Detroit loves to investigate. She sniffs the lawns as she walks and sometimes stops to root down deep, parting the blades of grass or searching below fallen leaves. Occasionally, she comes across something unpleasant and her whole body reacts, springing away from the offending object. I can’t tell what it was that caused her to jump into the air and then run away, but I imagine it is something pungent or prickly.

Once she has moved away from whatever offended her, she never looks back; she just moves ahead, onto exploring the hidden mysteries and treasures of the next lawn.

This scenario played out the other day and I thought, “Note to self; run away from whatever is pungent or prickly, and don’t look back.”

Of course, the pungent, prickly things in my life are usually associated with people, and I often find it difficult to disengage completely. I don’t want to seem rude and I don’t want to offend by just moving away.

I’ve recently come into a prickly situation. Some friends have suggested I fight for what I want, but after the stress and loss of the last few years, I don’t have much fight left in me. My priorities have realigned and what might have seemed worth fighting for a few years ago does not seem worth the effort now. I’d rather pack up my toys and move to another sandbox.

The other day as I was pondering my current dilemma, Kenny Rogers’ lyrics came to mind:

“You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run…”  Of course, the problem is in knowing when to hold, fold, walk away or run.

I think that dogs have it easy. Life is much more straight-forward for them. Sniff and like or sniff and run away.





4 thoughts on “Reactions

  1. Karen

    Well put, Madeline! We can learn a lot from our four legged friends! But, they do like to fight, too and they are definitely territorial, so do what you have/want to do!

  2. Maria Strauman

    When Fran was sick and I was sending out my e-mail updates, a “friend” told me that if I was a real friend, I would phone her directly, instead of including her on an e-mail list. I told her that I barely had the time or energy to call our four siblings, much less friends and acquaintances. She then asked to be removed from the list. I worried about whether I should be a loyal friend and make the extra effort to call her. I decided that she was sapping my all too low store of energy and I let her go. I think I did the right thing. Fran and I needed to be surrounded by good, caring people. I left the prickly one behind.

  3. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Maria, Good for you. This kind of thing also happened with Jim, and it has happened at other points in my life. For me, the first step is giving myself permission to let them go, then I let them go, and then I have to remove them from the space they occupy in my brain as I ponder if I did the right thing. Demanding people can make it seem like they are the logical ones and I am being unrealistic and/or selfish by not giving in to their demands. Jim was great for ignoring people who were placing unrealistic demands on him, and he was my teacher.
    I hope you are recounting the positive, loving memories of Fran; let them overwhelm you with gratitude and let go of the prickly ones.


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