One of my kind

Last night as I shuffled around television channels that showed me, yet again, I really have no need for cable, I found a fascinating program on PBS about animal odd couples.  An hour of the emotional relationships and connections between non-related and non human animals.  It was amazing; a lion and a coyote that grew up together from pups and act like loving brothers rather than an eater and an eat-ee, a goat that befriended a blind horse and led him around as a seeing eye goat for 16 years, a dog that mothered an abandoned baby deer and maintains a “friendship,” and a goose that fell in “love” with a giant tortoise and has made her his mate for life.

People who know me as opposed to those who only read me know that I often, depending on my mood or present circumstance, sometimes cry over airline commercials or Hallmark card commercials.  Almost five nights a week I get choked up or tear up watching Brian Williams’ last segment of the night on NBC.  I am a very emotional person most of the time…I have passion and I have empathy in spades…and this PBS program last night got me thinking really deep thoughts, about what I am, what I want, what I need…It reminded me that I am simply an evolved monkey, just a human animal, and the desire to form relationships and friendships is present in all the animal kingdom and one does not have to necessarily find one of their kind, only one that provides some value…I admit I got a bit teary eyed with each relationship shown…it was beautiful.

What does one “get” out of a relationship?  I don’t use the word get as a spoiled child or over indulged woman would, I don’t mean material things, and I don’t mean that she gets her way, and I don’t mean gets as in she never has to compromise or go without,  I mean get as in some sort of value that can’t be measured…Clearly, this PBS program showed me that it is not only to mate and spread one’s DNA that animals would couple-up…I must be honest and write that I had no idea animals had the kind of emotional connections and desire for friendships that I witnessed in the program…I thought that animals just were animals, and we humans were the only animals who forged bonds with no ‘value’ other than emotional.

Sure, we humans connect with non human animals, and I have a sister who is a true animal lover, and I have seen the way her dogs look at her, I mean, they look like they LOVE her, and her horses used to come see her even when she didn’t have an apple in her hand or hay in her arms, and her goats jumped up and down with “joy” when she walked into the backyard, so yes, I know that relationships can be made that have value, but in those cases, the animal values that the human is generally going to do something for it, or touch it, or play with it,  or give it food, and I suppose the human values the interaction, because it feels good to feel loved, it feels good to feel liked or needed or wanted in some way, any way.  I’ve never been an animal lover, it’s always been and still is, my sister’s domain, but watching this show made me realize that it’s okay to want to be wanted or needed or to find one that we feel fits us, even when on the surface, it seems not right…

I have, for as long as I can remember, felt like I was looking for those who were more my “kind.”  I love my family dearly and had what can only be described as an idyllic childhood, yet I always felt like the other, the outsider, the odd duck if you will.  In my attempts to couple I have consistently tried to find qualities that I value in another human that seem to fit me and in most cases were not recognized as valuable at all to those in my family.  Quirky is a word that they’ve used to describe me…I have sought out traits in others that I value but on the surface or to others have no value at all.  It is no surprise to me really then I guess that I am perpetually single, that I only got to have one child, that I never “got” the hard-working 9-5 husband who adored me or treated me like a queen, the 2.5 kids, the white picket fence, and all the “life” I thought I wanted or dreamed to have…I guess I continue to find value in people that maybe others don’t…I felt last night, watching that program, that I am just an evolved monkey.  I felt like it’s okay to go back to basics, just trying to make my way in the world, continuing to find more of my kind, or other animals who seem to fit me, it’s okay to find my inner monkey…I liked seeing the “love” between the goat and the horse, the goose and the tortoise: they can’t make the kind of bond they instinctually “should,” they can’t mate and reproduce, they can only have the kind of relationship that they create on their terms…it must be meaningful to them or they would not do it…they are like us, simply animals.  It strangely made me feel better about the choices I have made in my life that seemed questionable to others…value that can’t be measured…I can’t always get what I think I want but maybe I am getting exactly what I need…

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