Growing up, we had a lot of animals in our house. At one point, we had one cat, two dogs, two gerbils, and five birds. The most mellow creature in our house was Tim, the cat. He spent much of his day lounging about the house. As night descended, he would join me watching TV and eating potato chips (he really loved potato chips).
Not much phased Tim. One day, our African Grey parrot jumped from his cage and actually landed on the cat. Tim looked up to see what had happened and then promptly went back to sleep. Clearly having a bird that was nearly as large as him land on him was no reason to get riled up.
That is why it was so odd that he let our friend’s dog, Rocky, get him so riled up. Rocky liked to bark at Tim, but Rocky kept his distance. While Rocky did not live with a cat, he knew that getting too close was a bad idea. Tim would hiss at Rocky whenever he came too close.
I was 11 or 12 when the incident happened. Rocky was visiting and Tim decided to exact revenge on this dog that had invaded his home and dared to bark at him. He waited on the dining room chair, nearly invisible, for Rocky to pass by. Then, he leaped onto Rocky’s back and sank his teeth and claws into Rocky.
Rocky ran from the dining room into the living room yelping and whining with Tim riding him the whole way. I was the first to wade into the fray. I grabbed Tim by the scruff of the neck and pulled him off Rocky. In his frenzied state, Tim turned and bit me on the wrist. My dad started hitting the cat in the head to get him to let go of my wrist while I was yelling at my dad to not hit the cat. It was quite a scene...
In the end, Tim let go of my wrist, my dad stopped hitting the cat, and Rocky ran from the room. However, I carried the scar of that bite (4 small scars to be exact) for years. After nearly 30 years, they are faded to the point of being barely visible.
Sometimes, when we are fully engaged in life, we end up with scars. I really loved that cat and know that he really meant me no harm. Never, before or after that incident, had he ever tried to bite me. He was just in a frenzied state and lashed out at the person who stopped him from exacting revenge on the dog.
A fear of scars can often keep us from being fully engaged in life. That is something I frequently face as I too often play it safe. However, what I have learned is that the things that lead to scars often are not as bad as they sound... and some even make for good stories. So, don’t be afraid of getting some scars as you move toward being your authentic self.
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