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The first time I remember pigs being important to me was when I was fired in middle school. I was helping a family member with farm chores, and they had turned off the sprinklers that kept the pigs cool. It was a hot summer day. I protested about how this would stress the pigs and was told "No little girl is going to tell me how to run a farm."

I wasn't upset to be fired, but remember riding my bike home and crying for the pigs.

There are a variety of pig stories in my life - my great-grandmother was nagging my great-grandfather for an engagement ring. She had never gotten one. One day, he came into the house unexpectedly and changed from farm clothes to a suit. The pig was already loaded in the truck. He went to town and came home with the ring. I was gifted the ring later... I would have preferred the pig!

When the name Wanda Petunia dropped into my head, then a story, and then I made a plush toy symbol of her... it didn't really dawn on me the significance of her being a pig. In an art therapy session, I was exploring the meaning of Wanda in my life. As a young girl, I found my voice and spoke up.

I've always cared about humane treatment of animals. But I've often not cared about humane treatment of me. I've either been mean to myself or let others be mean to me. I think Wanda appeared as my self-care muse ~ because it was time for me to care as much about my own treatment as I cared about the treatment of others.

This humane treatment of self is something I am still learning. As I learn more about the actual practice of self-care and the joys of self-love, it's so happy to share! Maybe you have a story like mine. I'd love to hear it. This is a tribe of caring for self, deep caring... then sharing! Join me :)

Photo: I love meeting pig friends wherever I go. This is Coop, from Highland Springs Farm, Wellsburg, WV


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