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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand

I Don't Feel Like Being Funny Today

Not that I was funny yesterday or the day before that. I've been feeling introspective and sentimental, so whether you like it or not, that's what you'll read until I get back into a silly goofy mood. Call it an existential crisis, mercury being in retrograde/ doing somersaults or something, but I'm not feeling like hahahahaha, I'm feeling like let's dissect the world and all of its problems and see if its possible for one person to solve them. Oh it's not? Well, that's disappointing and not at all anxiety provoking.

Or maybe it's because it rained rather aggressively today and sheets of water literally poured out from the sky and we had to feed my dog beef flavored CBD oil. Oliver hates thunder. It's so crazy to me that dogs can be anxious just like humans are. We used to have a dog named Winston (rest in paradise, King) and he had so much anxiety. He hated storms so much that he would pant and crawl into people's arms for refuge. These were long storms too. That meant that you would have to stay up with him until 3 a.m., which is when they usually ended, because if you stopped petting him he would freak out. Maybe I am delusional, but I often thought that he would choose me out of every person in the house to come to when he felt this way. It wasn't like I was his favorite human, he had a biting problem and I was often the target (I forgive you my aggressive little guy). But, I think he knew that I would take care of him when he needed it. So, whenever the first thunder shook the house and I heard his paws scratch on my door, I always answered it and scooped him up in my arms. Even if it meant I would not longer be sleeping that night, even if he was the craziest dog I had ever met. I would be there for him as long as he wanted me to.

I feel that way about a lot of people. Like, maybe I'm not always everyone's favorite friend, but I think I'm the person they seek out when they need that sort of comfort like I would give Winston. Obviously, people are not crawling into my lap, that would be insane. But I can always tell when somebody needs to hear something positive about themselves or just be made to laugh. If they're anxious about something, I tell them about a time when I did something way more embarrassing and stupid than they ever could. If they need a hug, I'm also there for that (although I can never tell when somebody wants a hug, some people are not huggers!). Mainly, I feel like I'm just a good listener, not even in a ugh I'm such a great friend way! But, in a if somebody is telling me about anything that is bothering them, I will stay up with them for as long as they want me to. And it's happened when I've found that it's 3 a.m. and a friend is still talking about something that bothers them, and I feel like I'm right back there in a house with the thunder, taking care of someone until they need me to.

It could be a boundary issue for sure. But, as long as I don't feel like a person is only coming to me to talk about their problems, then I'm willing and ready to be there (there is a difference, of course). Why do I care so much? (Ahem, mental illness!). I think because I know what it's like to be that lonely person who needs someone to talk to and to not have anyone answer that call. That can be frustrating, of course, but it's mainly just a little bit sad. (Ok, a lot sad!). There is a warmth that comes from taking care of other people that you don't get from taking care of yourself first. I can never rest if I know that a person is sad, I can never put down a subject if I want to make sure someone is okay, except for the times when I don't know what to do or what to say and those are probably the most regretful of all.

When Winston died, it hit me hard because I knew that he was aware that he was dying. It made me undeniably sad because that's what he had been scared of his whole life. This time, there was nothing I could do for him to take away that anxiety. I was at school when it was time for him to go and I couldn't be there for him the way that he probably needed me to. But, I had been there for him all those other times and as a result, I have no regrets about him knowing that he was loved. I would make a joke and say it wasn't that deep, but it was to me so it doesn't feel right to lighten that feeling. (Peace money yolo)

I guess now you can see why I didn't feel like being funny today. If I had you might never have heard about Winston, that 20 pound golden doodle with the personality of a cynical human being. I always felt weirdly connected to him in more than just an "oh I love my dog way". It was more than that. Winston was just like me (for real). He loved meeting new people, but he didn't trust the people who loved him. He hated storms and they made his breathing funny. He lashed out, but he only ever did it out of fear. He was also really freaking cute.

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