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Culture Shock

November 7, 2009

After living for 8 years in the middle of the woods, I experienced quite a bit of culture shock when I left the woods and flew to my daughter’s to live. Her family lived in a mid-size Midwest town and it was full of  NOISE. Traffic, lots of people, children, all boisterous sounds of daily life in the city.

My daughter’s children were then 10 years old, 3 years old and newborn. All of them had loud voices, loud toys, TV’s were on 24 hours a day–all through the night. None of them could sleep without the TV on for background noise.

All of these sounds were so overwhelming for me. It took quite an adjustment on my part and while I did feel safe there, I was still very nervous and jumpy all of the time due to the excessive noise.

I was able to find a job at the local county Humane Society within 3 months of arriving there. It was within walking distance which I was thankful for as I didn’t have a car or money to buy one.

I worked at the Humane Society for 4 years and was able to buy me a good used car. I started out as a kennel attendant, promoted to Senior Attendant then again to Treatment Room Supervisor. It was my responsibility to care for the health of the animals as they came into the shelter and to maintain their health until they were able to be adopted out.

It was a very satisfying job and helped to build my self-esteem. I felt empowered by the job and my fellow co-workers. The last year I was there, I was named Employer of the Year for my campaign for change in the way pit bull dogs were treated. Whenever a pit bull was brought in, even if it was a puppy, it was immediately euthanized because of the belief that ALL pit bulls were dangerous killers.
I found that to be untrue. We had many pit bulls that came in and were very friendly and loving but they were still killed just because of their breed. I launched a campaign to raise the awareness of pit bulls who were loyal and loving by nature and only were mean when raised that way by owners who were using them in dog fight competitions. It led to policy being changed so that when a pit bull was brought in, it was tested for temperament and companionship and assessed as adoptable or not. The campaign saved many of these dogs from a needless death.

While working there, I had good health coverage so I went to get a physical–I hadn’t had one in all of my years with Rick.  Doctors were usually men and Rick didn’t want any man to touch me. I was relatively healthy except for my anxiety/nervousness, which the Doc prescribed a medicine for, and one other health issue. I had an STD! A sexually transmitted disease!! Me!!! I asked the doctor if there could be some mistake–no there wasn’t. I asked if it could have been transmitted another way–by a dirty toilet or something–no it couldn’t!

I was in shock. I was so embarrassed and humiliated. I was given medicine for the disease, which cured it, and was sent on my way. All the way home I seethed in anger which evolved into angry tears and outrage. I cursed Rick, I ranted, I raved. I got home and told my daughter and we both cried. It was so hard for me to believe that, although I had been accused of infidelity all those years with Rick, I had remained faithful and it was HE who had cheated on me with another woman/women and had gotten the disease and passed it on to me. How unfair! How ironic!

I vowed then that I would never let another man touch me and I’ve held to that vow for over 12 years now. The way I see it–I make lousy choices, so I choose NOT to choose! It’s working very well for me!

I stayed with the Humane Society until new management took over. She made too many harsh changes that were not to the betterment of the care of the animals. Five of us walked out on the same day. Thankfully, I saved quite a bit of money that I could live on until I found another job.

My next goal was find a new job and find a place of my own. While I dearly love my daughter and her family, I needed to be alone. I craved peace and quiet and solitude. I was ready for another change in this new life of mine.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2009 3:43 pm

    A great start to your new life! I’m glad you survived the culture shock and found such a great job. Yay to you!
    I can so understand your vow not to let any men into your life – a burnt child…
    When I think of all the women who get AIDS from their husbands it makes me extremely angry! Thank God you could be treated and are cured!
    I’m looking forward to the next chapter!
    Did Rick find you?

  2. November 7, 2009 3:57 pm

    Oh thank you Jonie! No, Rick never found me–thank God for HIS sake–I think I would have killed him at this point!

  3. November 8, 2009 1:05 pm

    Wow, girl, I didn’t know you worked in the animal shelter! The director that helped me with all my mother-in-laws dogs has turned our local shelter from an adoption rate of 62% to 94% in two years because of her work and strong belief in adoptive and spaying/neutering as well as working with partner rescue agencies and individuals. Sadly, he is leaving he shelter this month. I hope her replacement does as good of a job.

    I am so sorry about the STD. Thank God you it was discovered in time and it was treatable!

  4. November 8, 2009 3:07 pm

    I thought I had mentioned it to you before (working for the shelter) but then, maybe not. I hope the replacement does as good, too. It’s sad when new management comes in and makes things worse–such as my case.
    It was a rather common STD, easily treatable with 3 doses of some pill. I’ll never get over the fact that HE was the accuser and turned out to be the unfaithful one!

  5. Margie permalink
    November 9, 2009 9:18 am

    It’s usually the accuser that holds the guilt.

  6. November 9, 2009 11:32 am

    Thanks Margie! I’ve discovered that since my experience. I hope others learn that before it’s too late for them.

  7. Nancy permalink
    November 16, 2009 11:31 am

    To go through all you have with Rick, it’s a miracle and mind-boggling that you came out with such enormous strength, so much love, and that you inspire everyone around you.

  8. November 16, 2009 11:45 am

    Thank you, Nancy! You just made my day! Maybe I turned out like this because I was too stubborn to fail! I was NOT going to let him ruin my entire life!

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