On Friday July 3rd morning, 3 months almost to the day, we sent our beloved goofball Milo across the Rainbow Bridge to meet up with his sister Tank to pee all over the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s lawn. Milo was 9 years old and had developed bone cancer, most likely flared up intensely by an infection. He snored so loudly as he left our world that even the vet had to shed a tear over how adorable he was. He was my first pitbull dog. He was a Mastiff pit mix that was the sweetest thing in the world. He was the living embodiment of the Cowardly Lion as he was afraid of just about everything: Balloons, bubbles, skunks having sex, the vacuum monster, and his cryptonite…….slippery floors like tiled or hardwood. He was the biggest dork and the biggest reason I’m determined to forever own a pibble. His tap dancing whenever we came home is missed heavily right now. Whenever I hear a siren, I’ll miss his howling. Whenever I vacuum, I’ll miss him running for cover. I’ll always laugh whenever I remember the times when he ate grass and he pooped and it didn’t quite pass out of him so it was hanging off his ass and his running away like his ass was on fire with this look on his face of “OH GOD GET IT OFF!! GET IT OFF!! STOP LAUGHING WOMAN!!”
My depression slammed back into me recently, and its hitting me super hard this time. I JUST got used to Tank not being around, so not having my sweet dork next to me snoring and farting in his own mouth is taking me down. I’m trying all the things I need to do to fight back, but as its been only a week, I just want to curl up in bed and hide. But I know that I can’t do that.
After we got back home that day and after I lost myself emotionally for a bit, I felt the need to get out of the house. I couldn’t handle the silence, nor could I handle the emptiness of it. I’ve never had a moment where there wasn’t a dog in my life. We would lose one, but there was always another dog waiting to snuggle my grief away. But as that both Tank and Milo were close in age based on their size, there was always a weird sense in my gut that they would both leave this world close together, but I never thought it would be THIS close. So Hubby asked me what I wanted to do. We decided to go see a movie. At first it was Jurassic World, but I was sooooooooooooooo not in the mood for death and dismemberment. Even at the hands of computer generated dinosaurs. We decided to see “Inside Out” as its Pixar and they never fail and I needed something funny and hopeful.
Yes, Pixar can destroy you but it turns around and hugs you and tells you that its okay, that there IS a rainbow on the other side of this shit mountain you are on. The “Lava” short at the beginning broke me but it was just so beautiful beyond words. But the film itself? Oh sweet lord!! The things in that film are way beyond being just a kids movie!! Seriously, the intellectual storytelling in it is astounding!! I found the relationship between Joy and Sadness to be like watching my own head on the screen. I have that constant struggle to just be happy, to focus on the positive NO MATTER WHAT battle cry in my brain all the time. I wanted to reach out to the screen and hug Sadness and invite her to join me in my Depression Blanket Fort where we can go cry and feel all the bad things in peace and hold each other knowing that neither of us are alone. I wanted to run around and play with Joy, and more importantly get her to give me her dress because I totally wanted it! The scenes of Joy dancing and ice skating in Riley’s head made me smile inside my child like heart. I just fell in love with both of them. When they get to Imagination Land I squealed with glee because I wanted to run around it and play. It was when the plot explains itself that everything just broke me, but in a good way. On the day that I lost my dog, the film was telling me that it was okay to be sad. That, yes it hurts and yes its painful, but that there is nothing wrong with me because I feel this way. That there is no shame in allowing myself to be sad.
The film makers talked about how the film came together and how they found that the one emotion they couldn’t wrap their brains around was Sadness. Why do we get sad? What is its purpose and why do we try to deny its existence? But most importantly, why do we shun it? Sadness is yelled at, told to stay in the “Sadness Circle” and told not to move or touch anything. She’s looked at like a freak and unworthy of being there as she just causes pain in Joy’s eyes. But its not until Joy sees things from Sadness’s perspective that some of the greatest joys can emerge from those sad moments. That Sadness is a natural reaction to something and that its okay to let it happen. Being in a constant state of happiness is a lie, a mask that can actually make a situation worse if you continue to deny yourself the feeling of release that Sadness can give you.
My struggles with depression have always been there. I’ve always had moments of depression and the pain that it can create. But it’s from those moments that I’ve found myself become more empathetic, and more compassionate. My art and writings allow the pain to escape the caverns of my mind so that I’m not pushing it back into the Sadness Circle. I read The Bloggess, who in many ways is so damn similar to my own weird self, and her struggles with depression have helped guide me in many ways. When she comes out here to the Bay Area for a book signing, I’ll be there to give her a hug and tell her how much she’s helped me fight back against the lies that Depression tells me. I started embracing my weirdness back in high school, but I’ve pushed much of it aside many years ago to try to “fit in”. I tried to suppress much of my quirks and mental health struggles because I was terrified of being seen as a “freak” or worse…………a crazy person that needs to be backed away from slowly while holding a mop as a defense weapon. Relocating to the Bay Area and dealing with several bouts of depression, I think I reached a new fork in the road. My therapist has been very helpful in getting me to look at things differently and really finding ways to get a better grip when I feel on the edge. Embracing my artistic side and fueling it constantly has been the first step in letting my Freak Flag fly. But seeing that movie also sparked something new that seems to be lighting the right path for me to walk down.
I am a weird person, and here’s why. I have weird colored hair, many tattoos, a dark sense of humor, and a love of strange kooky things like skeletons and garden gnome butt plugs (his name is Tyrone and he sits on my living room shelf). I enjoy silly things like glitter, unicorns, and ridiculously girly things like tiaras and tea parties. I am almost 40 years old and I think a bounce house is one of the best inventions ever created and I’ll be DAMNED if I don’t have one for my pretty, pretty princess birthday party. I love history, especially if its just useless knowledge. I’m obsessed with pop culture as it allows me to fangirl the SHIT out of things like Supernatural, geek stuff, Lego, Disney, Doctor Who and cartoons. I can watch something and then almost repeat every moment and joke verbatim. I know ever word in “Tank Girl”, “Auntie Mame”, and “Heathers”. Ryan Reynolds is one of the sexiest thing to me mostly because he has the ability to not utter a word and be the funniest damn thing in the world! I find my husband’s “Rainman” moments where he “white boards” something technical out on an invisible board to be DEAD SEXY! Minions…………..I must have minions!!!!! I want to hug a sloth. My favorite animals are penguins, sloths and octopuses as tentacles are just the most coolest things in how they move. See? I’m totally weird! I don’t think I’ll be ashamed of myself anymore. Being weird is actually fun.
So for now I just breathe and focus on getting through each day individually. I have our trip to Paris in August and art that needs to be seen. I have committed to volunteering at the shelter so I have dogs that need loving and walkies, and later perhaps a seat on my couch. I have things to make, a gym to go to, and a world to inflict my weirdness on. Also, minions to find. Seriously. How do I get them?