dog with a blog
a belated may in review
If we’re mutuals on IG you probably already know I got a shiba inu puppy named Boru last month and she’s the only thing I post now lmao. She’s really sweet and sociable and the neighbours say she looks like a little fox. We brought her home in a soft blue blanket and made a temporary home for her out of a low-rise laundry basket and bedding. I learned how to give a dog space, how to clean up after her. During the first few days the fact that we have a dog now was really jarring. Like, not all of us are human now. Boru has a soothing effect. Our home feels more lived-in.
The first time I walked Boru, I noticed immediately that having a dog literally opens up a new dimension to the world. Most of my neighbours used to be recurring characters on the street. But now we talk because I have a dog. People stop to ask about Boru, what breed is she? How old? How much was she? When I walk her around I know that the world smiles upon her (& by extension, me).
As a joke my dad had me and my sister take a company “mental health and wellness quiz” issued to its employees. We were at the dining table in the middle of the day and he had too many tabs open. You rate from 1-5 how much you agree or disagree with statements like, “I have difficulty adapting to new situations.”
May was the only month in a long time that actually felt like a month, the way they did in elementary school. Slow and earned. First year ended, I started seeing more of my friends again, and Boru joined the family. I felt that I had to keep up with all the changes.
I think the biggest shift was that I had like, no thoughts anymore. Ever since the weather got warmer / sunnier. My hikikomori era is over. I feel present — my journal entries in May were sparse. If I wrote, it was to think clearly or to write down an experience, whatever stuck out to me. But experiences stopped feeling precarious, as if I needed to document them quickly before they slipped away. It was too tiring. Like, it happened, I got pics, it was fun.
I recently enjoyed Strangers to Ourselves. It’s a nonfiction book about people who wrote to reclaim the story of their mental illness when psychiatry failed them. In the piece Who am I? An ex-businessman and ex-husband named Ray was admitted to a psychiatric lodge, after his life deteriorated from ruminating incessantly on his losses. The particular lodge used psychoanalysis to treat their patients. But it didn’t work for Ray. Later he moved to a hospital that treated him with antidepressants. He recovered. I mention this not to evangelize antidepressants specifically, but to share this passage which helped me reframe the state of being in one’s head a lot:
Kuhn concluded that the drug induced a state of euphoria, so he tried giving it to depressed patients instead. Six days later, he noticed that his patients were developing new interests “whereas previously they were continually tortured by the same fixed idea.”
When he asked them about their preoccupations, they told him, “I don’t think of it anymore,” or “The thought doesn’t enter my head now.” It appeared to Kuhn that the drug “completely restores … what is of prime importance, the power to experience.”
In a late afternoon, I walked Boru and she stopped to sit in the grass. Her fur was golden in the light. I crouched to pet her and thought, I don’t need other things. Which sounds sickeningly sentimental — but I really meant that my growing up is just … growing out of desires over and over. All winter I wanted to uproot, move to a different city in a different country. I feared I was trapping myself in a provincial life. Now I’m just like, we ball…. Suburban Asian life is pretty sweet… (turns out it just gets depressing when all your friends live far away)
i renamed this substack because i like this one better! the old name no longer felt good to keep (it sounded clunky in my head)
last month I said I would post 5x. i did not lol oops. getting a new dog does that. i hope to get back into the posting groove … starting with this old draft
let’s be friends on goodreads !!
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