I think the title explains itself here. But there’s more to this story than it seems. If you’re wondering what happened, here is a summary: My name is Kate. I am 26. I had a boyfriend. You could venture the assumption that things were Getting Pretty Serious. Now we are not together.
So I did what any reasonable, well-rounded and emotionally-stable person does after a breakup. I rented a Zipcar and adopted a dog. Her name is Arya.
And Arya [The World’s Greatest Dog] has just taken a 2-day-backed-up-crap on my roommate’s rug.
Welcome to my life.
Arya is a scrappy white mutt of 1-year [I think?] with two heart-shaped spots on her back. The heart-shaped spots are brown. Her small face and triangle velvet ears are also brown.
There I am [in a neon pink shirt that says FLORIDA that I’ve been wearing for three days because my boyfriend and I just broke up, and I’m depressed] picking up five large dollops of the stinkiest dog turd you’ve ever smelled, using paper towels printed with inspirational sayings like SMILE.
I feel tears sting my eyes because the turd smells really bad, but also because it feels like bad shit keeps happening in my life.
I feel very lost. And frustrated. And confused. Here’s why.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been told the same old mantra: “Know your worth. Don’t ever settle.”
People say that to me even now. Last week, I went to a little party at my parents’ house. My mom’s friend waltzes over and with a wink and a conspirational grin and asks, “Hey, where’s that tall drink of water of yours?” [She’s talking about my ex, not suggesting I should drink water, which I probably should.]
“We broke up,” I say. It still hurts to say that, so I promptly finish my beer. I try to look as if saying that sentence is not difficult. Instead, I cringe and feel a sharp clenching pain in my chest. [It could be heartache. Or it could be heartburn from the entire bowl of buffalo chicken dip I just consumed without stopping. It’s hard to say.]
“Oh,” she says. “That’s too bad. But you’re so young! You have so much time. Don’t ever settle.”
What on earth does that even mean? Don’t ever settle? Settle for what? A convict? A murderer? Someone who doesn’t leave cute notes for me before he goes for work in the morning? Someone who leaves coffee grinds in the French press?
Does “not settling” mean that I should give up on someone after the first fight we have? What about the 10th? Or the 50th? Is don’t ever settle something we tell someone who is recently single to make them feel better about being completely and entirely single?
Fast-forward an hour at the party. I am now sufficiently drunk. Someone else says, “You know what? Love is hard. You’ve gotta find someone you can trudge through all the crap that life throws at you, together. Sometimes you’ll fight, and sometimes you’ll want to kill each other, but you’ve got to be a warrior for love.”
Be a warrior for love. But don’t ever settle.
Is anyone else feeling the duality and confusion that I’m feeling here? Maybe one more sip of wine will help.
Nope, still confused AF.
What if the crap that we’re supposed to trudge through together gets to be too much? Am I giving up on love, or am I not settling?
I don’t have the answer. But I do know this: I am not currently being a warrior for love. Instead, I went to a rescue farm and picked up a 1-year-old mutt [that has anxiety about pooping in my grassy courtyard due to the heavy vehicle traffic, and instead pooped on my roommate’s carpet].
How can you blame her? My life is full of crap too.
I pick up all the turds as she sits patiently, watching me. After I’ve flushed the poo, and scrubbed the carpet, I sit cross-legged and look at my dog.
She is amazing. She is a warrior. She made it all the way up here from Tennessee after having nine puppies and she still has a tail wag and a head-tilt for me.
I can be a warrior too. I am a warrior for my dog. I am a warrior for this glass of wine. And maybe, now that I’m not trudging through a crappy relationship anymore, I can be a warrior for myself.
[I changed my shirt, by the way. And my roommate’s rug is spotless. Shit’s looking up.]