For those who don’t know, I have been pet sitting for almost a year and a half. The point of this whole pet sitting gig was to save money for my wanderlust dream. Okay, wait. Did I say dream? It’s not only a dream. It, in fact, is vital to my soul and is the difference between life and death. I don’t just dream it; I need it.
The problem with pet sitting, though, is that I frequently move from house to house, so I am continually packing my shit in and out of my car. It’s exhausting. Also, my introvert-self is increasingly becoming overwhelmed by all of the text messages, emails and phone calls, and all I want to do is creep into a cabbage patch and hide until everyone goes away or leaves me alone – behaviour so not conducive to this type of living. And also slightly problematic because I don’t know anyone who grows that much cabbage.
Anyway, my skin has been rotting for almost two months with a rash so heartless and cruel; I swear one night, as the fires of hell were burning on my arms and legs, I heard it whisper, ‘keep scratching, my precious.’ I am on the precipice of the abyss and the only thing preventing me from falling is one tattered thread of sanity. If it gives out, I may never be seen or heard from again.
My anxiety is approaching Defcon levels, my skin glows in the dark, and I am pretty sure my hair is falling out…I THINK I MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT STRESSED OUT.
So, this pet sitting thing? Well, it’s time to throw in the towel. To this, I have no choice but surrender.
Despite the need for a conclusion to this particular chapter; it has also been one hell of a memorable adventure and a most unexpected gift, and for all of it, I am extremely grateful. The girl who one night, 18 months ago, recklessly handed in her notice and moved out of her apartment with no plan, armed only with a dream to step towards Beyond, has grown, and thankfully because of this experience, she will never be the same.
Throughout this journey, all of these sweet little pets provided me warmth at night, made me feel safe and comforted me when I was overwhelmed and powerless to another onslaught of tears. They have kept me company, lessened lonely, made me laugh, and once again feel the depth and beauty of unconditional love. Henry, Duke, Beardsley, Buddy, Sam, and Harvey are just a few of the furry souls who willingly gave me their trust, companionship, and hearts. As I move forward, I will carry them as reminders of what is possible if you just take a chance.
Absurdity came knocking countless times and proved that laughter is always the best medicine. In fact, Larry the serial killer showed up at the door again just the other day, and without fail, I provided him best dates and times to come back and kill me. I mean, clearly, I can’t be trusted, and it is no longer safe for me to be out in the middle of nowhere, ALONE. Looming baldness isn’t the most pressing matter in my life, me not being a big dumb fucking idiot is.
Before I began pet sitting, I was a full-time participant in mundane, living life according to the ‘Adulting 101’ rulebook. Clocking in and clocking out, writing on the side, hopeful that one day something would change. But that fateful night all those months ago was the moment I realized that to make impossible possible; it required that I step outside of comfort and follow my heart, no matter the cost.
In the name of hair loss and itch, however; I am adjusting my sails and plotting a new course. My body is making damn sure I get the memo; the current price is a little too high, and this story is not even close to being over.
When I closed the door to that empty apartment in pursuit of my dreams, I was driven by hope, imagination, and my dreams. But looking back now, I am not sure I actually believed it was possible. I wanted it, no question, but, there were just so many things I had yet to learn. I thought pet sitting was the answer, that it would take me where I so desperately long to go.
I was wrong.
My destiny sits at my fingertips. My dream is to see my words printed on paper, in a store where people buy things called books. WRITING is what is going to take me where I want to go, what is going to change my life and what is my goddamn responsibility because it is the ONE thing I love to do and might be a little good at. It is my gift. What I was born to do. And if I can’t say those things out loud or don’t believe them, then what is even the point of trying?
I yearn to write outside of cafes on the cobbled streets of Europe, and on the shores of new horizon’s, and for my eyes to feast on the wonders before me so feverishly my soul never again feels hungry. What these past months have taught me is that all the tools I need to get there, are inside of me. Only I can take me to the places I want to go. The road I must follow is paved with words, not fur.
When pet sitting wraps up in the middle of April, I don’t know where I am going to live. I have no plan. But that is how I want it. Between now and then anything is possible, and I don’t want to take that opportunity away by signing a lease and sealing my fate. I am rolling the dice and again taking a chance.
I am still that same girl, driven by hope, imagination, and my dreams. But, as I go forth this time in pursuit of the things that will nourish my soul, I am armed with the wisdom needed to carry me forward and help me achieve what I have set out to do.
I understand that I owe no apologies for how I feel. That to succeed, only words that serve me must be spoken inside and outside of my head. That I needn’t use the words, I am not normal, to explain my reasons why. There are things I need that others don’t, but that only makes me different. Never do I need to justify who I am. I am me, and for that, I am tremendously proud and thankful. Most importantly, I understand that the only person who needs to believe in me…is me.
When I look up, I don’t just see a sky full of stars, but the twinkle of possibility and the map to my dreams.
As I navigate the months ahead and finish what I started, I am going to savor the cuddles and warmth and love and be thankful for all of the blessings in my life. And on the days I find myself overcome with anxiety or sadness or itch, I am going to remember one thing. To look up.
Because, in the darkness, there indeed is the most extraordinary light.