Picture this: It’s a lovely sunny day. Your daughter is outside reading a book. You pause your FaceTime chat with your parents so you can go get your barking dog from the yard when the neighbor in the house behind you assaults you with his words.
This was my Saturday afternoon.
I opened the door and the neighbor, above me to my left starts to yell at me. He is very aggressive about telling me that he is tired of my dog barking. He threatens to call the police and file a complaint with the HOA.
This neighbor was the second in-person complaint.
The first one actually knocked on my door to tell me he was over it, while, of course, my dog barked at him like crazy.
I came back inside to my parents and I lost it.
My dog is a half toy-fox terrier and half schnauzer 19lb. cutie named Bruiser and like me, he happens to love talking. (*barking).
My neighbor’s complaint, whose name I didn’t even know, was like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I couldn’t help but just cry.
I don’t care that I’m less than a few weeks short of my 40th birthday; I cried like a baby.
But I wasn’t just crying about the man being mean.
It was the trigger that released a tremendous amount of emotion and stress that I’ve had balled up for a while.
It was cathartic and I needed it.
I’m grateful for the release (and for my cousin and parents who helped calm me down and reaffirm that everything would be fine; God bless family).
After a troubled night of terrible dreams, I woke up anxious about going to the golf course for my shift because what happened if Bruiser was making the neighbors crazy again?
However, as I jotted down the notes from my dreams (which I’ve made a commitment to start tracking) I realized that this whole scenario with the neighbor and the dog was an opportunity to realize where my power was bleeding out.
I was all “Yes, Sir. I’m sorry, Sir.” when he was talking to me. Then I cried and then I got angry. Anger gives me fuel so I started to do research and take action.
Then I took an action I would NEVER have taken two years ago.
I went to visit my complaining neighbors, both of them - with the dog.
I introduced myself to the man who yelled yesterday because I didn’t know him.
We shook hands like proper people do. I looked him in the eye and let him know what my action plan was. I gave him a timeline for implementation so his expectations were set appropriately.
I then knocked on the second neighbor’s door (the first complainer). I listed for him the things I had done since our first conversation and told him I spoke with said other neighbor about the second part of the action plan. I told him I wanted to follow up and ensure he knew I had taken his complaint seriously.
I did all of this because I wanted to take my power back.
Not only did I take my power back, after months of anxiety related to this situation, I walked away smiling.
I am at peace and calm. I now feel like everything will be okay; and I know it will be.
Bruiser was terrific when we visited by the way. He didn’t bark once.