My dog has a tail. Before you say anything smart, let me first point out that not all dogs have tails. I’ve seen at least 3 dogs that didn’t have tails. At first glance I was shocked, but after 2 or 3 minutes it really wasn’t that weird anymore. The thing about being a dog is, you can’t really hide your emotions, because of the tail. If you see a tennis ball, or an open to-go box from Chili’s on the counter, your tail will wag. There’s just no stopping it. And if you’re scared, the tail stops wagging, and sometimes goes between your legs.
And it’s pretty obvious that dogs are pretty fed-up with all this involuntary self disclosure. My dog is, at least. Every hour or so, she decides that she’s had it with this public emotional barometer and resorts to biting at it. She’ll chase her tail round and round, growling occasionally and biting frequently. It’s as if with each bite she’s saying, “Stop telling everyone how I really feel, it’s embarrassing…especially when Homeward Bound is on.” Or something like that. It’s for this reason that dogs can’t be cool, except for those 3 without the tails. See, to be cool, you can’t really show your true emotions. Coolness involves a certain amount of hiding and a bit of suppressing, and refusing to admit that on the occasional Saturday night you watch Homeward Bound with your dog.
I think if we’re being honest, we all just want to be cool. Coolness means acceptance, and parties, and more than likely, boat shoes. If we could just be cool, everything would change. So we set out on our journey of coolness. We buy the right clothes, the right car, that house that we can’t afford. We listen to music that we hate, and laugh at things because other people are laughing at things. We change our attitudes too, and the way we talk. The whole goal of this journey of coolness is to hide our tails, to suppress what we really believe and think and feel. Because if people really knew us, they wouldn’t like us, we wouldn’t get invited to those parties with the boat shoes.
Trying to be cool is exhausting. It’s kind of like when my dog chases her tail around, chastising it for embarrassing her during Homeward Bound. It’s this constant process of lies and cover ups. It’s an attempt at hiding who we really are and building another person to perform in our place. And really all we’re looking for is acceptance. We’re just looking for someone to tell us that we fit in, that we’re a part of some sort of group.
The problem with chasing and trying to hide our tails is it’s a make believe life. When we live our lives for the opinions of others, we become people that we weren’t created to be. We become false people, with false emotions and attitudes and accents. But deep within our veneer of coolness is our true self, the self we were created to be. It’s a self full of real emotions, real thoughts, and real feelings. And I believe it’s a better way to live. It’s a life full of freedom, freedom from other people’s thoughts and opinions, the freedom to come out of hiding. All of that acceptance we’ve been searching for is right in front of us, from a God who created us exactly how He wanted us to be. Maybe if we lived for his opinion alone we could be happier, less stressed, free. Maybe we could stop chasing our tails.