Maybe it sounds a little extreme. Maybe you’re asking “Really…a smelly dead rat changed your life?” Well….let’s just say this rat changed my perspective. And I’m a believer that if your perspective changes then voilà!…so does your life.
I posted about this dead rat situation on my Instagram a few weeks ago. But the more I thought about this particular disintegrating rodent, the more I realized it merited an actual blog post.
So here’s the whole story.
A frazzled mom (also known as me), pulls up to get her car’s long overdue oil changed. She begins profusely apologizing to the mechanic about her “ridiculously messy mom car”. (Obviously I had 100% planned on cleaning my car out prior to showing up to the dealership but I had to choose between cleaning the car out and getting my son to school on time.) So…
The mechanic responds: “Ma'am'…No need to apologize. I just had to pull a dead rat out of the car in front of you so your car ain’t nothin’.”
Me: WHATTTT? How does that even happen?
Mechanic: Well, her car had a terrible odor and only had 300 miles on it so she brought it back in and there it was, clear as day...a dead rat.
Suddenly, I felt relief. I felt validation…validation that maybe I wasn’t such a frazzled, dropping the ball, missing the mark, not having my kids in enough sports, SO. MANY. SPILLED. GOLDFISH. ON. THE. FLOORBOARD, mother.
For those 2 seconds, someone else’s story got to write mine.
Someone else’s smelly dead rat provided me VALIDATION. Eww. How gross and messed up is that?
The more I thought about this, and how in an instant…the low point of the day of a complete stranger gave me a spark of confidence… a pat on my leisure clothes wearing back….the more I got WAYYYY bothered by it.
I think comparison is something most people deal with in some capacity. Or maybe I just tell myself that. But at 36 (sidenote- how am I 36 years old already?) shouldn’t I be past all that mess? How did it sneak back in?
I mean I know in my 7th grade diary I wrote, "I really wished I had brown hair, was 5’4", and was a cheerleader like all of my friends were." (FYI - I’m 5’11, have blond hair, and played basketball). But all that insecurity was decades ago!!! Shouldn’t I have gotten a handle on that back in 1997 or something? Especially after listening to Andy Stanley’s Comparison Trap Sermon at least 10 times. Ha.
This dead rat really got me thinking about ALL the little ways other people’s dead rats unknowingly write my story.
The “Oh good...they forgot to take their trash to the end of the street too” rat. The “I don’t seem as stressed as them do I?” rat. The “Oh yay! They turned the field trip form in late too!” rat. The “Phew, I'm not the only one whose kid overdraws their lunch account all the time” rat. And the "Oh awesome! They don't wash their kids car seat either!" rat.
The truth is…we all have rats. I do. You do. My mom did. Your mom did.
The truth is, no one else has the ability to write your story unless you let them.
The absolute most important truth is…you and me woke up as valuable as we will ever be this morning no matter the number of gold fish and dirty kid cups on the floorboards of our cars. Our value and validation CANNOT be determined by anything we do or don’t do today, by anything our kids do or don’t do today OR by anything complete strangers with dead rats in their cars do or don't do today.
Our competition is not with other people, but instead it’s with “our procrastination, our ego, and the negative behavior we are nurturing.” (Borrowed this little truth nugget from my friend @emotionalintelligence101.)
So with that said…let’s write our own stories… OK sweet friends. Life’s too short to let someone else write it for us.
Oh—and just to avoid unnecessary health hazards, let’s try to keep dead rats out of our cars while we’re at it.
Laughing all the way to the car wash-