The two most recent posts of my dear friend Carrie (Fully Caffeinated.blogspot.com) got me thinking this morning. Carrie's in a self-described funk and it prompted me to think about the times I've been determined to roll around in that sludge, too.
At first I tried to conjure an image of something wallowing and immediately a pig came to mind. The sweet pink piglets at a local farm, trailing after their mother, all headed for the mud bog in the middle of their pen, ready to submerge themselves and roll ecstatically in the thick goo until they are absolutely coated in brown stickiness. They do this to protect themselves from the sun's rays. Their new pink skin gets burned so easily that they have adapted this method of applying sunscreen to prevent burns. Hmmm.
The next thought that came to mind was that of my dog. My lovely, loyal, eager-to-please retriever who stays close to me on walks until he smells something positively vile. The slightest whiff of animal excrement or decomposing leaves in a stagnant puddle leaves him quivering. He is unable to control the urge to fly straight for the offending pile of nastiness and smear his muzzle through it. The look of pure pleasure on his face as he does a nose-dive into the muck is equal in intensity to the horror on mine. He quickly progresses to lying on his back, all four legs flailing in the air as though his puppeteer is suffering a seizure in an effort to grind as much of his long hair into the guck as possible. He wants to smell like this.
I once asked the veterinarian why. Why, when he is finally satisfied with his accomplishments does he trot back to me with an extra spring in his step? Why is his head lifted so proudly as horse dung hangs from one ear? Why is this a good thing? And why is he always so defeated when I drag him to the shower to scrub the nasty stuff off?
Apparently, some dogs are driven to this behavior because their instincts tell them they are safer if they mask their own scent. It enables them to travel incognito, as it were. Hmmm.
So maybe allowing yourself to wallow in a funk for a while is a way to protect yourself. Ultimately, there is something the Universe is trying to tell you that you're not ready to hear, so you block it out with anger or frustration or hiding under the covers. This wallowing has a purpose, too. It can turn into something that lasts for too long if we don't recognize it for what it is, but for a short time it is serving as another line of defense for our psyches.
Hmmm. I think the next time I'm feeling 'funky' I'll cover myself with sunscreen and sit in the sun. I'll mask my true scent and walk in broad daylight and when I'm ready, I'll shower it all off and figure out what I have to face that is frightening me so much. But first, I'll allow myself the space to feel protected.