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In the wake of a recent break up (that could be the 4th “d” of the alliterative title: I got dumped) I have begun the process of taking stock of what I have learned from the process and how I succeeded in muddling through somewhat successfully.

First, I came out of the relationship with a great love of dogs. Anyone who knows me well is surprised by my newfound affection of canines. In the past, I have been notorious in my fear of dogs. I would wait outside after knocking until I was sure that someone had their hand on the dog’s collar. It bordered on phobic.

I was bitten (nipped, really) by some sort of terrier when I was little, so I guess my behavior was understandable. But after frequenting the dog park and becoming attached to a certain chocolate lab, I realized I was able to walk away from the breakup saying that I am a bone-ified dog lover (pun intended).

If you’re into Animal Medicine cards, you know that dogs symbolize loyalty. It’s a fairly logical leap to make. And that idea was further solidified but the string of inexplicably affectionate dog interactions I’ve had recently. It is almost as if dogs have a telepathic pipeline and they come up to say “I know you that you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the dog you loved, so I’d like to hang with you for a bit and offer you comfort.”

Secondly, a major support in powering through the breakup was discovering RuPaul’s Drag Race. If you haven’t heard of this show, seriously, you should go watch it, all the episodes are available online at www.logotv.com.

This reality show is a competition with drag queens. You get the opportunity to see the contestants both in and out of drag. Each episode boasts transformations of epic proportions. And the series has a spin-off called RuPaul’s Drag U, where biological women get paired with drag queen professors to identify and create an empowered alter ego.

As an actress, I am familiar with the ritual of transformation before a performance. Usually, I decorate my dressing room space with pictures that remind me of my character, and might even assemble a playlist and listen to it while applying make up. One of the highest compliments I can receive is someone saying “YOU were in that show?!?! You played THAT part?” If we’re doing our job right as actors, hopefully we achieve something similar to a spiritual transformation–at our best, we embody our character so completely, we become virtually recognizable.

Lastly: Double Bluff Beach. As I’ve said before, I work for Hedgebrook, which houses a writing retreat for women on Whidbey Island. Since the beach is close to the retreat, I often find myself making time to go to the beach before work in order to center myself. And there are often lots of dogs, which is a huge bonus.

Last week, I went to Double Bluff beach around nine o’clock and sat on one of the benches that overlook the breath-taking view of the water. A woman was walking three corgis. One of them plopped down under my bench. I turned around and looked at the dog. He acknowledged me briefly and then went back to lounging. The woman turned around and called the dog. No response. She walked back to the bench and had a conversation with the dog:

“Well you just want to stay here by this nice lady? I’m afraid that’s not an option,” she looked at me and said “This is so weird, he never does this, usually he’s so excited to take a walk.”

I just looked at her and smiled. The dog telepathy hotline was up and running and working in my favor. I got my dose of canine companionship, took a mental picture of the beach and walked off to start my day, wondering what my drag name might be…

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