What Owns Me

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

I bend down and attach the leash to her halter. Her whole body wags in anticipation and she looks up at me with chocolate eyes, her fluffy ears cocked.

Unlatch the gate and we’re off. Where will we go?

This is not a charming neighborhood. These are small, mid-century, single level homes. You are more likely to come across a chain link fence than a picket fence. There are no neatly manicured lawns. What you’ll find is xeriscape out of necessity (renters don’t mow) and funky steel sculptures that someone made in their backyard shed or got at the swap meet.

I guess there’s a certain charm in that.

There's a fine line between xeriscape and zeroscape.

There’s a fine line between xeriscape and zeroscape.

 

Lawn art.

Lawn art.

At the stop sign I take in our options. There’s that lady up ahead with the dingo-looking dog who lunges. What do you think girl? She stands on short legs low to the ground but she’s not afraid of dingos. Just garbage trucks and tall men with dark hair. (We all have our baggage.)

There’s the street I always avoided when I walked our other dog. He’s about 50 lbs and full of nervous energy. When we’d walk past a house with a dog barking, he’d try to lunge and I felt out of control. My husband walks him now. I’m just not good with that kind of energy. It’s too much like my own.

Walking with this little girl is different. A chain link fence holding back a pack of pit bulls? Just walk on by. Those two basset hounds who you can hear howling long after we’ve passed? Meh. The old lady and her dog with the matching white hair (he barks, she yells)? Unfazed.

Fearlessness sets us free, at least out here.

Fear can own me. Fear that I will never be as skinny as I think I should be. Fear that thinking that way makes me shallow and weak. Fear that age makes me unattractive because what I really want is to be that woman who ages “gracefully” and looks more beautiful at 65 than she did at 35. Fear that I won’t make it another 20 years to 65 because the world is f*cked and the sky will crash down on my head. Fear that I’m raising tiny sociopaths who can’t even master the basic character trait of sharing. Fear that I have no business raising children at all.

We are owned by what we think about and by what consumes us as we try to fall asleep at night. We are owned by what we allow to influence us (faith, technology, the consumer machine). We are owned by our beliefs, our passions, our body’s ability or inability to heal itself and by our relationships. We are all owned by something.

What owns you?

Right now this pup and I own each other, tethered together by a thin polyester cord, a synchronous cadence and a tenuous fearlessness.

Me and my shadow.

Me and my shadow.

21 Comments on “What Owns Me

  1. Owned by too much in my head and too much coming in from select that constantly let me know that my choices are not the ones that ‘everyone else makes’ and that I’m inherently ‘wrong’ – I’m too much “this” and not enough “that”. Throwing that off is hard. When you mistrust your choices it makes it hard to go with ‘gut feeling’ – maybe when I’m 65 I’ll have it.

    It still amazes me that I have been a parent for 12 yrs and one one has called me out as a poser.

    You’re not shallow about thoughts of your body image – but it’s a lovely body that I wish was mine. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Animals sense the good people – and that’s why Lucy loves you.

    Like

    • I just started to feel like a grown up this year! I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I have my shit together with parenting. I wake up some days and know that I’m whole and other days I feel incomplete before I can even open my eyes. But dogs just wake up, stretch and eat. ❤

      Like

      • We are too conscious for our own goods sometimes.
        I’m waiting to feel grown up – but I am starting to take myself more seriously – maybe that’s the step in that direction.

        I have those kinds of feelings as well – and we always want to not feel the incomplete part, we like to not feel uncomfortable – but it’s probably one of those in-the-long-run beneficial thing. Or not – that might just be the way we are and it doesn’t have a good/bad aspect at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fear. Fear often calls the shots but I’m getting better at that. I will say that I feel more fearless when one specific 12 lb Boston Terrier is at my side. Dauntless, in fact – fearless AND determined. We are co-protectors, walking the neighborhood with a “yeah, that’s right,” attitude. Nothing will happen to either one of us so long as we are attached as a unit by that thin cord. I hear a lot of people saying that there is a God shaped hole that all of us seek to fill with one thing or another. For me, I have a Dog shaped hole that God graciously fills for me me with this cute little black and white Underdog. All 3 of us together can conquer the world. So what rules me? Today it’s that I don’t have to do this alone.

    Like

  3. Excellent piece Karen. You know,. I do believe that this is the first time I’ve heard that question asked – although the Bible points out that one can only have one master. The trouble with that, of course, is the day to day stuff that we all deal with owns us to differing levels daily – and it really doesn’t ever get to the level of God.

