Last night, I attempted to give Junior a haircut. Junior has grown, and so has his coat, so incredibly over the last month. Since I was told he just had "baby fluff," I didn't worry so much about his coat, although it seems to matt terribly just like his mother's. I've been brushing him out and cutting out matts every week or so. Now, with this damp weather, his coat seemed kind of clammy and proliferating, growing right before my eyes, so last night I decided to go ahead and take it off.
One problem I've found, and this was particularly true with Junior, is that even once I scissor off the coat, or what looks to me like the coat, there is another entire coat underneath. What I mean is that I'll trim off the long hairs that look like "angora," and what is left at first looks like just some fuzzy wool of about a half inch. But then, when I brush that fuzz, a whole new coat emerges - long hairs pop up, not as long as the first batch, but long enough that I have to start the process over again. I suppose this is webbing or something like matting close to the skin, evidence that I'm not grooming enough before clipping. I'm sure the blower will help, once I can get them accustomed to the sound. I guess I could groom each rabbit every day until I'm sure that they are well cared-for.
I was also stressed and confused by Junior's little boy parts. They looked messy and a little swollen. Not to sound like a total gump, but I don't have much basis for comparison with bunny anatomy - the hand-drawn diagrams in the rabbit books are useless - but Junior's looked problematic in comparison to Butch's tidy little package. I tried to clean him up as best I could, but trimming in that area when I'm not even sure what I'm looking at caused me some serious anxiety.
I was remembering the angora ram I had years back, Austin. He was such a magnificent goat, and sweet. But every couple of months, I had to trim up the area around his groin or else the urine collected in the fiber and was a magnet for maggots. This chore was not my favorite part of goat-keeping, especially since he weighed almost 200 pounds and it was quite the task for me to wrestle him to the ground. At least Junior is easier to manage than that. But I've never heard of people keeping those areas trimmed on bunnies and it would be helpful to know if that's typically done.
I am still enjoying the bunnies, enormously. Every time I feel depressed, which is at least a few times a day, I tend to them or hold them. They fill me with love and hope and the grief recedes. I used Prissy's fur to make the trim on my new knitted gauntlets, so she's always with me. But then there's this stress as well, this terrible fear that they'll be matted, urine-soaked or maggot-infested, if I'm not diligent or knowledgeable enough. This seems a little absurd, since surely bunny care can be managed. Why do these bunnies hold such psychic significance for me?
I've been trying to write every day and it has been so damaging. Yesterday afternoon, I tried to revise a section of about thirty pages in hopes of sending something off to my advisor for feedback. After the first few paragraphs, I was back to that dark place, curled up on the bathroom floor. In these moments I tend to look for answers, flaws, people to blame and ways to change my life, but I think it's important to realize that I'm feeling the effects of PTSD. Which puts me in kind of a bind, since my academic career depends on getting this damned thing written. Everyone says to just write it, as if self-discipline is really the problem, and I'm sure it is since I've never been good at producing academic writing without structure and deadlines. Still, I don't think that the people who blithely direct me to write have any clue how fucked-up I am about it, or how fragile I feel. Yesterday, I only felt a sense of calm return when I thought about taking a break from the whole mess of it.
I'm also back to staying up all night and sleeping until mid-afternoon, my default schedule when other responsibilities don't intervene, but it always breeds a nasty self-loathing in me. I'm not sure why it matters, since I'm obviously a nocturnal sort of creature. At least I've been getting dressed, so that's some progress. Once my fellowship begins, I'll have a new venue and community and a different sort of support for writing. Maybe by then I'll be ready and it'll come. In any case, I need to protect my mental health, what's left of it. This may entail rethinking my approach and maybe my topic altogether. For now, it requires my total immersion in rabbits.