Dogs

I’ve been thinking about my dog a lot lately.  She was a Terrier mutt that lived to be 17 years old. We got her for Christmas 1998. Santa delivered her to us in an Avon box, which she cleverly escaped in order to crawl under the screen door in her rush to meet us. Cliche as it sounds: It was love at first sight. Even my mom, who wasn’t fond of dogs, fell in love.  She was a traveling dog. She loved taking road trips with us, even if those trips were just to the corner store and back. She was fiercely loyal to us but didn’t like other dogs for anything.  Her favorite food in the whole world was apples. I remember the day she discover the apples that our tiny apply tree dropped. I was walking by my parents room and hear a growl so I go back to see why Ginger is growling and it turns out she’s munching on a half ripe apple from the tree. I laugh to myself and tell her “I don’t want your stinky apple anyway” before continuing my journey. I used to talk to her all the time. Anyone who owns a pet knows what I mean.
We connect with our pets so much and we want the best for them their whole lives but this seems to change when they get ill or old. We start worrying about losing them and want to keep them alive,sometimes at the expense of our pets comfort/dignity. We get so attached to our pets. They’re good listeners, good cuddlers, never judge you and are always down to hang out, OF COURSE we want them around for as long as possible; our attachment to them can get in the way of putting their comfort first.

There’s this product called Vet CBD that I wish had existed years ago when Ginger was about 16. I’ve had no fewer than 10 different people attest to the wonders the tincture has on their pets. Some pets had arthritis, some pets were going on trip and were anxious and some had tumors. In each case the presenting problems reduced within 3 days of starting the CBD oil. My favorite story however comes from a patient who came in looking really sad because because his  “buddy for 15 years” was on her last leg and he was contemplating putting her down. He decided to give Vet CBD a shot because he had heard me talk about it before. Three days later he comes in with the biggest grin on his face and says his buddy is acting “like they’re 10 years younger” and that he can’t believe what a miracle CBD is.

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Friendships, Offspring and Realization

I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across an article titled “Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendship of Boys?”  Now, I’ve been interested in gender issues ever since the first time my mom told me I couldn’t do something because “that’s for boys.”  As much as I railed against traditional gender norms for girls I totally bought into those for boys until embarrassingly late in my life.  I mean yes, it did piss me off that boys seemed to be socially and emotionally inept but it never occurred to me that ,  some males didn’t want to conform to these roles. Honestly, this was probably because I had never met a guy  who showed an (even mild) interest in learning to listen and communicate. I do not mean in romantic relationship either. In truth most of my friend group has always been pretty mixed so the majority of  my interactions with guys was platonic, so you could say I got to see them “in their natural state” (yes, I’ve been a nerd forever too :-D).
Anyway, this article describes how loneliness is a genuinely life threatening problem for men in the U.S. It talks about factors that lead to this such as traditional gender roles, the hatred toward anything feminine/female in “real” men, limited range of feelings, etc. and goes on to point out that as boys age they tend to lose the people they consider best friends. For some it’s because they “drift apart”, others don’t want to be seen as “weird” or “gay.”  Which brings up yet another factor that goes into destroying close male/male relationships: homophobia. Boys who are gender non-conforming are automatically seen as gay.  And of course we live in a heternormative, patriarchal society and no one wants to be seen as less than if they can help it.
In my last post I wrote about how important community is for individuals. I think one of the greatest things the internet can be used for is building community. Meet-up and other sites encourage people with similar interests or from similar walks of life to get together and enjoy each others company. Humans are naturally social creatures and do poorly when isolated from others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of my favorite things about cannabis is that it is a social drug. We WANT to share our joy with others, we WANT to have buddies to pass the joint, even so some people still struggle with how to get past being buddies to form deeper relationships. This is not limited to just males, females and others may have problems forming these deeper relationships for various emotional/psychic/physical reasons.
So how does one form deeper bonds or reconnect with former friends?   ***Warning: Cliche ahead* It varies from person to person. One thing IS essential though: open, honest communication. Usually, people learn this from their family of origin. As we all know this is not the case for a lot of people. Even people who are determine to raise their child with the most open mind have struggles with unlearning behaviors and ideas that have been ingrained in society for centuries. Talking about feelings and thoughts is hard because we fear we will be made fun of for feeling and thinking, in other words, merely existing. It’s no wonder people have trouble with communication.

Community

                      A theme that has been coming up a lot in my life lately is community. A lot of people have approached in my both professional and personal capacities and spoken of their desire to engage more fully with the world around them. It may be that they have a hobby that they want to get back into, a brand new endeavor that has always interested them, or a friend they want to reconnect with because “we had the best adventures”, but whatever the reason one thing is universal: humans are curious. No matter what the endeavor I always remind people to start with other people. Simply talking to others about your desires and interests might lead to an unforeseen opportunity. At the very least one can gain copious amounts of knowledge from seeking out the community in which they can foster a passion.
                      Socializing is hard for a lot of people. This is understandable given the various pressures that come from a society that values “fitting in” and the consequent felling of inadequacy/anxiety when one doesn’t or chooses not to blend in with the crowd. However, when one finds a community based around a passion for something, learning and sharing new ideas around said interest it can be a way to “ease in” to socializing because one already “fits in” in at least one way. Finding community can be transformative for many because it it is the first time they are surrounded by like minded people and guess what? It feels AMAZING to belong to a group as passionate about an interest as one is. One such group I recently joined was the East Bay Canna Community I consistently attend their First Friday Meetings on Lake Merritt and have found a tight knight group of activist that I could not be happier to know.