“Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Your courageous spirit helps make Missoula a great place.”
This is the thank you note I received (along with a book, a journal, and a “Reading is Sexy” sticker) from the University of Montana bookstore the other night after I told my story at Tell Us Something. So I send a thank you back to the bookstore and to Missoula; without you to listen our stories wouldn’t be told.
It’s an understatement to say that I was nervous in the days leading up to the event, but when it actually came time to get on stage and tell my “I Got Lucky” story I was calm. I forgot some things, but I didn’t pass out, pee myself, or cry. I didn’t run off the stage.
I forgot to talk about Lucky’s Rottweiler/wolf father and his Labrador mother. I forgot to talk about how he was the runt in a litter of eleven. And I forgot to talk about how when the box of puppies were given away at the river he was the only one nobody wanted; he was too little, too meek, too sick looking. Nobody wants to fall in love with a pup that may not make it.
But I did. I loved, I trusted, and it worked out.
I forgot to talk about all of the wonderful people I met when I first moved to Missoula and that even with all of the ups and down of a wild decade I still call the majority of them “friend.” I forgot to talk about how these supportive, loving people helped me locate solid ground and discover the place I’d call home. For a very long time.
Instead of breaking right into my story, I started by talking about a study done at Harvard on what people consider to be the worst possible experience. Public speaking ranks ahead of death or nuclear holocaust. I get it, but the deck seems to be unfairly stacked. How is it that we’d rather be dead (including the annihilation of our entire human civilization) than risk humiliation or rejection?
Does this not seem a little effed up? What is wrong with us?
Next I said that our brains are hard-wired to anticipate disaster, with rejection being one of the primary disasters we fear. I then announced that I’d turn off my cerebral and emotional brains and let my reptilian brain take over so I could tell a story.
I loved that I had the opportunity to tell the story of how Lucky picked me to be his mama just three days before our tenth anniversary. It makes a girl think, this business of ten years, and to be honest I’m not entirely sure what all to make of it. All I know is that I’m the lucky one.
I know that Lucky dog has been and will continue to be the best teacher I ever had. We went for a night run together last night in the misty rain just as it was getting dark. He had steak for breakfast and he’ll have ice cream as a mid-day snack.
On our tenth anniversary I’m simply going to try to be the person my dog thinks I am.