My anxieties really took off in the first grade. I guess we all have to be socialized sooner or later, in some form or fashion, according to who we are, what region of the country we live in, and what religion we might be. I was raised in the country and bused in to a private, Parochial school. I’m from North Florida, which is the deep south and I was born Catholic.
In Catechism classes I liked the stories about Jesus, but everything else was terrifying. Sr. John Helene kept telling me that I had to be right with God and Jesus. Then she would tell me that the closer that I was to God and Jesus, the more that the devil would chase me. He would make me do bad things. I had to keep my fingers together at all times, because if I didn’t the devil could weave in and out of the space that was created.
If that’s not a recipe for neurosis, I don’t know what is.
As a six-year-old it didn’t take much imagination sprinkled on that information to create a Stephen King– like novel in my head. I always felt as if something was right around the corner, and it was going to get me.
That was one of the many variables in the equation, that summed up my crazies.
Flip the pages of that book and you have a fear based soul, walking dead, into walls, lives and vaporous pictures of heroism, incarcerations and rosy relationships.
So much for the domestication of me. It just didn’t work.
Then I learned about the good dog and the bad dog~or were they wolves?
Someone, I don’t remember who, told me that Native American Indians, believed they had a good wolf and a bad wolf that lived inside of them. You fed one and starved the other. The idea being to feed the good dog.
That was simple enough. I still use this imagery today as a guiding force.
Now if I had been told this when I was six, there’s no telling how crazy I might have become obsessing about dogs living in my body.
Sometimes it’s nice to accept getting older, looking back at all we’ve been through, happy for life’s wisdom’s, and grateful to be on this side of the grass.
Feed the good dog.
P.S. I took this photo,, from a photo in a Plano, Texas fast food restaurant. When I visited there, I had the feeling I was looking at the future and it looked an awful lot, like a Clariton commercial.