certifiably guinea pigs
by, 07-10-12 at 05:14 pm (184 Views)
Well, after what, three weeks or so, we have all settled in – Dak, Dash and i. the gloves are off, and we’re all starting to behave in a way that more true to who we really are.
Over and over again I see this when I’m working with people facing an end of life health crisis. As families gather around the bedside, all the best and the worst in who they are gets magnified. Change, crisis, stress, all these things heat up the petrie dish of our lives, and stuff starts to grow really fast. Things we can normally handle, or keep a lid on get intensified. Quirks stay quirks when we’re on solid ground. But start to shake things up and those quirks become overwhelming and threatening, and people and families can implode.
The best and the worst of us comes out.
There are people who lift up cars because their baby is trapped under the wheel. People who survive on droplets of water for days at a time, lost in the wilderness, off the beaten track.
Dak and Dash and I were scared three weeks ago. It’s hard to say who was more scared. Because I drew the card that gave me a brain, and consciousness, I am lucky enough to remember the past and think ahead into the future. That’s an example of one of those “quirks”. Shake that up enough in a petrie dish and you get full blown panic attacks, nightmares, and depression.
Dak and Dash have no such brain or ability to think. They can’t worry or plan. So when they’re afraid, all they are is afraid. Right there. In the moment. Not remembering other times of change and trying to reassure themselves with how they go through that. Not thinking ahead to how things will be better in a few weeks. All Dak and Dash have is this moment. This now. And sometimes, that now is fear.
Whatever the moment is for them, they are in it completely. Not distracted, not able to avoid it, but in it completely. Which may not always be a good thing.
Except that they live with me. And I work very hard to have those moments of fear be few, and far between, and not last so long. I created the world around them to be quiet, and calm and safe. I gave them good healthy food. A place that was predictable, and warm (or cool), and dry. In fact, they have come to “know” the routine in this house so well, that they know exactly when to come out of their pigloo, with their noses up in their air, waiting for veggies. My other pigs know because they hear me come in the door and wrinkled the plastic grocery bags. Dak and Dash know because they have come to trust and rely on veggies magically appearing about the same time every day.
Safe, in a place that is predictable and trustworthy, Dak and Dash are now showing their true piggy selves.
Dash, who I worried was the more passive of the two, is really quite the boss. He sometimes won’t let Dak sleep in the pigloo with him. On two occasions I’ve come into the room to find Dak asleep with his head leaning on the outside of the pigloo.
I see Dash mounting Dak, and hear the soft whimperings Dak makes as he lies there waiting for Dash to finish. There’s some chasing, though not too much or too far – neither one of them wants to crash nose first into anything.
I feel badly for Dak and want to reprimand dash and tell him to stop, for heaven’s sake and leave his poor blind brother alone.
On the other hand, I have never been happier to see pigs doing the dominance dance. They may be blind. They may be deaf. They may have teeth that will literally grow outside their heads if left unchecked. But all in all, they are definitely, certifiably guinea pigs.
They are guinea pigs being guinea pigs. The essence of who they are unstopped by something as minor as vision or hearing. having lethal white syndrome doesn’t define who they are. It’s something they live with. They are guinea pigs.
I heard someone being interviewed on the radio today who had suffered from post-traumatic syndrome. The analogy he and his therapist used was that the past trauma was like a shadow. Always there. Looking at it all the time wasn’t going to make it go away. It was just a shadow that was going to be there forever.
A shadow, not the essence of who you are. These guys are guinea pigs who have lethal white syndrome. They are not lethals. They are guinea pigs.
And as for me I’m not a guinea pig, but I also don’t always know or understand the true essence of who I am. Like many of us, I live with shadow(s). I suppose mostly I do try not to look at them a lot.
And if those shadows don’t define me, what does? Who is “me” being “me”?
What is my true essence? And am I being true to that a lot, or only a little?
And, wouldn’t it be easier anyway – truth be told – to be a guinea pig living in the home of one of the cavy slaves on this forum?!