Last Sunday night, we were attacked by a loose pit bull. My husband saved us with his work boots and extra long legs. We had finished eating takeout with our daughter and her fiance and decided to walk off the Portillo’s Hot Dog feast instead of lolling on the sofa in a greasy stupor. Our neighborhood park was a couple of blocks away and my daughter’s two rescue dogs–a boxer mix and a spaniel-mix–needed the exercise.
The chaotic scene was a blur as I walked a few paces ahead of our group. All I remember is clinging to the back of my daughter who is four inches taller than me and then holding her smaller dog in my arms as I circled, keeping my back to the pit bull. I doubt I came off as heroic.
Fortunately, there were no injuries. The pit bull got it’s mouth on the boxer three different times but each time, my husband came to the rescue, keeping the dog at bay with his feet. The police were called, the owner showed up to claim the dog and received a couple of tickets, and vet checks ensued.
When it was all over, I had a headache and the desire to cry for two days. At the age of seven, I was bitten by a German Shepherd and stray dogs are my number one phobia. Before spiders or my husband’s irrational fear of sharks (we live in the Midwest for crying out loud), I am deathly afraid of stray dogs.
This past year has been a time for me to do those things that make me afraid…call myself a writer, submit things I’ve written risking rejection, perform at a Live Lit Storytelling night. I’ve faced these fears but still balk at walking outside alone. I do it. But I have to force myself.
After the dog attack, I’m more hesitant than ever. This reminds me of a class I took about 15 years ago. I don’t remember the exercise but I remember having to name my greatest fear. It wasn’t dogs, spiders or sharks–it was the fear of living a life filled with regret. I could feel it happening. I was meant to be doing something else but I couldn’t see what it was so sometimes I didn’t even look.
“This takes a lot of self-belief…to just follow an idea and believe something will come of it.” ~ Insa
Writing may not be my ultimate calling. I think it is. It feels like it is. Facing the scary stuff is opening me up. Each time I push through the membrane of my safe existence, I catch a glimpse of possibility. Fear, worry, regret…they’re my stray dogs. How do you face yours?