Five years …

I’ve sat in front of recruiters as they’ve asked me where I expect to see myself in five years time. I am not a fan of this question. I sit there trying to read their faces. To me, five years is insanity. I’m not even sure I can guarantee my existence for a week.

I start to feel my heart race. Can they tell how panicked I am? I start to sweat. Can they now see I’m panicked? At this point my eyes are darting around the room wondering how I can escape this question. I can’t. At this point I think about the job I’ve applied for and think about where they might potentially want the position to be doing in five years time.

If I think five years back I am shocked at how far I’ve come. Five years ago I had long hair that could be pulled back, I wasn’t as heavily tattooed, I would never have made a joke, I would say yes to everything, wouldn’t let people see any of the horrors I’ve lived with in my head and if you asked me I’d tell you I would want a quiet country life.

Five years from that point and all of that is wrong and even though I don’t understand who I am I can recognise what I’m not. I’m not the quiet country girl. I was and did everything I could to try to become the person my parents wanted me to be. Maybe they’d love me if I could make myself better and good in their eyes. Nothing ever seemed good enough. I tried. I tried very hard to live up to what they expected. Even now I wonder what was so wrong with me that they couldn’t love me.

Today I am heavily tattooed. I swear too much. I hurt myself too much. I crash hard too much. My hair is insane. My clothes are short, sometimes tight and I always love to make a piece a little different by tacking on some weird bow or matching it with a crazy beanie.

I fucking hate the country and love cities. Cities are busy, colourful, noisy. They are filthy, grim and dangerous and it’s busy at all hours of the day. I love that I walk around and I know nobody. I’m alone but not alone. That’s somewhat comforting.

I know I’m not being judged. Nobody I walk past cares. They are all busy trying to get to their destination. I can wear the most insane things and I’m not out of place.

I like traffic in the rain. Everyone is bustling about, headlights, warmth of your heater on your fingers, the promise of your destination heating your body up even more. And the rain. The rain looks so pretty when it falls on my window and I see the lights of the city dancing with through it.

Most people don’t like fighting for car parking but this is just a promise that wherever you are headed is busy with people of all types. Restaurants, cafes and dodging traffic when on foot is like heaven to me. The odd little quirky finds. Those hidden city secrets.

In five years time – if Pedro the black dog has swallowed me whole – I’d like to think I’d be in a busier city than what I currently live in.

 

That dog you have there, he is dangerous

Pedro is a scrappy and unruly black dog. He is distinctive in that he has a few white spots spread across his body and tail. Pedro is a kelpie crossed with a border collie, and he has fluffy velvety ears. He sounds very adorable, right? He is at first glance.

He gets excited quickly but this turns into anger. His barking assumes an abnormal tone, he salivates in the mouth and at this point can’t swallow or drink, His gait then becomes uncoordinated and he has difficulty walking.  His large and strong body frame commands respect as he growls.

Pedro never leaves my side. He is with me wherever I go. If I try to starve him, he’ll find some way to be fed but he gets very angry when this happens. He always knows the best way to make me suffer.

The more you push him away, the more he lunges with strength at you. He is getting to be a pretty big dog these days and I worry he has some growing still to do.

Pedro knows how my story ends. He is creating it every single day. He taunts and wags his tail as he bails me up against the ledge of the cliff. He is one very short growl from sending me jumping off. I’m not going to fight him anymore because I’ve already got the scars and bruises from that game.

Several dog behaviour therapists have tried to tame this beast but nobody has ever been able to completely sedate him. They give him a cocktail of colourful large pills and tell him they will make the bad dark go away. It makes him a little more predicable than he normally is but his anger is still out of control. Pedro grew up with the rules being skewed and now has no idea how to unskew them.

Pedro is much smarter than I am. He knows all the tricks too. Getting him interested in something a distance away and having him chase it before quickly making my escape. Pedro owns me. He controls me. He tells me where to go, what to wear, who to talk to.

This hulk of a dog wants me to know how stupid I’ve been. How irresponsible I’ve been in having those two kids. Stupid for building that life up the I have.

Pedro wants me to declare defeat. He wants to see that white flag. He wants to win. He is clever and strong. I’ve got a knife and he has a gun. Pedro will win. He knows it. This is the story he is so skilfully manipulating. Pedro is that dog that does learn new tricks. He is always five steps ahead.