Join us as Brandon Witt goes Outside the Margins.
At this point, you might be wondering if I am capable of crafting a post that doesn’t revolve around writing, My Little Ponies, or dogs. Well, you’re not the only one. I’m wondering that, too. This post will confirm that, no, I can’t.
After years of growing up gay in a small Bible-belt town, then years of reparative therapy, life lessons of the past thirty-six years, and just my own introverted [narcissist?] personality, I am very aware of what my strengths and weaknesses are.
One of my strengths, though some may see it as crazy, is the ability to make rather large decisions about life within the matter of moments. Looking back, sometimes I shock myself. I’m not reckless by nature, at all. Still, many of the decisions I’ve made, looking from the outside, appear just that. Reckless. Insane. However, I’m never wrong. Boy, that’s dangerous to say, huh? But, I’m not. I can read a situation, myself, and other people involved to an almost eerily accurate degree. At the beginning of our relationship, my boyfriend would make comments about how judgmental I am. We would meet someone new and I would either like them, or, more often, would not. When asked to explain, I would go down their list of negative attributes (selfish, user of people, certifiable, disingenuous, etc.) that I shouldn’t know within a minute of meeting them. Long story short, my boyfriend has come to trust my gut reaction to people. He still calls me judgy. Which I am. But….
With all my ridiculous list of real and imagined insecurities and weaknesses, which greatly impact my ability to be comfortable in crowds, self doubt in life choices and confidence in my ability to make the correct decision without much deliberation don’t make the list.
Three months after loosing Dunkyn, and Dolan continuing to be sick, I met little Calliope and within a minute of our meeting I fell in love and adopted her. She was perfect. I had some strange reservations that night, some gut that I’d made a mistake, but pushed them aside, telling myself I just felt like I was betraying Dunkyn.
What I didn’t know was the Calliope was extremely sick and had two horrid infections that were getting close to claiming her. (I’m still not sure how that got by the adoption place.) The poor girl, who wanted nothing more than to curl up on your lap and sleep all day was actually just exhausted by literally fighting to stay alive. After realizing she was sick and getting her medications, she began to feel better. Within a week and half of antibiotics and ointments, she was completely well. And while she still loved to cuddle for hours at night, the other side of her began to show itself. Little spikes of aggression. Typically towards Dolan, never towards me (but I would see something in her eyes that would give me pause). I gave excuse after excuse. I also began to keep secrets. I didn’t post the negative stuff about Calliope on facebook and such (save her tearing up the house, but that was different; that truly was puppy stuff). I didn’t want to admit to how bad the rip in Dolan’s ear was, about strange marks I’d find on him that had to be from her, though I couldn’t prove it. I didn’t want to admit how horrible walking her had become, how she’d go after other dogs, that it would take all my strength to keep her away from people walking their dogs. I would look at the few seconds where Dolan and Calliope would play and make it mean that everything was going to be okay. I would watch her play happily with my nephew and ignore the sense that I couldn’t look away, just in case—a feeling I never had with Dunkyn or Dolan.
Then one day, she bit me trying to get to another dog while we were walking. Within five minutes we were back in the car, I’d gathered all her toys and her bed, and we were heading to the animal shelter (non-kill). If I given myself half a second to think, I would have reconsidered and made another excuse for her. I sobbed the entire way there, Calliope on my lap, licking me in her sweet way, sobbed through the entire intake process, sobbed all the way home. Home, where I fully broke down. In some way it didn’t make sense how much I was hurting. I loved her, true, but it was more than that. It for sure triggered my loss of Dunkyn (which I had to admit I’m no where near being close to being over), but even that didn’t make sense. I completely lost it.
I wasn’t used to making decisions that were wrong, that didn’t work out. My gut lied to me this time, and I couldn’t wrap my head around that.
It wasn’t until midway through the next day, on a walk with Dolan (who was already 100% different, back to being his happy, insane self), until we were walking in the sun and I was filled with such relief that it hit me.
I’d had a similar moment a little over a decade before. Again while walking in the springtime, even before I had Dunkyn. I’d recently left my first boyfriend of two years. I’d not been able to stop sobbing. Not be able to breathe. And then, literally, like a light switch, with the sun warm on my face, the breeze gentle on my skin, the trees just beginning to bud with white and purple, I realized I was free, I was able to live again. I had hope. I’d not had hope in years. I’d tried to get away in one way or other since our first date, and was never able to (sounds so stupid, doesn’t it?). Though never physically abusive, my boyfriend was abusive in every single other way. I was beaten down until there was nothing left. I’d abandoned friends and family so they wouldn’t know. I’d lost everything I was. Then, suddenly, I was free. I’d finally found the strength to run. I had, and slammed the door shut behind me. I was free. Life could begin again. I could finally breathe. I hadn’t realized I’d given up ever feeling that again. Nearly.
Obviously, Calliope was not evil like my ex. (In honesty, he wasn’t evil. I can see exactly why he was the way he was. I understand it. I get it. However. For whatever reason, I still need to see him as evil. He wasn’t, though. How he treated me, was.) Obviously, Calliope needed a different home and different help than I can provide.
What’s harder to admit than the fact that my gut instinct and perception isn’t nearly 100% reliable like I like to believe, is that my first relationship still effects me. Which, duh. Of course. However, I thought was aware when it does. Because it does, often. Sometimes, when I’m angry or hurt by the amazing man I’m with now, I have to say, “I know this is nothing about you, that it is just triggering hewhomustnotbenamed.” I do hate the people we let have power over us still show up in our psyche a decade later. Of course, I wouldn’t be the man, the artist, that I am not without those years. Nor would I be as strong. But still…
I’m not entirely sure what to do with the contents of this blog. Even less sure what those of you who read it are supposed to do with it. I’m not going to over-analyze it any further. I’m just going to leave it here and step away.
The next blog post will be happier. I promise.
~ Brandon Witt
About Brandon Witt
Brandon Witt resides in Denver, Colorado. When not snuggled on the couch with his two Corgis, Dunkyn and Dolan, he is more than likely in front of his computer, nose inches from the screen, fingers pounding they keys. When he manages to tear himself away from his writing addiction, he passionately takes on the role of a special education teacher during the daylight hours.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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