Something unpleasant happened to me last night and it hurt my feelings. For newer readers of the FoodLady Chronicles, I occasionally joke about my neighbors across the road disliking me. I have accepted that this older couple does not want to be friends, but if I am honest I always assumed that if they actually got to know me, we would get along and enjoy a polite neighborly relationship. It turns out I may have assumed incorrectly because it appears that these folks not only dislike me, they may actively loathe me.
Allow me to set the scene: SamSam and I arrived for our 7:30PM obedience class and there was a lovely young lady with a super excited young (7 months) gray puppydog who was just full of excited-crazies. Because the front door was locked and the pretty grayling was getting too stimulated by the presence of Mr. SamSam (who did incredibly well, btw) we walked around to the back door and went into training room to sit in the corner while the puppy class that was ahead of the adult class finished up their Q&As. So while we waited I looked up and saw my neighbor through the glass door. I raised my hand to wave and she turned around and left – I thought she didn’t see me. Just before our class started I went out into the store portion and asked, “Did Ms. Neighbor leave?” and was answered, “Yes.”
Because I am a complete glutton for punishment I couldn’t help but ask, “was it because of me?” and was answered, “Yes.”
My calm and rational side freaking tried people, it really did. It kicked out all of these super helpful coping statements:
“You cannot control anyone else’s behavior; you can only control how you react to their behavior.”
“It’s not worth getting angry about; my self-worth is not dependent on what someone else thinks of me”
“People aren’t against me – they are for themselves; I will not take this personally.”
Unfortunately, once my brain thought the, “…I will not take this personally” part, my calm and rational side was beaten into submission by my emotional side who rather correctly pointed out that it doesn’t actually get more personal than driving 30 minutes across the island in the rain, finding parking in downtown Christiansted, going into the facility, and then, even before meeting the instructor or attempting the class at all, you leave to drive 30 minutes home in the rain all because of the sight of another student in that class; me.
I put the whole situation out of my head because Mr. SamSam deserved my focus and attention and he was wonderful. He really has come so far from the Tasmanian Devil of gleeful destruction that he used to be. Unfortunately, while on my way home I couldn’t help but think about the Mr. & Mrs. Neighbor and got myself stuck in a thought loop that went something along the lines of: “I must be a monster – what sort of horrible hobgoblin must I be that the mere sight of me causes someone to quit a class before it even starts.” and then I cried.
Now, in the light of day I am much more rational. I assume the over-excited grayling puppy probably intimidated Mr. & Mrs. Neighbor quite a bit and the size discrepancy between their wee dangerflüff and the other three dogs (each approximately 50lbs) didn’t inspire confidence. Unexpectedly seeing me, their hobgoblin of a neighbor, was just one stressor too many and they gave up. This makes me sad because I really think that if they had put a little trust into the instructor and ignored my existence they could have learned a lot and become happier and more confident dog owners and their wee dangerflüff would have had a better life.
For me, I will continue to try to be a good FoodLady and not let other people’s opinions affect me too much. Dogs’ opinions of me, however, will continue to be of utmost importance.