Reflections on Leaving a Magical Place of Healing and Dogs to Work for xoJane

Are you considering living at home with your parents and their dogs to sort through childhood issues? I highly recommend it.
Publish date:
August 28, 2012
dogs, childhood issues, healing, magical places of healing

I just got off the phone with Jane and Emily and Lesley and Corynne and we talked about SEO a lot so I'm tempted to employ one of the keyword consistency issues and just keep repeating my headline in this first paragraph over and over. Have that be the SEO-frantic start to every article I write for this site from here on in. "Are you considering living at home with your parents and their dogs to sort through childhood issues?" I asked myself as I wrote the headline to this article. "I highly recommend it." Also: #freeviagra, #makemoneyfromhome, #thewrinklecuredoctorsdontwantyoutoknowabout

So I'm back in New York now. (First day in the office today!) Astoria to be exact. With a 7-pound Maltese doggie named Samson (from a new roommate I met before passing out after a red-eye) cuddled into my side as I write. He's not my father's guide dog, which as a highly trained, highly intelligent lab is unparalleled in his ability to give love, but he's absolutely precious and quivers excitedly as he rests and pants in the heat next to me. All of my 40 boxes of worldly belongings will arrive in New York in a few weeks, so right now I'm making do with two computers, two external hard drives, an iPad, a Kindle, an iPod and two iPhones. I'm trying to fashion them into clothing somehow, and I will keep you updated as I progress.

I'm kind of in a daze, kind of in a haze, and In my final hours before leaving San Diego, I was able to nab a one-on-one exclusive interview with my mom, who through her perpetually free-associative brain might best capture just why my time at home served as a truly magical experience. She is joy, defined. I hope to grow up and be like her when I'm 70.

Mandy: What was the best part of me coming home? I was here for almost two full months.

Mom: Well, the best part about you being home is that it's been very healing. For parents and for child. And dogs. The cat never quite came around, but she's a calico cat, and she's very, very nervous.

Mandy: Why was it healing exactly?

Mom: We got very honest, amongst the three of us, especially with me. I had to face myself, and Mandy faced herself a couple of times when I told her to just take it if you can dish it out.

Mandy: What's an example of that?

Mom: I can't think of any. [Looking at screen.] Don't put that. [Pointing to "I can't think of any."] Delete delete delete delete delete delete. You have to write 'delete.' I've said about 14 deletes.

Mandy: [laughter]

Mom: During this post, is that what this is called, a post? During this post I've become aware that anything I say may be written down. And then: OMG. Let me just talk out loud. Oh. I'm trying to think of the healing, and now I'm very nervous.

Mandy: [cackling]

Mom: OMG.

Mandy: Why do you like saying "OMG" so much?

Mom: Because I'm cool. OK. I've learned that my poodle Shady really does love me because she's sat with me more and has not succumbed to Mandy's charms. However, our beautiful black lab guide dog Abram has fallen in love with Mandy, and it's very, very sweet. But if my dog did that I wouldn't have been able to take it. I'm proud of my cat Missy for holding out. She's just a born bitch.

Mandy: I want to know more about your insight into yourself.

Mom: Well I bought Mandy a beautiful travel amulet for her safe drive across the country. And then I told her I wasn't going to give it to her when she decided to fly because it wasn't necessary, and I'd save it for a future travel where I thought she would really need the protection. And it was very sweet, she wanted it so badly. She had peeked and discovered this little thing in my closet, so I gave it to her and I thought about myself: "What a cheapskate holdout mother not to give her that even though she's flying and not driving." So this whole trip has put me in touch with myself, has produced much, much laughter and brought out my anger, which seems to be a bottomless pit. I hereby thank Mandy Courageous, and so it is.

Mandy: I love it when you call me "Mandy Courageous." Talk about how all the pets started bringing us my little religious dolls.

Mom: Mandy brought with her these wonderful detailed stuffed dolls about two inches high of different archetypes. Ganesh. Devi. Krishna. Amma. And Jesus. My calico cat Missy kept bringing Jesus upstairs from Mandy's room. Which was sort of a sign unto me. Then lo and behold the black lab started fetching Jesus as well as Ganesh. And it was a whole spiritual experience. So when Mandy was not home I started listening to contemporary Christian music again, and now I'm very confused. I feel a bit like a gay Mormon.

Mandy: And what did you think of my practicing reiki on you?

Mom: Mandy did wonderful reiki on my foot which was post-operatively killing me, and it helped, and then she would do a reiki dance, and I would cross myself, and we were high as kites.

Mandy: What do you think the biggest laugh we had was?

Mom: It was when you spilled lentil soup on your dress [after watching "Scarface" twice in a row] and then you still kept wearing the lentil soup dress as you were writing.

Mandy: Did you think I was a good cook?

Mom: I was very impressed with Mandy's cooking and her desire to cook, which I have never had in my entire life. My mother was a great cook, an excellent baker. My younger brother even used her apple pie recipe. However, I felt that I could never measure up in that area and used to make frequent trips to Jack in the Box as Mandy was growing up.

Mandy: How am I different now than when I was a kid?

Mom: Mandy has bubbling, beautiful confidence. She always carried herself well even when she walked down the hall in her diaper with her long hair. However, this is a confidence from deep down in her core.

Mandy: Thank you, Mama Courageous.

Mom: And so it is.


Find Mandy long-form at