One Of The Biggest Compliments I Have Ever Received

One of the biggest compliments I have ever received came the other day from one of my neighbors, well the fellow I was having drinks with the night Stella decided to bugger off, it was that night.

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A preamble to this story is; I have a few people upset with me at the marina. Nothing major, or I don’t think so but I have to admit I have been breaking the rules. I am such a rebel. It has to do with Stella being on a leash, I put her on the leash to walk down the wharf but once we are on land I take her leash off because she has to walk around in circles for 5 minutes before she finds a place to do her thing and I really hate walking in circles with her. Plus she is trained to walk off leash and has learned to come when I call her and for the most part she is very good about staying by my side when we walk. When she sees a friend she will go and say “hi” but comes right back. Dogs need friends too. Right? It would be different if she was unpredictable or vicious but she is such a pussy she wouldn’t hurt a fly, actually she is afraid of flies. Most everyone on the dock loves Stella and if she is on the wharf they all call her to come say “Hi”,except one woman and she is recruiting followers every chance she gets.

She has lived here a long time and her dog is the dock favorite and she is a great dog, she and Stella like each other. The real kicker is when I was sitting at the picnic tables with Stella a while back Stella wandered over to their boat to say Hi to Teka, their dog and I went to get her and gave her shit and they both said, “Oh leave her, she’s fine. She just wants to say Hi.” I still made her come back with me because I want to train her to stay by my side.

Then I had Stella and Kiya off leash and she had Teka off leash and we ran into each other, Kiya stayed by my side but Stella didn’t listen to me and Teka didn’t listen to her and ran to each other and started to play. We each gave our perspective dogs shit and went on our way.

Next thing I know I am hearing through the grapevine that I should have Stella on a leash and Teka’s mom is all upset. oh well! not my fault any more than hers, in my mind.

I was more conscientious about keeping Stella on her leash until we were a distance from the dock and then I would let her go just before we got to the boat launch where she swims. I had just let her off the leash and sure enough here comes Teka and she is on her leash, Stella runs towards her but stops when I call her and I put her leash on. But Teka pulled on her leash and I guess the woman put her back out. Gee, sorry, Teka pulls on her leash whenever she sees another dog whether the dog is on its’ leash or not. Still not Stella’s fault, in my mind. But I heard about it again, not from the woman but from others on the dock. So I am the topic of conversation and much consternation; geezz I hate that, don’t talk behind my back because it makes me a bitchy rebel.

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I have really been trying hard to not get sucked into the pettiness and just “follow the rules”. I keep telling myself, “how hard can this be Carrie, just follow the rules. You never had trouble following rules before.” But the rebel in me has been hatched and I am not so much into following rules anymore.

In the past I had tons of “rules” I had my rules, I had the rules of my parents, the rules of society, James rules, OMG I had rules coming out my eyeballs and I followed all the rules. I was so busy following rules I didn’t have time to do spontaneous fun things like spur of the moment picnics, company dropping by sent me into a tizzy because it was not planned and the house might not be spotless, and the rules say you should phone ahead, spontaneity was not allowed.

My first husband dirty danced long before the movie ever came out, he was one sexy little frenchman but the only time I dirty danced with him was when we were back east; the minute we hit BC I refused to dirty dance. What if someone who knew me saw me?? Dirty dancing was not in the rules, what if someone disapproved? thought I looked stupid? what if I made a mistake? Dirty Dancing is supposed to be fun, sensual, spontaneous not planned and I am sure there are no “rules” to dirty dancing.

loud voice

I don’t do as much “tsk tsking” as I used to either, live and let live I say now, but I used to disapprove of “rule breakers”, i passed judgement on people who bucked the system. But I was young and really, I was not following my own rules, I was following the rules of my parents, society and anyone else who liked to make rules; deep down I loved the people who didn’t follow the rules. Not the criminals, there is a difference ( I never used to think there was because when you are raised by a prison guard breaking the rules is tantamount to breaking the law); we don’t have to be sheep, all following rules that were written before our time and are still in effect because, “Just because, don’t question the rules. You follow the rules because, well because, they always have been followed.”

Recently one of the fellows here is a single dad of a 9 year old little girl, she loves Stella and her dad took off on his Harley and left her at the dock. I don’t know where he went but she came to see Stella, we went for a walk and she mentioned that her dad had told her to have a shower while he was gone but she was nervous to go alone. I said that I had to do laundry and was thinking about having a shower and did she want to come with me. She was so relieved and ran to get her shower gear. Just as I walked up with my shower stuff one of the old timers on the dock was telling the girl she was dumb to be nervous to go shower. I could see the little girl was hurt, feeling self conscious, so I interrupted and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about, I know I’m nervous to shower up there. I’m just happy to have company to go with me tonight. Us girls have each other’s back.”  I did it again! I spoke against one of the “rule makers” and now I was on her hit list also.

