I wrote this at night because I was listening to Les Miserables and felt like I needed to be in the band. I felt like the opera singer who has taken a deep, purposeful breath before his big solo, but with nothing to sing – nowhere to go. I wanted to try and express myself in some way and I haven’t written anything that wasn’t school related in ages, so I said to myself:
JUST WRITE let’s see how it goes
I’ve just gotta get out of this prison cell, some day I’m gonna be free – no. It’s not like that this time.
There’s a thing inside me, it wants to escape, it is literally making my heart skip beats, but it’s not depression or anxiety or a need to be outside myself this time, it’s a need to MAKE SOMETHING.
Some people sing, some people jam, some people make art, some people write. I’ve tried running when I get in these moods – full of unfocused energy, tingling, happiness, intensity, because nothing I can sing or draw or play on the piano is good enough is adequate gives this need in me release because I’m not good enough or talented enough or whatever, who cares? This isn’t a self-pity paragraph, it’s exploration. What happens when I just let myself write and fuck the rest? What comes out? This I have control over. I understand English, and the tools make sense, and they’re at my command. My voice is weak, I don’t know music theory or note patterns, I can’t make what I hear come out on an instrument and I can’t make what I see turn up on a piece of paper, but I can write what I feel.
For over a year, I have wanted to write a tribute to my dog. Let’s get that off my chest.
This is what I always thought it might be like to be high – uninhibited.
I asked my mom the other day – if creativity is supposed to go along with mental health issues, where’s my special talent that makes it all worth it? I WOULD USE THAT FOR RELEASE. Instead, I’ve been running.
I’m shaking right now, because this isn’t a plea for sympathy or support, I JUST WANT TO WRITE, to make something, to express something and see how close I can make to what I mean to say, and to see what comes out when I give myself permission to go crazy.
Fudge. I miss you. I love you. There’s still a hole where you left. Just because someone’s talked about missing holes and broken hearts and bursting chests before doesn’t mean that isn’t EXACTLY WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. I wish I could have known that you were ready to go. I wish you could have lived forever. You were more suited to immortality than any human – if you don’t question life’s purpose, you can’t question the purpose of its end. You would have been content to live and eat and play and be happy and be with your people for the rest of time. You were the only thing I’ve ever loved unconditionally by choice. I could see your imperfections, and they didn’t annoy me, they endeared you to me. Sometimes you had a silly little goatee and ridiculously bad smelling breath, and I know other dogs might have been cuter, but it didn’t matter, because you were my Fudge. You were better than them all just because you were you. It didn’t even matter to me that I wasn’t your favourite. I just wanted you to be happy. You taught me about love, and you taught me about selflessness. You were a pet, a friend, a family member, a brother, a child. You were so smart.
I loved that you weren’t a particularly social dog. You weren’t aggressive, and you were kind, but you cuddled when you were in the mood to cuddle, thank you very much, and just because you wanted to be in a room with people you loved didn’t mean you actually wanted to interact with them in any way. When we told you to stop barking, you always slipped one more in there before resentfully shutting up. My funny Fudgie.
You lay quietly next to me the summer of 2010 when I thought I was dying and wanted to get it over with. When for weeks at a time I tried to convince myself that the lump constricting my throat and my breathing was an anxiety attack and nothing more, but it wouldn’t go away, and the thought of living the next 60 years of my life in an endless panic was too terrifying to contemplate, you lay quietly next to me and let me hug you. When I felt like I was floating a foot above my head you grounded me. I never had to explain myself to you.
I have never forgiven myself for how I treated you when I was young. I was learning power. When you did something bad, and I smacked your nose, and you cowered and looked so sad and pathetic and adorable, I felt a thrill. I continued to yell at you until you ran from the room. I felt big. Whenever you were a “bad boy” – you went into the garbage or made a mess in the house – I was happy because I got to do it again. It wasn’t until I was older that I realised how sick that was.
You forgave me.
You were always so happy to see us. No one believes me, but I know you loved Let it Be. You weren’t a huge fan of my room, but when that song was playing, you wandered in and didn’t leave until it was over. I love that a dog had a favourite song.
You didn’t cower when I lifted my hand in your presence (but you cowered at everything else, my silly boy). I loved comforting you. I loved that despite the fact that you would never fully understand this big, ridiculous world with its stools and CD cases and thunder, just being held by someone familiar soothed you and made it better. That was why I wanted to be there.
Am I wrong for feeling this way? Is this weird? I’m not trying to belittle my relationships with friends and family. But by virtue of them being human, those relationships will always be more complicated. Less pure? I don’t know. Is that patronizing? You were just a dog. 50% or more of what I loved about you was probably anthropomorphised. There was never any danger of you questioning my motivations. You don’t speak English.
I just want to express how much I miss you, and how much the 15 years you were with us is worth to me.