At this point in my blogging influence over your life, you surely know about my three footed bearded dragon, Happy. Well, at least the voice of my digital narcissism tells me you do, so I’m going to make a sweeping assumption that you do.
No worries. I’m not actually digitally narcissitic. Only clinically.
Kidding. Now back to talking about me.
As I mentioned in a previous post about the time Happy ate his* foot off, I recently acknowledged that Happy’s presence in our home was definitely a shining example of me taking on more than I could manage. And I also stated in that post my intention to give Happy up for adoption due to this realization. (*you'll see)
Alas, time tick tocked by and, for some reason, I just didn’t give him up. And despite the fact that the rising cost of crickets ($0.12/per stinky hopper) was becoming way too much for my meager budget, I started to just accept the fact that he was a part of the pack over here. And being a part of the pack, I did my best to treat him well. Meal worms and kale and strawberry tops. Vita D and Calcium without phosphorous powder. It wasn’t until someone very wise said to me, “Um, I don’t think Happy would be eating crickets dusted with special vitamin powder while basking under perfectly controlled light in the desert, where he is designed to survive.”
And that is when Happy entered into a full fledge version of our gritty lifestyle over here.
Let’s just say he was cared for properly, but his daily grind shifted accordingly. And it was only once in a while that I was awakened by nightmares of a vengeful reptile standing (?) over me with a bag of reptile poop being slung at my hopefully.but.unlikely freshly showered head of hair.
Fortunately for my hair, Happy survived and seemed moderately happy. He was getting what he needed, I convinced myself. There was the daily after school ritual of being held less than carefully in the hands of school-aged children without pooping. And then there was the important skill he garnered involving not jumping off high countertops while his child caretakers fought over World Toy Injustices. And I’m pretty sure he could now live in those long, endless sunny days in Alaska, a direct result from the couple (ahem) times I forgot to turn off his basking light at night. I mean, come on. I was building his character. He and Rocky could swig raw egg yolks and store-bought dragon food pellets together by the end of his time with me.
It was the growing poop - and I mean growing - that did me in eventually. After buying a cat litter scooper and googling about how much a charcoal air filter for his tank would cost, I told the elder caretaker that either she would have to start cleaning the tank or Happy was really gonna have to go to a more equipped home. And without a pause, she agreed. Smart girl I'm raising, eh?
And, I’m pretty convinced Happy must be destined for stardom, because the Universe instantly lined up in his favor after that in the form of not just a new owner, but a pair of owners, one who has a job that involves caring for bearded dragons at the science museum. Like, gets free crickets. And, like, actually loves loves loves these beasts that live up to 15 years and can be walked like a dog by the time they are done growing. Score.
Happy left the house and has since been gaining fame on Instagram and Facebook, under the new celebrity name Beardy. I had only one mom moment when I saw a picture of him eating romaine lettuce and was bombarded with flashes of “do not feed lettuce” from the ebook I bought a year ago. It was then that I had a good beardy cry and told myself that everyone has to fly the coop at some point. I let him go.
Which brings me to the most important thing about Sir Beardy. Upon inspection, it appears (I say with curiosity as to what exactly to dragon genitals look like) that Beardy is a not a he. Beardy is a she.
This explains the eating of her foot off. I feel ya, girl. Sometimes pms is that bad.
This discovery made me predict the eventual memoir that Beardy will someday write, after her life in the limelight has died down and she is more legend than star. It will be two parts, much like any great artist: “Part One: Before New Owners” and “Part Two: After New Owners.” The latter chapter will have lots of claw drawn hearts and stars and smiley faces all over it.
And now for the metaphor in my anecdote, as I would hate to disappoint you and veer from my normal pattern: Have you ever lived in an environment that isn’t exactly what you need to sparkle? And how hard of a time do you give yourself when it feels that much harder to shine bright? Do you blame yourself entirely? Do you adjust to the containment and try your damnest to make it work instead of making waves? But. What happens when you forgive yourself for needing what YOU need? What is possible then? And, you never know, the container you’ve been living in might need to let you go too.
To Happy. I mean, Beardy. May she glow bright.