So where does the biggest compliment fit in? Right now.

So when my neighbor and I were having our drink and chatted he said that he has been watching me ever since I moved onto the boat. how hard I work, the fact that I am always busy, and he had thought that if his dad was alive he would have loved me. I said I didn’t know if I should be complimented or not, and asked what his dad was like. And he said his dad was very charming, loved to dance, was a free spirit. and loved a classy lady with a bit of mystery.

I thought about that for awhile, not bad. Then he said that I am “free in this world.” He then explained that I am not a ‘rule follower”, that I buck the system and don’t do anything just because it has always been done, I am not afraid to speak my mind and I am a kind and caring person but I don’t care what people think, I live life to my own rules and people tend to get upset by people who don’t follow the rules. They follow them and so should everyone else. Their world’s are small and the rules keep everything organized and safe for them. They don’t know what to do with someone who doesn’t follow the rules. It throws them into a tizzy. To quote him. “You mean I have been eating shit sandwiches for 25 years and now you are telling me I don’t have to eat shit sandwiches? but all I know is shit sandwiches, for 25 years it has been all I know, I don’t even know what else i want to eat if I can’t have a shit sandwich.

free spirit

I smiled. Yes, that is the way I feel………… now.  I don’t want to upset people but i don’t want to eat shit sandwiches and I really think it is stupid to eat shit sandwiches just because it is a rule. I have only really felt this way for a short while, it has been building over time, slowly, as I got more in tune with my core self and started listening to my gut instincts and really paying attention to my inner voice and threw away all the lies I had been told about myself for most of my life.

I told my mom what he had said and she agreed, I live my own life without apology. Sure sometimes I have to sit back and listen to my inner voice and sometimes those old voices from bygone days will start to rumble and I have to argue with them a bit but it gets easier and easier and even comes naturally most of the time. So natural I hadn’t noticed that it showed.

I don’t quietly stew about some injustice, I speak up, i don’t bulldoze my way through but I don’t lay down and let others drive over me either.

I was sitting in the boat yesterday and I saw Teka was off leash and in the water right by the dock. The devil in me took Stella, on leash, for a pee. As we walked past Teka her and Stella exchanged looks and Teka came towards Stella. I said to Stella, “Yes Stella, look at that, Teka is off leash! what fun.” and I kept on walking.
When I came back a few minutes later Teka and her momma were gone. I knew she would be because she knows she has been wrong to talk behind my back and now she is embarrassed and will have to talk behind my back even more to prove she is right and I am wrong. And it is all so silly, she insists on eating shit sandwiches and is pissed off I refuse. It doesn’t up set me, I find it an interesting study in human nature.

But I do like the  thought of being “free in this world”.  Yes, it has a ring to it. I take it as quite a compliment.

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10 thoughts on “One Of The Biggest Compliments I Have Ever Received

  1. this was a great post its so good you have your own mind im trying to get mine back people can be very two faced some anyway when i first moved here it was supposed to be we but first night here told me he was leaving me again but i remembered something about the lady downstairs i was very friendly at first went for tea in her flat she seemed genuine i was coming down my stairs and heard something she was on the phone saying how weird we were to the people who own where i live i was just about to knock to invite her for tea back i couldnt bring myself to be false and am fed up with trying to please and look good so i am polite to her but shes never been invited in cant be bothered with two faced people had that from the n all the time i was a bit of a rebel at school and always had my own mind until i met him tiny bit by bit took all my confidence and own mind away i am still no contact apart from once i regretted it and was a weak moment but he texted that he wants to see me but i wont im on a healing journey and dont feel at all friendly with this person i miss who i thought he was but know it wasnt the real him my doctor knows everything and agrees i should stay away slowly building my self esteem stella sounds delightful how could anyone be annoyed by her they have nothing better to do thankyou for this post carrie xxx

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    • Kim, you are doing really very well, remember it is 5 years for me this November. I had better be getting my shit together by now! hahaha
      For my whole life I admired people who were a bit rebellious but was too chicken to break the “rules” I have spent most of my life feeling guilty and second guessing myself. I could present a confident appearance but I had just learned to fake it, I was sure everyone would figure out that it was all a show and I always had to verify I was making the right decision, I never “knew” or trusted my own instincts because I had been told so often growing up that I was a wrong to feel a certain way or act a certain way. It is such a weight off my shoulders to just be me.
      You will get there. It’s funny because I consider it a great improvement and personal growth but what it all boils down to is allowing myself to be imperfect.

