The day after my eighth birthday, I saved a little boy with Down’s Syndrome from being attacked by a dog. I got attacked instead. We’d just got off the school bus and there was no one else around at the time, just me and Josh. And for God’s sake – it was a black Labrador! The kindest kind of dog you can get. But it was also a pissed off black Lab that day – proving anything is possible if you have large and pointy teeth.
For a long time – even for a lifetime – I’ve known which direction to go in. I’ve known instinctively what I wanted. Except for the fact I was also too easily convinced to go the other way. Basically I listened too hard. Took on peoples’ opinions, reasoned and weighed them against my own.
If this is the most awesome thing about growing older, besides the now-I-can-never-go-back-hair-dye jobs and the ability to fart really dramatically, I can suddenly hear my own voice. I dont care so much about other peoples’ opinions. I know what needs to be done and how to do it. I’ve stopped constantly taking in and considering what other people think. Is this arrogant? I’m sorry if it is.
My arms got pretty chewed up that day while Josh ran home. No biggie. I got better. I went on to fight the next battle and the next bully. If it was someone in my school or even in my home life, I was smelling it.
I’ve pretty much lived this way forever. I’ve been drop-kicked, emotionally scarred, angry enough to smash my own head against the wall. When I describe it now, it doesn’t sound so good. I just know I’m there when the going gets tough. The rest of the time I’m a bit of a flakoid.. I like listening to Lainey Gossip podcasts and not getting enough exercise. Kitchen floor’s a little dirty? Meh. Car needs hoovering? It can wait. I’m preparing.
With my 500 words-a-day, New Year’s resolution, I’ve been able to see this tendency in my writing. So much writing at a late hour when I’m too tired to whitewash anything. For example, this week my kid needed protecting. Growl. She feels safer now. This is good – one look at her relieved face and I don’t regret moving in. Job done.
At the same time, I tend to react first and think later. It’s part of this warrior style. With Delphine too – I’m always in battle mode. They won’t let her do this, or say she can’t do that? My hackles raise. Ok, I think. Who do I need to talk to?
Jack’s not much different either. On the outside we’re pretty different people. On the inside, I’ve always known we were inherently similar. Turns out we have this same defensive style. Protective and instinctive. We were made to battle for our loved ones. Boy are they lucky. And anything else that comes across our path – including bullies and mean dogs. We need to find the relax button. Crap. It’s around here somewhere.