A few weeks ago, I made what is for me, a HUGE decision and applied to be a volunteer at an Animal Rescue center. It is also the same place I got my precious Sunshine from, who is my faithful ESA (Emotional Support Animal). Anyway, this marks the first time in 4 years that I have made any kind of ongoing commitment to any one thing. About the biggest commitments I have made in the last 4 years are doctors appointments and therapy sessions. So, for me, this is a huge step forward and also quite a bit of a leap.
I heard back from the shelter last week, when they sent an email letting me know that today would be the next volunteer orientation. So, I was excited looking forward to it all week. But when this morning came, and I had to get up at 7 am, I started second guessing myself, saying to myself, I can’t function this early, I’m worthless this early, I can’t do it…..etc, etc, etc. Nonetheless, I managed to get through my morning routine and get ready and get out the door. That in itself is a HUGE victory.
So, I stopped to get hot coffee, cold coffee, water and soda. And, oh yeah, a couple of donuts cause since I had to leave so early, I didn’t have time to eat or make coffee. And all the drinks? Cause I get terrible dry mouth from all my meds and cause I am always dying of thirst thanks to the other meds that don’t give me dry mouth. I made it to the shelter with time to spare–so, so far, so good.
Then I went and joined the people milling outside the shelter, and realized the orientation was to be held outdoors. Which is fine most of the time here in the desert. But it is winter–and yes, we do actually get pretty chilly weather here in the winter–and it was only about 37 degrees. So, a 2.5hr orientation outside. I really started doubting myself. I was cold, shaking from it even, uncomfortable and really doubted whether I could even make it through the orientation. I started to think, if I have to come at this time in the morning and do animal care, or walking, or cleaning out dog runs, its gonna be cold like this–I’m not sure I can really actually do this. I started thinking this might be too demanding, too stressful, to difficult for me to stick to. But the whole time I was sitting there, freezing my tushie off, I managed to stay put and not get up and run away, not chicken out and give up, and, amazingly enough, I got through it! Yes, that’s right, I managed to get through until it started, and once it started I managed to stay present and focused and get through that too!! And now, I’m officially a bona fide volunteer at the Animal Shelter. Whoo-hoo! I know it’s only a start, but I feel like I did something big, like I moved forward a giant step. I am now able to give TLC (ie, to come in and play and cuddle with the animals) for any of the dogs or cats anytime. And every week they have basic sessions on how to be an animal caregiver (exercising, walking, feeding and watering, cleaning the runs, etc) and on being an adoption counselor (to help make sure each prospective owner gets matched with the best suited dog or cat). So, soon I will do that too, and be able to do even more! I really hope I am not getting my hopes up to high, too fast, too soon. I really hope I can keep up with this commitment and not have to drop out. I think I have failed so many times at so many things, some my fault, some just situational, that I am so afraid of failing again I am almost to afraid to even try. So even though this a big step forward, I’m terrified I’ll let myself down again, or discover I just can’t handle the stress or the commitment after all.
So, here I go, fingers crossed!