Love, Courage and Chaos

Written by Hollye Dexter

May 27, 2010

At this moment, it certainly could be said that chaos is swirling all around me. That bothers me so much that I’m up at 2:30am writing about it. Chaos is the last friggin thing I want in my life. Throughout my life I’ve watched other people who seem to have it all together, all their ducks lined up in a row. Their houses are clean, their garages are organized, their lives somewhat boring. I envy them. Boring sounds kind of awesome right now.
I have never had so much as one duck lined up in a row. My house has two dogs, three cats, a four-year old, our grown son and his pregnant wife who is nesting like crazy, filling the house with every baby necessity imaginable. Strollers, infantseats and boxes of IKEA furniture line my entryway. (I have tried, unsuccessfully, to convince them that they don’t need a “baby wipe holder” but nevertheless …the pile continues). In the middle of the night, I might step on a stray lego, or trip over a dog toy. But it’s our life, and we love each other, so we make room for the chaos.
And in the midst of all this normal everyday loving chaos, we are in some awful chaos with our next-door neighbors, which started when their pitbulls attacked our dogs (and many other neighborhood dogs).
Eleven years ago we moved into this unconventional neighborhood that is much like Topanga Canyon. Wild peacocks roam the neighborhood, everyone hikes the mountains with their dogs off leash, we have happy hour in the streets on Fridays, and all the kids run outside and play together. All that stopped when these pitbulls moved in – and I’m not just talking about the dogs.
After my dog was attacked, I put signs up warning neighbors to keep their dogs on leash due to pitbulls attacks on our street. When our neighbor saw the signs, he ripped them down, and went after my husband, his pitbulls straining to break off their leashes, snarling and lunging at Troy, just inches from him, the neighbor promising to “f*ck him up”. As the neighbor got in Troy’s face with threats and insults (“faggot” was an interesting choice) Troy stood his ground like a Zen master, looking straight at the guy, never taking the bait or engaging, sending the message – we will stand strong against you, we will not be moved. I was so proud of him. But it was a horrible experience, and we have barely been able to sleep since.
On top of that, someone hurt me deeply today, telling me I “had it coming” because I posted those signs. All the xanax in the world couldn’t contain the anxiety I feel, my chest pounds, I can’t sleep, this ugly comment turning my stomach. How anyone could justify threats of violence against another person, or say that it was in any way deserved, is beyond me.
Maybe chaos will never stop swirling around me. I have a fierce heart, and I love deeply. I will stand up for the ones I love, even when its uncomfortable. The more I think about it, every bit of the chaos in my life came somehow from this love. My deep sense of justice came from this love.
A baby is about to be born in my house because I love my son, and although this baby was not planned, he and Aya couldn’t bear to abort it. So we stepped up. And yes my house will be filled with more people, more noise, more chaos, more LOVE. Bring it on.
I lost my job singing in a band last year (that was fronted by a Mormon) because I stood with my family in front of the Mormon church to protest against Prop 8. I did this because I love my friends, and my brothers, and I want them to have the same rights that I do. So I was fired from the band. Bring it on.
I have five pets because every one of them was abandoned and left on the side of a road somewhere, and that was unacceptable to me. So my house is full of dustbunnies and my sofa is destroyed and there’s always cat litter on the bathroom floor and I’m being sued by the person who abandoned my little dog. But I love my little buddies who are there to absorb my tears whenever they fall, and who lie beside me when I write, and when I sleep, despite the cat vomit at 3am and the dogs barking at 6am. Bring it on.
And yeah, I posted signs to warn my neighbors about the pitbulls, so other little buddies don’t get hurt, and that angered my neighbor and caused him to threaten us. So what. I wasn’t going to stand by and see another animal hurt, when I could have stopped it. Bring it on.
You take a risk when you love, when you allow your self to break open wide enough to really care deeply about things. Yes it makes you vulnerable, and sometimes people will hurt you. Sometimes you have to stand your ground. Sometimes you have to fight. I will do that for the people I love.
There is a lot of love in this house, and in my experience, love breeds chaos. Chaos is the nature of the Universe. The only thing I can control is the peace in my heart. I could choose this life, or I could hide away and protect myself, living in fear, never confronting, stuffing my feelings down inside of me. But that’s not me.
So you know what I’m gonna say – chaos, schmaos….
But I am still a little jealous of those people with the structured boring lives, because I know I’ll never have one.

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