I haven’t written one of these in awhile. If you have any inclination about what the silly season means for us theatre folk you’d forgive me in a heart beat though. So here, on behalf of Poppy and I, is to hoping you all had a jolly Christmas and a firework free new year!

I’m excited about the year ahead. 2020. It has a nice ring to it. A new year and decade. Another chance to make this world a kinder place.

I think I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 5 years trying to find the good that’s left in this world and hold on to it with all my might.

For the first time though, I realise tonight that I can’t control the bigger forces at play out there. No doubt bad days and dark moments are still ahead but for the first time in ages I feel really hopeful. All I can do is actively hold on to that which is good as an antidote to that which I can’t control.

My four pawed doggie poppy plays a large role in this. Here are a few things I’ve learnt about the world since she has come into my life:

  1. To take every day as it comes. Worry and anxiety have no space when you can live and stay in the moment.
  2. Forgiveness is possible. Even for chewed up shoes and toilet rolls. One just needs to be honest and acknowledge that it’s part of the learning game of life.
  3. For the longest time I thought that the stigma of being a survivor shone like a neon light above my head for everyone to see. But Poppy doesn’t care about the past or see that at all. What she does see is my ability to work through that and my courage and love.
  4. The world is still largely a kind place filled with amazing people.  That needs to be celebrated.
  5. Love is unconditional. It’s as simple as that. If there are conditions, it’s not love.  You really have to have a dog in your life to understand this completely.
  6. Routine and structure are good things.  They help both Poppy and I to navigate my bad days and pull us through.
  7. Everyone is just trying their best. It really helps to be kind and gentle if you understand this.
  8. People who let off fireworks have no understanding of the trauma it inflicts on both animals and humans.  Or worse, they simply don’t care. As a PTSD  survivor I am triggered by loud bangs and suffer hugely traumatic flashbacks. Poppy and I have to both take medication and spend the evening hiding together to deal with your “fun”.  Think about your actions and be accountable for the consequences! Your “fun  celebrations” are selfish and not worth our suffering! Let’s work together to make this new decade a little kinder.
  9. Poppy has taught me that some times being naughty is not because we are trying to be difficult or cause chaos. Sometimes it’s simply because we don’t understand the instructions or directives. Try re framing it first for me before you get mad at me.
  10. There are always two sides to a story. Be open to both. Hear me out before passing judgement. Poppy makes me laugh out loud with this one. Mostly her side of the story is just that she was tasting it to see if it was yummy!
  11. Everyone is struggling with their own demons in someway shape or form. Kindness people. It is the only way forward.
  12. Help make a difference where you can.  Buy a meal for someone who needs it, smile at the cashier behind the counter at the supermarket, donate a bag of food to an animal shelter. Plant some spekboom and pick up rubbish when you are out on your next walk. Collective action is the only way forward.
  13. Loneliness is a reality for lots of people. When is the last time you checked in on your neighbour?  Pops checks in with my heart every day.
  14. Know that if today has been tough that you just need to hang in there. It will get better. Having Poppy in my life has really taught me this!
  15. And finally I’ve been learning to pick my battles. Keeping my socks safe from Poppy is not one I’m going to win!  But there are others that we are definitely making headway with – you should see how much she loves a game of fetch now!

So here is to new chances, a kinder world and more heart space.

Let the adventure begin!

Love Tina