type of insulin I was using sometimes didn’t last long enough for dogs, and I tried a new schedule. We moved it up to every 8 hour shots. She had to be pricked and stuck 3 times a day, and we were tied to the house unable to ever really get away because no one else could handle that kind of schedule even for a short while, but it was working. We were kicking diabetes’ ass fully, no holds barred, and it was wonderful. It was a kind of triumph I can’t even describe, and since all this really fell on me, we grew even closer. Who wouldn’t?

She was outside for a little while a couple weeks ago like she does from late morning through at least her afternoon insulin dose. She was always an outside dog, a mud lover through and through. She would pass a fresh bowl of water to jump in a mudhole and lap it up like it was the bestest, tastiest treat in the world. But when I went out that afternoon, I knew something was wrong. She was on the ground, not moving, and I felt my heart fracture right then. I was so confused. She’d been fine even a little while after she went out. Her blood sugar levels were still normal that morning, and nothing had changed. I really thought maybe with my brain fog I fucked up the dose (something I’d never done and always checked and rechecked). I was so ready to blame myself because the diabetes was the only thing that had ever affected her even if it being the diabetes didn’t make any sense.

It ended up being a snake bite.

We found the marks when it was time to bury her. And, honestly, I don’t know how to feel about that. We did so much work to get her back stable and healthy. I gave up so much of my life to making sure it happened, to keeping her healthy and from succumbing to her illness just for something so entirely random and unavoidable to take her. It’s a risk where we live especially with an overgrown field right behind our property, but we haven’t ever seen many. It was never something on the forefront of my brain, that worry. And now, I’m just lost. I still get up the same times I always did, and I check the clock when it’s close to her dose times because it’s what I’m used to. I miss her, and I love her still even with her hardheadedness and muddy paws, even with her care costing way more than I could afford.

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know that feeling. You love and are loved so intensely and unconditionally like no other friendship you ever have, and then it’s just…gone. It’s a hurt like nothing else that nothing really fixes but time eases, and I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to write concerning family but her. I still have a houseful of fur family to help me through, but it’s not the same without her. Hug your furbabies and feel free to share stories if you can relate.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

On the Border

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Impossible Dream

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My subject is: What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t yet?

It was submitted by:

Content warnings for mental abuse, fatphobia, bullying, eating disorder talk, internalized fatphobia


I’m scared I will die before I ever learn to love my body as it is.

I don’t remember a time when body image wasn’t an issue for me. Even before I really understood what being “fat” was, my family made comments about my weight and my body. My grandmother forced me to eat salads with next to nothing on them besides lettuce and tomato and told me I needed to diet. My dad would sing “fatty fatty 2 x 4 can’t get through the bathroom door to me” and laugh. Crisco, lardass, fatty… those were constant refrains at home.

The sad part is I wasn’t even fat. My body was softer and rounder because of changes and hormones. That’s all. I look back at photos of me from then and see the roundness of puberty and wonder what the fuck anyone else was looking at. Fat? Everyone around me carried extra weight. It’s built in my genes. It was projection, pure and simple, and a whole lot of internalized fatphobia, but knowing that NOW doesn’t at all erase the voices I heard so much for so long that still plague every single day of my life.

And it didn’t end there. Because I did carry extra weight into my teens and even now as an adult as a response to both trauma and because it’s how my body is and will always be, those voices aren’t just family but peers, friends, people I found attractive that I wanted to be closer to…




               Too fat for me.

                    You’re a fucking joke

                         Fat bitch.

The years I have spent hating my body are a travesty. Honestly. This is the only body I get, and here I’ve been hating everything it was for nearly all of my life. I didn’t love the softness, the curves, the chubby tummy, the stretch marks…but I also didn’t appreciate my strength or flexibility or how it carried me through the difficult life I had without letting me down. Now that it fails me regularly because of my chronic illness, I miss the things it used to do for me, the things that kept me going. Now that I don’t have them I look back and wonder why I couldn’t appreciate them while I had good health.

I failed to see what anyone else claimed to see when they looked at me, anyone outside family that is. It was something to hide and abhor for far too long, and even now it’s a struggle to accept my body as it is much less love it. Compliments never stuck. The idea that anyone could love me as I am, because I hated it all so much, was an entirely foreign concept. I spent most of my life keeping everyone away, keeping my guard up, breaking dates, refusing even after the best of 1st dates to ever go on a 2nd one.

There is such a big part of me that understands I am worth more than my weight or the size dress I wear. I understand that hating myself changes absolutely nothing. I know without a doubt that I really don’t have any business hating my body at this age in my life. I am loved and satisfied and I look fucking fly when I get dressed up, makeup on, and quirky purse on my shoulder. But I can’t get rid of those old voices, the doubts, the lingering inability to accept that this is how I have always and will always look give or take a few pounds.

I see people in fat acceptance/liberation spaces and understand they have bad days too and bad weeks and fight it just like I do. But another part of me sees those photos and longs to be that comfortable in front of a camera in crop tops and bikinis—to smile and lift double fingers at anyone who says a cross word. I envy those carefree moments that I never seem to have enough of. I long for days in a stretch where I can cancel out those ghosts in my head of a former life where those opinions mattered so much to me even while I shouted so loud that I didn’t give a fuck. I want to exist in a state that isn’t plagued by guilt for being what I am and guilt for not loving me as I am simultaneously.

I have struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia , dieted myself into sickness, starved, binged, purged… I struggle with the idea that I can fight so hard with these issues and still have a lot of privilege because my body is smaller than a lot in the spaces I find so much comfort. I struggle with the mirror, and I struggle with stopping the incessant calorie calculating. Every. Single. Day. Is. Full. Of. Struggle.

I want the confidence to wear a crop top, to even go out of the house without moments of panic about how I look… what I’ve always wanted is to have peace, to be comfortable, to be able to just accept me as I am at any time in anything for more than a few fleeting moments. I’ve wanted that as long as I remember, and here’s hoping I might finally do that one day.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Our Prime Years

Part-time Working Hockey Mom