This isn’t a post about how I feel about nearly killing a small sweet animal. It’s not about the impact of squishing a baby dog.
This is a post about how much we don’t realize our minds will react to external stimuli even when we think we know what’s happening.
This is a post about lies. It’s about how I lied about running over a puppy and didn’t even know it.
Last Friday when we left town our neighbors two border collie pups were at our house. We loaded up and headed out. Kind of. We could barely leave our house and getting down our long driveway was nearly painful. I just knew I was going to squish one of them. They darted back and forth in front of the Yukon. Play bowing and wrestling. It took forever to get to the road. Maybe not forever but at least 10-15minutes. I was so anxious.
When we arrived home on Sunday we had guests come in while we were putting the kids down. They expressed the same terror at nearly mangling the pups. The passenger even got out and walked with the pups to prevent them from being hit.
In my head I was already building a story of how it was going to be for me. What would end up happening and how it was just bound to happen and I would be the one. After all, I travel the driveway the most.
Later on Sunday, I was driving up the driveway when I saw the pups run up to my car. I was already going pretty slowly but I slowed down more. Crept. The two of them were quite hard to keep track of on my own and I kept watching the mirrors and out the windows. So slow. Just creeping along. I was frustrated and starting to get quite nervous. It was going to happen and I had no idea how to prevent it. I honked. I honked some more and crept along.
Finally, in my side mirror I saw them both dart off toward their house. I saw them both clearly. And then, as I turned forward and thought about picking up speed, it happened. I heard yelping. I felt fear. There was no bump bump. No thump. No crushing squish. I just heard a baby pup in pain. It was instant. It was unexpected and I immediately reacted.
My brain took over. It took over everything. What my body did to stop the car. What my mind interpreted about what happened. My response of picking up the pup and walking it to the neighbors instead of driving there so the second pup didn’t get hit. My brain just took over.
I knocked on the neighbors door holding a trembling whimpering puppy. We’re friendly with one another and they yelled to come in. I yelled back for them to come out. All I could think of was their two young daughters seeing their hurt pup. The husband opened the door and saw me with their pup and his face clouded over. Fear.
I explained what had happened. Well, I explained what I thought had happened. I hadn’t ran the puppy over. I was sure of it because I hadn’t felt anything bump. He must have been hit or spun by the tire. He must have ran right under the car. He had circled around. I tried to piece it together the best I could. I didn’t know what happened, not really but I knew I hadn’t ran him over.
I lied. I had no idea it was a lie. And here’s how I came to the conclusion that it was actually a lie.
In the split seconds after the hit. My brain took over. It remembered my story that was built about this happening. It remembered how I said it would happen. It remembered what I had already created. This creation and the ingrained need to keep myself safe was what drove the story I told myself in those seconds after hearing the yelp. I didn’t actually run over the pup. I couldn’t have. I didn’t feel a bump. There’s no way I ran him over. I would never do such a thing. Never.
I helped look him over. I was in shock. Shaking. I kept repeating that I was sure he didn’t actually get ran over. The truth is that I wasn’t actually sure. You see, our minds are so wired to keep us safe that they will actually lie to us about memories. Even when something has just happened. It’s fresh. And yet, we really don’t know what happened.
How do I know that my story, the story that my brain told me and that I told my neighbor was a lie? Well, that little puppy went to the vet on Monday and as it turns out, he can’t walk because he has a broken pelvis. A pelvis that was broken from being run over. I ran that pup over.
The honest to God truth is that I would never lie about that. But I did because I didn’t know it was actually a manufactured observation of my own mind trying to keep me safe. Not from being wrong or being a bad guy but from the actual idea that I am capable of squishing an animal.
I am capable of running over a puppy. I know this because I ran over a puppy.
I made running over a puppy mean something about me in that split second and from there, my brain took over. Being the kind of person that would run over a puppy is the kind of person I imagine as careless, cold, and even psychotic. My mind is very uncomfortable with this meaning. Because admitting that I ran over a defenseless puppy dredges up a whole lot of other baggage and fears other than what really happened.
I ran over a puppy that was running by my car.
It doesn’t mean anything about me. It doesn’t define me. I’m not a puppy squisher or a psychopath. I am still a whole and complete human.
But, that wasn’t the instant story that was spun up by my ever present meaning making mind.
It’s not that I’m saying I’m a liar. It’s not that I’m saying I lied and that’s ok because my mind made it up. What I’m saying is that I trusted my mind and observational sensation to provide me with the truth. I really knew what happened was real and true. I believed that. I trusted my brain and it didn’t give me the truth. It gave me what I wanted to be the truth.
The truth here is that we don’t always know the truth. We don’t know what happened. We don’t even know what didn’t happen. We only know our interpretation of the event. We only know a view. This is why we must, I stress MUST, always be open to what others have to say. It may really be a truth for them. We must always see others as a contribution to our lives. We must always accept that we are only the creators of our story and that we all have one.
I would never ever run over a puppy. Except, I did.