I was stung in the butt and several other places by ground wasps. It all started when my dog put his snoot a little too close to their home. He went running while I stared with confusion until I realized what was happening. I abandoned every thought of protecting myself and used my hands to kill each one that was attacking my very good boy. As I did, they turned their focus on stinging me.
Upon our return home, I knew Dewey wasn’t doing well when he laid down the instant we walked in. That’s one thing a Boston Terrier puppy does not do: rest. So after a visit to the vet, we went home to sleep off the steroids and Benadryl. Both of us. After five stings, a vet visit, and urgent care for my new EpiPen, we are all healing up well.
The next morning after a night of sleeping off the excitement, I put on his leash for our morning walk. We made it about 10 feet down the sidewalk before he froze in place. The panic on his face said it all. I’ve raised many dogs that behaved like scaredy cats, but they never actually had a reason to be scared. This time, I understood.
After my more rational girlfriend reminded me it’s normal for a dog that was stung by multiple wasps to be scared, we decided to take him to another park where he might not be so scared to sniff. In this new environment, he was back to his puppy antics, trying to smell and eat whatever he found.
While I have acquired a new fear of wasps this week, I’ve never been scared of going outside. I most definitely have been scared of loving and losing people. As a child, I watched the ones I loved most break under the pressure of divorce. My Mom’s divorce was one of the only times I remember seeing her cry. When I saw the strongest person I knew looking so broken, I told myself I would never get divorced. If I got married, it was forever.
Then I got divorced anyway.
Divorce was by far the most painful thing I had ever encountered in my life to that point. It made me question everything. If I was worthy of love. If I was capable of loving another person forever. I distinctly remember reciting over and over again, “I’ll never get married again” as I cursed and critiqued every misstep of my relationship. I was convinced I should have known better. I should have been able to prevent a pain that big. “Never again” seemed like the smart bet. Avoiding a commitment and a new relationship meant staying safe, or at least it was easy for my mind to equate the two. No relationship, no heartache.
Looking back on all the love that fills my life today, I know that never again is what I say when I’m not ready to repeat a feeling that knocked me off my feet. I know I’m not the only one. Whether it’s the heartache of losing a relationship, a job, or anything that matters to us – it’s natural to avoid these scenarios by avoiding them altogether. Just like my dog is avoiding walks.
Avoidance is a lot easier than acknowledging when we’re just not ready to hurt like that. Yet somehow in the healing that comes from spending time in new environments with people who teach us to love again, we find ourselves a little more willing to open a door that says “never” for the off chance of forever. Something better than we ever imagined.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.