I have an acute sense of smell. And the truth of the matter is, I stink.
Why don’t you have a shower? I can hear your thoughts loud and clear. Have a shower and you won’t stink. Simples!
Except it isn’t.
Somewhere in the deep hollows of my brain I know I need to wash. I can smell my greasy hair, my unchanged clothes, my general cheese. (Perhaps I ought to warn you that this post is pretty disgusting. Any squeamish readers are advised to head for the door and take a deep breath of fresh air. In fact, let’s all do that before I continue……)
Where were we? Cheese. That’s me right now. If I sound proud of my cheese status, don’t be fooled. I detest it. I want nothing more than to be clean and smell fresh. Typing my tale to the cyber world dilutes the potency and almost adds a flavour of fun.
Except it isn’t.
It’s 2.54am. I want to be in bed. My body is tired, my brain went to jail hours ago. Yet something nags away at my psyche picking out strands of unease and twisting them round my consciousness. Over and under. Inside and out. Pulling, looping, knotting them into my thoughts. Sleep will be missing me out tonight.
I find it easier to type than I do to wash. If sleep is not possible, then typing is my default. Sometimes the mindless waffle tripping from the laptop keys finds its way into cyber space. Hence this post.
Some people might wonder why I have wasted time describing my general stink rather than taking action to eradicate it. The hint is in the word ‘action’. An action such as typing requires minimal effort, but having a shower – that’s way too big.
I am not naturally lazy. But when the Black Dog eats my motivation for dinner I cannot get it together to have a shower, or change my clothes, or eat proper meals, or open my post… And as time passes the wall between me and the rest of the world gets higher and higher, until I cannot believe that the world is still out there with real people in it and real sky.
But I am very privileged to have two Black Dogs. The first is the aforementioned vampire dog who sucks out all my energy and leaves me for dead. The second is my black Labrador and guide dog who won’t hear any nonsense about not going out and neither will he entertain the idea of being unsociable. And because I love him and respect his need for life and daylight and exercise, I go with him.
So I have one Black Dog pulling me into darkness and another Black Dog pulling me into sunlight.
And this is why I stink.
Having two powerful dogs playing tug of war with my mind and body means I have no energy left to attend to my personal needs. At times like this my day is given over to my three animals. (My furry army also consists of two playful cats, Hagrid and Phantom). They need feeding and watering, exercise, mucking out, play time, brushing/grooming, and all-round TLC regardless of how I‘m feeling. Every day begins at 7am whether I’m happy, sad or barely alive. Every day the first forty minutes are devoted to animal care even if I am more zombie than human. Someone remarked recently that my dog is better groomed than I am, but I did not feel ashamed. As long as Dash’s coat is shiny and he is well fed and exercised, my life has retained a tenuous structure. If my animals are happy and well looked after I know I am not in serious mental crisis.
As I type this my flat is in chaos, almost tumbling onto me. I know that I am functioning on a very basic level. But in many ways that does not matter because I am still functioning. I just need to bide my time until I am able to thrive again.
Thanks to my number one Black Dog, Dash, I go out for a walk at least once a day, I say hello to at least two people a day, I get a dose of Vitamin A and D. My heart rate escalates. Endorphins flood my brain. Black Dog number two is kept in the shadows.
Worth stinking for.
At some point someone will tell me I need to have a shower. No one will allow the stink to reach truly hazardous heights. No doubt I will feel shame and embarrassment, and I’ll probably protest and say everything is fine. But somehow the stink police will win the day, as they invariably do. And one way or another I will emerge smelling sweeter and wearing clean clothes.
Not that this makes the slightest difference to my furry freedom fighters. To them the smell of love is stronger than the stink of B.O.