    Well said Karen.

    Like

    • So true Paul. Pondering the question brings me back to God in one way or another. I find myself more grateful, sometimes more humble and usually more grounded after I take stock in what my attention is focused on. “What” owns me is very different from “Who” owns me because like you said, our day to day struggles get in the way of remembering who created us.

      Like

  4. ‘We are all owned by something.’ Indeed.
    I loved this so much. I make it an exercise daily to try to make what owns me positive but I fail at that far more than I would like. This post is one I’m going to look back on often. In all honestly, I felt such a feeling of suddenly not feeling so alone. I’ve been floundering a little lately and this gave me a good kick in the pants. Not feeling alone and untethered will do that for me.

    So, thank you.

    Like

    • I’m so glad it made you feel that way! I fail pretty often too. I’ve been getting so impatient with my kids lately and it permeates my entire mood. My bad attitude started to own me and I finally found that if I silently say, “Just roll with it,” every time I start to feel frustrated I really do just roll with it. I can’t really choose how I feel but I can choose what to do with my feelings. Much love to you Sandy!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What owns me? One Brittany/Beagle mix and one beagle. Both seniors now. Both have a HUGE piece of my heart. They help to allay the fear when it tries to take over. A snuggle with a dog (or my kids when they’ll tolerate it) will do it every time.

    Awesome post Karen.

    Sherry

    Like

  6. Dear Karen,
    There is so much about this post to love. It’s one that begs to be read more than once – which I’ve already done three times.

    “Walking with this little girl is different. A chain link fence holding back a pack of pit bulls? Just walk on by. Those two basset hounds who you can hear howling long after we’ve passed? Meh. The old lady and her dog with the matching white hair (he barks, she yells)? Unfazed.”

    Reading this makes me want to sit up higher in my chair and puff my chest out. Then I read this: “Fear that I’m raising tiny sociopaths who can’t even master the basic character trait of sharing. Fear that I have no business raising children at all.”
    Oh God, yes. Ugh.

    You’ve given me a lot to think about. What owns me? I don’t have a clue. I feel like a feather in the wind these days – just floating from one day to the next, not tethered to anything. Promising to be better at whatever it is I need to be better at and then failing miserably because I can’t get my eyes shielded from shiny objects.

    As always, you make me think in the best of ways. I’m thankful for your friendship and insight every day. xo

    Like

    • I have so many distractions right now that I can’t even commit to reading a book (which, ironically, is one of my favorite distractions)! Sometimes we’re feathers and sometimes we’re rocks. 😉 xxoo

      Like

  7. She is just adorable. There’s nothing like animals to center and calm us. My rabbit has helped me fend off many a panic attack. I much prefer your type of neighborhood. So much more character than the perfectly-landscaped variety.

    Like

    • Oooh! A rabbit! All that soft fur and warm body. I feel calm just thinking about it. ❤

      Our neighborhood is eclectic for sure. No two houses are the same. Our next house will have a little more distance from neighbors and a lot more desert. That's the goal at least. 🙂

      Like

  8. “We are owned by what we think about and by what consumes us as we try to fall asleep at night. We are owned by what we allow to influence us (faith, technology, the consumer machine). We are owned by our beliefs, our passions, our body’s ability or inability to heal itself and by our relationships. We are all owned by something.”

    Just loved this part, Karen.

    I’d like to think that what “owns” me is rooted in good, but I know better. We humans are too diverse to be all one thing or all another. But I hope…when I cross this life into the next, the good will have won out.

    I hope.

    With heart & friendship,
    Dani

    Like

    • I like to think that about myself too but it’s complicated. We are all so complicated – or maybe we’re simple but we just make things complicated! Biologically we’re just like every other animal except for our ability to imagine things that don’t exist, and those are usually the things that cause us the most pain. Much love to you Dani! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. wonderful…what owns me?
    i’ve asked that question before, and answered it often, differently each time.
    Let go of one thing, another pops up, or something in the background gets stronger…
    perfect meditation fodder.
    Honest as sit!

    Thanks for this today
    xo

    Like

    • It’s an interesting question and I’m like you. The answer can change each time I ask it. I love reading my old journals and seeing what’s changed and what has stayed the same. I can sometimes feel like life is standing still until I look back and see how much has changed.

      Like

  10. Oh I just love her and you! Both of you as you walk through your days together. I liken your journey to my own — the path where I try to balance my fear with real-living. So grateful for your inspiration today. XO

    Like

%d bloggers like this: