I stood frozen on a pale grey tiled floor. In one hand, I held a leash and harness.
My chest had been ripped wide open. My beating heart yanked from its cozy cove behind my ribs. Catapulted into an inferno of pain. And I’d been left to bleed and somehow, find a way to live without a heart.
This was the day we lost Hippo. Mr. Potamus. The best goddamned hippo in the zoo who still brings me to tears.
And as I stood there, Clark Kent was over at the reception desk, handling the $1200-some-odd bullshit tab involved with
killing your dog saying goodbye to the dog you never deserved and who had forever changed your life.
It still sucks — watching the man I love pay to say goodbye to the dog who was kind enough to love me and who loved The Man from the moment he met him.
This is bad shit. And I spend time on it. But it’s GOOD bad shit. Heart-heavy and heart-forward, the messy fuckery that is life coming to punch you in the gut when you least expect it. I lost a part of my life that day. WE lost. Small Dog lost. No one left a winner.
As I set out with Small Dog this morning on our morning walk (and later than usual because SLEEP and travel screws with it hard and I needed it and I finally did it), I nearly broke down crying because prancing towards us was A HIPPO.
A big, black, furry Floofmobile with a feathery, swishing tail and a tongue hanging out. Small Dog stopped in her tracks — that’s how I saw him because I was starting down at her.
It’s funny how the heart reaches for what it wants and misses, ain’t it?
As I got around to the other side of the block, I kicked myself for a minute for still letting the loss of Hippo hit me like this.
Silly, really. Because loss hurts. But it reminded me how much time I give to the bad shit in the world.
And there’s a difference between GOOD bad shit and BAD bad shit.
That’s today’s Hard Truth. We give the BAD bad shit in this world a staggering amount of our time and fuck it and fuck all that wasted time.
Losing Hippo was GOOD bad shit.
But then there’s the BAD bad shit.
When we’re slighted or scammed, wronged or wrecked. When life reminded us that the pedestal we’ve somehow climbed up and gotten comfortable on is made of sugar instead of stone with one good thunderstorm.
We love to dwell on that shit. The BAD bad shit.
Be heard. Harp. Bicker and bitch. Get folks on our side because we’ve been fucked and we need to feel fabulous again and validation is a powerful re-inflator for deflated egos. Validation is a pump you never have to plug in — but as humans, we’re shitty at holding self-worth and flip the “fill” switch a bit more often than we generally need to.
We dive into social media threads where no good is going to come of it. A vote won’t be changed. Where platforms can be used equally for social justice and squelching of ideas we don’t much care for. Where memes replace intelligent discourse and conversations are harvested for the one thing that didn’t quite set right.
And we dwell on that BAD bad shit because the BAD bad shit is an easy pace to find power.
People RALLY around BAD bad shit.
But how much time do we spend rallying around the GOOD bad shit — the stuff that’s heart and soul-forward. Those moments of blinding, transformative loss that redefine who we are and what we have the potential to become.
Versus the BAD bad shit — the stuff that we can’t change, don’t like, can’t be fixed or doesn’t even need to be fixed, and is going to do nothing but eat away the time and energy we could be using to do something…well, that’s NOT BAD bad shit?
Just think about all the time you’ve spent this year on shit that didn’t matter.
Shit that wasn’t going to make or break you — ever.
Time you spent on what happened as opposed to the time you could better spend on what’s happening.*
* Curious about this? I was too and explored it in The Shattering.
And my mindset shift on this is, I think, one of the reasons I’ve had one of the most creative years of my life (I mean, aside from kicking the drink — which helps more than just creativity).
Focusing on the GOOD bad shit instead of the BAD bad shit.
And I know it’s hard to see the difference some days.
But there is a difference. It’s up to each of us to decide which kind of bad shit gets our time.
Because if we look at it, that BAD bad shit has way more of our time that it deserves.
Imagine what could happen if we actively decided to shif the kind of bad shit we let sit in our hearts and rule our days.