Chapter Eight: Using My Words

I got distracted.
In your thoughts of me.
At some point they became more important than any of mine.
I took the advice too literally.
They said, “Be nice. To Everyone.”
But they forgot to tell me about the quicksand.
And the ones who had agendas.
And the lies.
And the compliments.
And the confusion, because I never had an agenda of my own.

I gave too much.
Because I had enough.
I put others first.
Because I never saw myself as worthy.
I lived vicariously.
Because my life wasn’t as important. I thought.
I let others choose.
Because I missed the lesson about confidence.

Then one day the distracting dust cleared.
And I saw my gifts.
And I learned about the shades of gray.
Like being nice. It’s not an absolute.
And there are shitty people. Of which I am not.
I can make the decisions.
Choose to not step in the quicksand.
Appreciate the compliments but owe nothing.

I have an agenda.
Not based on fear.
Your opinions of me are yours.
And that is where that ends.
My obligations aren’t based on your expectations.
They are whispered to me.
And now I listen.
Loud and clear.



(Photo by Gray Malin)

Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one.

robyn arouty