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      • thankyou carrie it is about accepting and knowing ourselves and not doing what others think we should do having our own minds i now trust my gut as i was told all along it was in my head but i was right they make you believe you are worthless and they are superior ha dont believe that anymore thankyou for showing me the way im finding myself again xxx

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  2. Great examples, with important messages. Congratulations, Carrie, on your ongoing path of unfolding as a free spirit, empowered by your own wisdom.

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  3. I learned something, long ago, if someone says something stupid or is interfering with your life. Just say back something stupid. They will be shocked, and they will know, they were stupid and rude. I hope you understand what I mean. Hugs, Elisabeth

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  4. This reminds me of what you are expressing, Carrie — a quote honoring the soul, from Daniel Keopke: “Most of my life has been spent trying to shrink myself. Trying to become smaller. Quieter. Less sensitive. Less opinionated. Less needy. Because I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want to be too much or push people away. I wanted people to like me. I wanted to be cared for and valued. I wanted to be wanted. So for years, I sacrificed myself for the sake of making other people happy. And for years, I suffered. But I’m tired of suffering, and I’m done shrinking. It’s not my job to change who I am in order to become someone else’s idea of a worthwhile human being. I am worthwhile. Not because other people think I am, but because I exist, and therefore I matter. My thoughts matter. My feelings matter. My voice matters. And with or without anyone’s permission or approval, I will continue to be who I am and speak my truth. Even if it makes people angry. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. Even if they choose to leave. I refuse to shrink. I choose to take up space. I choose honor my feelings. I choose to give myself permission to get my needs met. I choose me” ~Daniel Keopke.

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  5. Ok, I have a slightly…slightly different perspective on the dog and leash thing. But first lemme just say I agree with you for most of it for your particular situation. And I think in many situations dogs off leashes can be and is no big deal, especially when the dog is trained and listens to commands and all dogs in vicinity are safe and friendly.

    In fact if Stella ran up to my house while I was sitting on the porch, I would be ecstatic that she trusted me enough and she’d be very welcome…although my cat may have a difference of opinion. LOL.

    Anyway, I used to be a dog walker/pet sitter and I used to walk a couple different dogs who were reactionary so of course they were never off leash. (As a pet sitter I couldn’t walk them off leash anyway, because of possible liabilities. ) But there were other people with dogs whether on or off leash who would think nothing of allowing their dog to approach and that’s when it’s dangerous and scary for the person on the other end of the leash of a reactionary dog and dangerous for the approaching and/or unleashed dog.

    I remember telling a guy walking his beagle once, not to approach (his dog was on leash and so was the dog I was walking) but he ignored me and said, “It’s fine, he’s friendly.” (Talking about his own dog). I glared at him and said, “That doesn’t mean the dog you’re approaching is.”

    Luckily it was fine, but the dog I was walking was unpredictable. He liked some dogs and despised others and I never knew who he’d flip out on. And in such a situation where the reactionary dog (on leash) decides to flip out on another dog, it’s traumatizing.

    In fact another dog at a different time, while I was walking her on leash did get attacked by the dog who lived next door to her and that dog was off leash. These two used to run the length of their mutual adjoining fence together rather playfully and when I saw the dog outside the house unattended I didn’t worry too much.

    But then when we approached (because we had to walk past that house to get to her house) the loose dog attacked. They got into a tussle while I stood there helpless. No one heard me scream for help and when I could finally get the dog away and into the house, it turned out her leg was broken. When I went to the next door neighbor to let her know what happened she looked at me like she didn’t believe me and even said, “Oh really? I didn’t hear anything.”

    I was so upset and she couldn’t have cared less. She thought it was no big deal. In fact when talking to the owners of these two reactionary dogs and what happened in different incidents, they don’t and didn’t seem to get the seriousness of this behavior.

    I know this is a touchy subject and it sounds like what I’m saying here isn’t a factor in your situation anyway, but always something to keep in mind when it comes to dogs. If Stella is approached by an aggressor maybe.

    The talking behind backs thing though…that’s middle school. It’s too bad she couldn’t just approach you and apologize. And standing up for the 9 year old kiddo…no doubt she felt a lot better knowing someone was in her corner.

    I know what you’re saying though about rules and eating shit sandwiches. It sounds like you’re letting go of the codependency and not letting someone else’s opinions and gossip effect who you are and what you wanna do. Amen to that!

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this Carrie. I had a little laugh about how small minds work and what a silly thing to be worried about when so many other really awful things are happening to people every day. What a great example of strength and confidence in your own conviction. I use to literally dance just the way I wanted and was a great deal more open. I have closed up for now. This story gives me a lot of hope that with time I will end up more confident than I was before this whole nightmare. I loved this post. Thank you.

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