Monthly Archives: October 2018

I Am Not Where I Wanted To Be

When I was four I wanted to be a ballerina. My parents had a beautiful mirror that depicted two ballet dancers in mid pose. The male was supporting the female who was standing ‘en point’ with one leg out of sight behind her. They were in relief in the middle of this large ornate, silver mirror. I was memorized by the hidden leg.

When I was nine I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and I wanted to help them, care for them. But there is another side to the job that is necessary and it involves pain and death. Nope.

Airline Pilot: nice uniform, nasty passengers                                                                             Professional Dancer: two left feet

Then I walked the boards of a school Christmas play. I had one line: “Pearls of great price to him we adorn, is the worship of each lowly one.” I wore my Mother’s terry cloth bathrobe and a towel over my head. I was hooked. I was also 11 years old.

Scoot forward several years. In High School I was in several plays that won awards. I got to perform on a professional stage, with the High School, several times. I enrolled in a University with a well-respected theatre department. And I continued to shine. Learning lines was easy, blocking (movements on stage) was almost instinctive. This was my element. This was also within a controlled environment. Graduation is one hell of a wake up call.

I went on auditions and got several jobs. Walk on and bit parts. I was there to react to the ‘real’ actors. I did meet a very few: Martin Short, John Candy. Most of the time was spent far away from the principles and waiting and waiting and waiting and . . . You get the picture.

I was never good at selling myself – problem one. I did not meet the criteria for the current fashionable young female actor: blond, pert, skinny and um, not bright. I was a real red-head, not skinny and intelligent (although I learn to play dumb quite well).

But a girl’s got to eat and I craved independence. I got a real job. And then I discovered I had Multiple Sclerosis. Perspectives change.

There was an adjustment period to my new reality but also new beginnings. My Mother told me I was in charge and the choice was mine: give in and spend a life wallowing in my self-pity or live. Find a life or make one. And I did!

I am not where I thought I wanted to be. I’m somewhere better.

On the Wall

 

                           A fly on the wall

                          We’d all like to be

                          A different perspective

                         On the world we would see.

 

No one would know

That we were so near

Gathering gossip

On those we hold dear.

 

Our size makes it easy

To wander about

Close and then far

Even inside and out.

 

There’s only one problem

I can see from this blotter

Wielded with accuracy

The dreaded fly swatter!

Can animals show love?

Ask any pet owner and they will tell you unequivocally, yes! Ask many behavioural scientists and they will say absolutely not! Who is right? The short answer? Both!

How can that be? Easy: perception. Now anyone who reads my blog a lot knows that I am a big believer in perception. How we perceive something is based on our background. When I was sick many years ago my dog curled up on my bed. She never left me. She would occasionally nip out for a potty break or to grab something to eat but she was always beside me while I healed. Why? In my world she was showing concern.

When I would train young animals, dogs in our family, I would always start out with food. It is a great motivator. But eventually I moved away from that and would only give praises. My animals were well trained. I never doubted that if I called for them to come, they would and there would be no food at the end. I even had one dog that ran loose on our walks but if she saw a person she would immediately run back to me and walk at my side. Once the person was out of sight and I gave her a nod she’d take off again. I never once doubted her. Was it love?

I’m not a scientist, I’m just a woman that loves words and I loved my animals. I believe they loved me. Perhaps we are anthropomorphizing by using the word ‘love’ but that’s all we have. We may not be able to express what the animals are actually feeling in their terms, all we can do is use ours.

The scientists are probably right it isn’t love. It’s more. Watch a documentary of elephants sometime. I did. In one, a very young elephant had gotten stuck in a mud hole. The mother acted in a manner to which we would refer to as being frantic. Think of a human mother with a child stuck down a manhole. The Park Rangers we’re eventually able to get the little one out and reunited with its mother. Again the reaction is one that you would equate to a human situation. I’m not lying. I was in tears.

Whales have been released from nets and there are videos of them racing to freedom and then returning to stop in front of the group that rescued them. Gratitude? There are examples of this all over the world. There are videos of it. The only way I can explain it is through emotion. How very human of me.