Oh hey. How are you doing? This is Laura-Marie and the case of the stolen pups. I was freaking out the other day because I realized someone had stolen my pups. The succulent that Ming and I rescued from the community garden’s junk pile–it got so beautiful and even flowered, in our garden. And it grew some pups.
One day I noticed the pups were gone. I was like–uh, that’s odd. Did the pups die and wither and blow away? I’m thinking not–that never happened before… Did Ming dig up my pups to transplant? Usually he would ask about something like that. I was very fond of the pups. They were so cute and little.
Then I got upset realizing our community member must have stolen them. The one who takes soil without asking. He must think it’s a shared resource and he’s using very little, so it doesn’t matter.
Ownership is weird! He would use our trowel. One day I got a cool idea of buying him a trowel of his own. So we bought one at the store, and Ming gave it to him. But he didn’t want it. He gave it back. So then we had two trowels, that our community member borrows.
It was early morning, and I walked to where our community member gardens. Yep, I saw the pups in a pot, four of them. I felt anger in my body, and I walked to the driveway to sit in the sun, which is part of my daily wellness practice.
I started to cry because I was so angry and distraught–it was a shitty feeling of being stolen from and used. It was an “after all I’ve done for you!” feeling. This is a community member I’ve cooked lots of food for, including chicken. And he loved the grilled cheese sandwiches.
Ming and I had been planning to give him some cactus we propagated, when we leave here. But now I was full of a “fuck you” feeling. To be stolen from is a violation of trust.
It brought up a lot of old stuff, of other men who I’d been kind to and loved who brutally used me, thinking it was ok. The man I loved who visited last year treated me like that. He didn’t steal anything physical from me! But he definitely took something that wasn’t his to take. That violated trust feeling is one of the worst I know.
“You don’t treat people like that! That’s so fucked up!” I said to Ming as I cried.
“He’s probably mad at us,” Ming said. Ming had come out to the driveway and put his hand on my shoulder as I cried.
“Why is he mad at us?” I asked.
“For abandoning him,” Ming said.
Yes, I thought of an old friend who had a kid and shared custody. When it was time for the kid to go visit his dad, he would act out and cause conflict with his mom. Emotionally harming his mom somehow helped him transition. I never understood that, but maybe our community member was doing similar.
“He’s a disabled Black elder, in a lot of pain. He’s been shit on all his life, and he could die tomorrow. I don’t want to give him another reason to want to die,” I said to Ming.
Of course anyone could die tomorrow or even today. But our community member seems on heaven’s front porch sometimes. He’s hurting and very moody. I know he’s in a demographic prone to suicide.
“But I’m tired of being the bigger man,” I continued to Ming. “Why do I always have to absorb it?”
I felt the anger in my body and visualized it swirling around in me, becoming part of me, or exiting out my feet, given back to Mother Earth, where everything comes from.
I txted some friends about how I felt, and I was angry about the neighbors also, with their front yard full of smelly dogshit. The neighbors with the dogshit and trash filling one side of their yard. When the wind blows east, it smells disgusting.
I was upset about the neighbors across the street with the cats who never got fixed and create a neighborhood feral colony also. I’d fantasized about writing a note about how irresponsible the neighbors are, but there’s no point–they don’t care. I can’t make them care.
People are irresponsible, selfish, and want to say a problem is not their fault. When Ming talked to the neighbor, she told him, “Those are my son’s cats. He will get them fixed!”
Then when there were 20 cats, Ming talked to the neighbor again. “Those cats aren’t our cats. Our cats stay near the house!” It was ridiculous, and there was no reason to continue the conversation. Then when a cat was dead on the corner, they ignored its dead body and never dealt with it.
Laura-Marie and the case of the stolen pups
“Why do I have to be the bigger man? Because everyone has shit on him his whole life, and I’m privileged to be shit on only by half the people,” I said to Ming.
My heart is broken because of the men who have stolen from me in many ways. It’s not about this particular formerly homeless community member taking a few pups. I’m ok. I don’t need the baby succulents. Our community member needs more to live for, not an argument with me making him want to die.
Plants are easy for me to get emotional about. They are life. Ming hurt me terribly at the beginning of our relationship over some nasturtiums. I wept bitterly, that he pulled them out of our shared garden without running it by me.
Another time more recently, we had some seeds coming up in our garden and asked a community member to water them when we went out of town for a few days. When we came home, the little plants had all died, and I cried then too.
Plants mean more to me than just plants. But a lot of things are like that.