There are lots of things I could say about Maya and the role she plays in my life, and I’m sure you’ll hear much more about her as this year progresses because she’s a big inspiration for me when it comes to positive thoughts. But for today, let me tell you that Maya is neurotic, obsessive, and very anxious. No points for guessing that, yes, she’s a Collie X, and some of these traits are part of her breed, though not in the way in which they manifest in Maya.
Maya hates not being able to control where people are going. She spins and barks and gets worked up when someone leaves the living room and shuts the door behind them. She herds both people and fast moving objects. She doesn’t understand that hugging, among humans, is a good thing. She’s not a chilled out kind of dog. She even used to have a massive issue with loud laughter. All of this has got much, much better – or even disappeared – with lots of training, patience, and love, but that’s not what this post is about.
This photo shows Maya’s best crazy happy face. It’s the face she makes when I tell her to go to a person she likes. As worried as she gets about so many things in her life, she still loves people, and she still loves other dogs, and she loves to have fun. In fact, she’s a really, really happy dog. Dogs, of course, don’t dwell on things. She doesn’t worry about the future, either. She doesn’t anticipate bad things, like the need to spin when the next person leaves. And she doesn’t let all her various anxieties impact on the times when she’s enjoying herself. She’s an incredibly loving dog, who also happens to be her anxious owner’s rock. There is absolutely nothing that Maya will not try and do if I ask her to.
Why am I saying all this about my dog? Even if you couldn’t care less about my canine companions, it’s worth remembering Maya’s crazy happy face, on top of a hill, appreciating a great walk with her favourite people, when you feel like your anxiety or your depression define who you are, how you value yourself, and how you live your life. You are so much more than your mental issues to other people.
You may be someone’s Maya, someone’s rock, someone’s inspiration, despite – or perhaps even because – of your problems, and how you live with them. These issues don’t make you a lesser person. Yes, they may well be a part of who you are, but that’s just it: they’re a fraction of you. A fraction that you can handle, with help, with coping mechanisms. Maybe even a fraction that you can use to your advantage, sometimes, for your own or others’ benefit.
So be more Maya. Be everything you are. Be everything that makes you you.