I am not who I once was…
(warning: animal abuse mentioned)
As I watched from way across the field I witnessed this grown man hold his dog still as he punched him over and over. The image becoming blurry until the tears overflowed. My eyesight cleared in time to see him drag the dog home.
I am such a baby.
Once I could have handled this.
Years ago, I remember watching from a short distance, people attempting to herd a flock of sheep onto a trailer. They clearly didn’t know what they were doing. I am not sure what they were thinking ,as a bucket with some feed rattling around would be enough for most sheep to follow you…. but I watched as they roped one. I knew that would never work. Sheep have an “oppositional reflex” which makes them pull back if you pull forward. So they yanked with their backs turned to the sheep, the rope over their shoulder…. and the sheep just laid down. I remember being paralyzed as I watched her march back the length of the rope and closed fist punched that sheep in the face. I mean she just punched it full force over and over again all the while pulling the rope tighter… until it just lay there. She was strong and I knew it. This was years ago when times like this would make me feel enclosed in glass…. like an aquarium. I stood atop the little hill in my aquarium as I held my pregnant belly and watched this sheep just lay still… it was surely dead. They got the last sheep onto the trailer … no one flinched at her behavior. They did not say a word as she walked over to it and kicked it a few times in the ribs… The other people just locked the trailer…. as if nothing had happened…..as if nothing was still happening.
But then again… I wasn’t doing anything either. Barely able to feel anything in my little glass box.
She left and I broke loose enough that I found myself knelt down next to the sheep, “come on buddy..” I couldn’t feel any breath. His eyes were open and dull.
“come on buddy, ” silently praying over this unconscious or dead sheep as I looked over my shoulder to see her returning.
Without a word to me she kicked him again in the ribs as she walked past. I grabbed his face, “come! on!”
He lept up.
I helped him towards the trailer. The other man opened the ramp to let him on.
No one had stopped her… perhaps no one knew her well enough… or perhaps they all knew her too well.
She was tough.
I used to think I was tough. I had watched and not a tear was shed.
Now I can’t even see this stranger’s dog without crying.
I guess I never was tough. I was paralyzed. I was blind. I was silenced. I was alone.
So now…. Now I can feel my limbs go cold as fight or flight kicks in. I can feel the hot tears. I remember watching. I remember feeling it. I see my paint stained fingers shake as I type this memory today.
…. isn’t “feeling” tougher than being immune to abuse?
Isn’t it more cowardice to say nothing when abusers abuse?
Isn’t it stronger… tougher…. more evolved… to say, “Stop”?
Well I will not side with abusers…. and I haven’t for some time.