I feel like self-awareness is a really powerful thing. If you know who you are, you’re more likely to become who you want to be. As for me, I know that I am very tightly-wound. How do I know this? Well, let me tell you about the first time I absolutely lost my mind for no reason.
I was around 12 years old, home alone with my younger sister Whitney and our dog Snickers one day during the summer.
Our first mistake of the day was playing ball in the house
Mistake #2 was throwing the ball onto the hardwood floor.
Snickers is a lab mix, so he’s a pretty big dog with absolutely NO TRACTION on the wood floor. He is so excited about this tennis ball, that he tries to take the corner at full speed but he slides and SMASHES into my mom’s glass cabinet full of trinkets.
Mistake #3 Freak Out
Whitney and I start to PANIC. We’re both screaming and running through broken glass toward the dog. Then we saw the blood and and started crying.
But here’s the thing about dogs, if you’re freaking out, they’re freaking out. So my poor dog sees all this commotion, thinks he’s in trouble, and runs back through the broken glass and down the hallway, leaving little bloody paw prints as he goes.
And now I’ve completely lost it. I had heard stories about dogs who run away and hide to die, and I’m convinced this is what is happening. I think I’ve killed my dog.
So I do what really tightly wound 12 year old left in charge would do: call my daddy. But I’m so hysterical, that I’m pretty sure all I get out between sobs is “broken,” “bleeding,” and “dog.” My dad asks me a question, but I don’t hear what he says, because I am crying so hard, so I just say “YES.”
That was mistake #4.
My dad got very serious all of a sudden and said “Wrap a towel around it. I’ll be right there.” and hangs up.
Mistake #5 White towel
So Whitney and I are crouched under my dad’s desk where the dog was hiding, when Dad got home (he says he doesn’t love that dog, but how long it took him to get from work to home says otherwise). We have one of my mother’s embroidered white towels wrapped around the dog’s bleeding paw that he keeps trying to pull away, and I am still crying.
My dad takes over and the dog instantly looks happier and stop shaking. Dad examines Snicker’s paw and turns to look at me, saying “you said there was a puddle?” Turns out, that’s what I had said “yes” to on the phone. My dad thought we had actually killed the dog and there was a puddle of blood.
In reality, Snickers was fine. One small cut on a paw that healed quickly.
But we still have that ruined towel, the pane of glass from the cabinet is still missing 10 years later, and I am still very tightly wound. But I’m aware of it. Knowing who I am and how I am likely to feel in situations allows me to be happier with how things turn out because I act instead of just react.