We recently returned from a trip to the French Quarter in New Orleans and I’d like to mention something I saw.
We’ve been to the French Quarter a lot, heck, I even lived near there for a year, but this year something was different.
There were A LOT more homeless people on the streets.
People holding signs saying “Homeless Vet: Anything Helps,” or just “Homeless: Anything Helps.”
Another interesting twist was that many of them had dogs with them.
And almost all of the dogs were some type of pit bull breed/mix.
I didn’t see a single dog looking malnourished, for which I was glad.
The same couldn’t be said about their owners. This made me sad.
I realize a lot of these folks may not actually be homeless.
I realize a lot of times people are just doing this as a business instead of working.
But, they know how to pull my heartstrings and that was by having dogs.
I don’t begrudge anyone having a dog, even if they are homeless.
If anything, having that dog and their unconditional love is something I think everyone should have!
So, during our trip to the French Quarter I made a deal with myself.
For every dinner we ate, I would save half and give it to someone on the streets IF they had a dog.
And that is exactly what I did for four nights straight.
I would even get a plastic to go bag and silverware and napkins to go with the food.
Then, as we would walk back to our hotel, I would find someone who looked hungry and I would hand over the bag – always with the request “please make sure your dog gets some of it.”
The response I almost always got was something like, “Thank you ma’am, he/she will probably get all of it”(meaning their dog)
I know it wasn’t much and I know they might have been scamming me/people.
But, it made me feel good to try and help just a little.
And, of course, I got LOTS of doggie kisses over those four days.
I have in my possession a box. This box holds what few memories I chose to keep while growing up. It has traveled with me for years and I’ve gone a decade without actually opening.
So, I pulled out “The Box” to dig around for writing ideas for one of my classes. It was as I pulled each scrap of dot matrix printed paper out, each unicorn adorned notebook and each faded ink scribble that I found the letter.
OH MY GOD.
It’s the letter I wrote to myself in 1988 with the envelope informing me, “Open April 19, 1998.”
I thought this letter had been lost years ago! I had thought about it often and always wondered what happened to it.
All I can say is that it was meant to be found NOW and not back in 1998.
I opened it up and read it outloud to Charles.
Let me tell you, it was very sad, the things I had to say to my future self.
But what is really cool is how everything I wished for my future self in 1998 (when it comes to love, at least) has totally come true; but in 2014 instead.
The line that struck me the most, “Sometimes I get so lonely that I want to sleep with somone just to have a warm body near.Beause I know that, even in that short time, someone wants me for something.”
I was 17 when I wrote that letter, living in my car, and trying to graduate High School. I didn’t date. I wasn’t popular. I was pretty much the person you never actually noticed. (Like a Gray Man in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series!)
Talk about taking a walk down memory lane.
It’s been a long time since I went to yoga.
And by a long time I mean, about 8 months.
It started off with the shoulder injury, I couldn’t “yoga” while it was hurt (but I tried.)
Then it was the house purchase and all my time was taken up with that.
Then it was school – I started taking 12 hours of class (instead of the 9 I had been taking) and it was kicking my butt.
So yoga just fell further and further by the way side.
Now, I’m 20 pounds heavier and I’m afraid to go back.
Since I left, the studio has moved into a new facility and I will be completely “new” all over again.
It was hard enough to for me to walk in that door the first time.
I’m afraid of walking in it for the second time.
I’m embarrassed at being gone so long.
I’m embarrassed at having gained 20 pounds of weight back.
I’m embarrassed that I can barely bend over, much less do a chatarunga.
It’s that fear and embarrassment that is keeping me mired in my misery.
I keep telling myself, “This is the night! This is the night I go back.”
And then I find yet another excuse to stay home.
Maybe this is the week it happens.
In the meantime, the fear and embarrassment is killing me.
People accuse me of being an overachiever, like it’s a bad thing.
My motto has always been “Why do it later when I can do it now?”
Mostly because there is always something waiting in the wings which needs to be done.
I finish my college assignments right away so I have more time to work on other assignments.
But for that, I’m called an overachiever.
I used to go to yoga 4, maybe 5, times a week.
For that, I was called an overachiever.
When my boss asks me for something I do it right away and, more often than not, I’ve already anticipated what he wants so it is already done.
And for that, I get told “you are such an overachiever.”
At some point it actually starts to hurt my feelings because they say it like it’s such a bad thing, like I’m a bad person for doing things quickly.
I know it’s silly to get my feelings hurt, but for some reason, people seem to think saying something like this (over and over again) shouldn’t bother me.
I don’t see why it is so wrong for me to work ahead and/or work quickly. If I didn’t do this, I’d never get anything done!
Like I said, there is always something waiting in the wings. Housework, for example. There is always laundry or dishes or cooking or mopping, etc. to take care of. If I let one task sit then the next task gets behind and so on and so forth and suddenly it has all snowballed to the point where you are in over your head and don’t know how to climb out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into.
So, I’m an overachiever. But I wish people would stop saying it like it is an accusation instead of a compliment.