“Learn a lesson from your dog – No matter what life brings you, kick some grass over that shit and move on.”
I’m not the type to hold a grudge but I can be like a dog with a bone at times and focus in on something that has bothered me a little too much. I will have trouble letting go of a bad experience that most people wouldn’t have a second thought about. The frustration or worry about it will eat away at me and, even though the time to respond to the situation has long past I will still think about how I should have said this or acted like that. I also know that there is no point talking about it over and over again so I tend to internalise at times. I realised Friday morning that I am in that situation at the moment, over something that happened weeks ago so I decided to throw it out into the digital ether as a blog post as a kind of mental-cleanse of the situation.
It was one of those double-edged “the joy of Facebook” moments.
I use social media a fair bit, in particular Facebook. My nearest family are several hundred miles away, my current university buddies are scattered all over the world and it’s great for getting back and keeping in contact with friends. I have even found new ones through groups I have joined (not that that wasn’t something I was already doing because, blogging, eh Lis?) and developed strong friendships with people I only knew in passing at school. Also, like most bloggers, I use it as another way to engage followers. With the amount I use social media it’s inevitable that I will have negative experiences with individuals on it at some point but I am lucky I can count the number of times that has happened on one hand. Unfortunately every incident I can think of hasn’t been from a trolling stranger but from someone I have known in real life and mostly from someone I knew in the days before Facebook was even a spark in a Harvard student’s brain.
Clearly I am not going to name names but I will say now that I don’t care if the individual who upset me reads this as maybe they would then realise how much their words can cause hurt (although they may also not care, which would be very sad for them). We will just call this person “Eh”.
So what happened? They accused me of being a power-hungry animal abuser.
Finished laughing yet?
It all came about because Eh posted a rather rambling status which boiled down to “dogs are for life, not just for Christmas”. Now at some point in those rambling sentences another commenter noted that Eh was anthropomorphising a dog and objected to it somewhat and another person said that their dogs were like a member of their family. I chimed in with the comment that I didn’t think of our household as being a family, but more of a pack and once Minniepenny had worked out her place within our pack she was much happier, even if it was that was below the cat. It was a good natured comment and prompted an equally good natured response about the relationship dynamics between cats and dogs from another friend of Eh so I was completely unprepared for Eh’s reaction.
I was accused of a) seeing myself as the alpha of a pack (picking up on the fact I had said “her place”) and enjoying the power I have over a small creature and b) of being an idiot stuck in the dark ages because there is no such thing as a pack when it comes to a healthy group of domestic dogs because, science. Ok, so maybe they said 30 years of research into dog behavioural psychology, which is fair enough, but it was such a frothing-at-the-mouth response that they may as well have said “because, science”.
I was literally speechless and so just told them to get a grip (which, by the way, got some likes… not that that is important but it felt like I at least wasn’t being seen as that by other people). I then gritted my teeth and let them get on with it. I have known them for about 20 years and I didn’t want to overreact. The kicker was the passive-aggressive (more aggressive than passive, to be fair, but still stupid) status that followed ranting about how people were stuck in the dark ages about dog psychology blah blah.
Unfriend, unfriend, unfriend. I can do without the kind of idiot who likes to post inflammatory comments and treat people as if they were morons in my life.
Of course, there are all those “I wish I had said this” moments now. For example, the fact I never stated that I was at the top of any kind of hierarchy in our household and that was Eh’s presumption; that Eh has a dog which is frequently pictured on Facebook being forced to sit with food on her nose or in her mouth without being allowed to eat it for several minutes; that Eh got her as a puppy knowing that she would be have to be homed for months at a time by others while Eh went and worked away (often not organising somewhere for the dog to stay until the last minute); that my dog was living in a group of dogs before she came to me and that there was a definite hierarchy based on personalities (like there is in any group of social mammals); that Minniepenny, the cat and I would never have the same roles in our household – I can’t lie and sunbathe on the bed all day whilst one of them goes out to work to earn the money which kept a roof over a head and food in our bellies and last, but probably most importantly, it was a good natured comment which was being completely over reacted to by someone who clearly didn’t think much of me or care about how their words would hurt me at all.
You know what though? Getting that all written down *has* helped me. I don’t know much about dog psychology but I do know how to make sure my dog is happy and healthy. I also seem to know my own psychological profile well enough to know how to make sure I remain happy and mentally healthy too.
So if there was any argument to be had over the whole situation I think I have won it. I’m kicking the grass over the shit… I’m not the one who is angry at the world, determined to make others feel small or stupid. I will just keep trying to be patient and understanding as best as I can – that’s how I can win at life too.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Wise words for anyone, religious or not.