Ready. I prepared to hit the spider my cats had cornered in the bathroom, and I held a napkin for the clean-up—me, the tired human living with two felines who chase bugs.
Lions, Tigers, and Bears
Even in the middle of the night, my male cat leaps over objects to obtain prey. Like the predators they are, my two lovely beasts will stop at nothing, not even toppling lamps, to reach a moth or “water bug.” I put the last in quotes since exterminators have informed me those large critters are American Roaches.
It was before my coffee, and I expected to see one of the brown American visitors being the latest prey. Until I saw it wasn’t. I’d been rather blasé regarding the event because of my assumption. Seeing changed my attitude. Every inner alarm came on and I was awake. I started grabbing needed supplies and shouting commands like a drill sergeant, “I need paper towels.” I also snatched a shoe I’d slipped off after work last night.
I was ready.
I flew into the bathroom, still freaking out about seeing the massive spider in front of the two cats, and then I looked closer. Dammit! It was a black plastic Halloween spider. My cats had spoofed me.
Your life is daily. The effort you put into your life — hourly, minute by minute, is the life you live. If you only give your days 50% attention, you’ll get 50% value. Live smarter. Live stronger. Put in what you want to get out of it.
Life is more than work. It’s a blend. When listening to YouTube and podcasts promising how I can be a successful entrepreneur and build my site to six $ figures, not only am I skeptical, I also lose interest. I won’t drown in work.
“Four be the things I am wiser to know: Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe. Four be the things I’d been better without: Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt. Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne. Three be the things I shall have till I die: Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
I know if I am paying for 10 gallons of gasoline for my car, I wouldn’t keep going to the one that didn’t get around to fixing their leaking pumps, particularly if they charged for fifteen gallons each time. I like extra.
I want a lot out of life, and I put effort into it. I have ambition, and I have enough eagerness to back it up.
This week, as an alternative to money, what other payment could we use in society? Value exchange. Time, education, wisdom, silence, ability, grief?
Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.
José Ortega y Gasset
Focus on an object today, such as a cup of coffee or tea. Without currency exchange, how would we value it? To me, it seems a staple of the social network. In some instances, it seems the best item other than alcoholic drinks to create contracts.
Begin by planting pockets of pleasure and encouraging growth in areas of your life that are essential. Choose music that lifts your spirit. And please, could you share it?
The world was big and ready to be explored when I was four. It was also a scary place where I could fall. But the fear didn’t stop me.
There was a hole in the kitchen floor. In my two-year-old mind, it was huge. My family lived in a travel trailer. There were a hundred acres of land with pecan trees and livestock, horses, chickens, all with a nearby river and wooded area, wild enough for any child’s fantasy. The hole—I avoided it, walked around it, afraid of falling.
When I was three or four, I remember picking pecans. My first experience with money and the thrill of commerce. Power.
I remember sitting carefully on the toilet. Mom bought an adapter seat so that I wouldn’t be afraid.
Falling in holes, dropping in toilets, we can’t forget that I dove out the door. I was young. Early that morning, dad had been plowing the cornfield, and he had a bowl that he wanted me to come and get. I was happy to run to help — a good little worker. I stood on the edge of the open door, and I knew I should sit down and scoot. The steps were tall. Four-year-old little legs can’t leap the way her big brothers do, but I never realized this. So I jumped.
I jumped and missed the steps. What happened afterward is a blur. I screamed. I’d fallen awkwardly on my arm, pinning it under my body against the concrete steps. People say there’s no pain when you break a bone. Or it hurts worse if you’re an adult. I don’t know what type of weed they’re smoking because pain hurts everyone.
For fifty years, I’ve tried to convince Mom that I jumped, that Dad did not force me to run outside for the bowl, but she’s stayed stuck in the blaming. Dad will always be The Evil One. And I’m not sure where that puts me.
I had difficulties at a young age. As a kid, my life was out of my hands. Written in these paragraphs are memories, vivid. They are the squares of fabric I’ve sewn into my life. Why did I save these and shelve the others? Memories are packets, and you change them each time you examine them. And every person who sees an event will see it differently.
We want to come back to the group, remember the warmth and laughter, but some of us never belonged. We didn’t know the feeling of loving arms nor the joy of being welcomed. The lack of love bleeds into our present life, making it difficult to find peace, to accept everyone around us.
We see our life as a struggle. It’s all we know. Hardship is proof that we matter. But we tire of the game.
It has taken me years to learn, to heal. I have gone to therapy and read books. Each has been a step for recovery. You don’t see why you need help except that your life isn’t working. There is pain. Then, amazingly your vision clears as you learn.
I believe in learning. If you can be brave, you can heal. Only you can decide your best practices.
Sometimes when I’m in the bathroom, my cat will sit on the floor and stare at me. It’s creepy. You may ask why I don’t lock my cat out. I feel guilty. She is home alone all day, so I think I shouldn’t limit my time with her. But, I resent her stare.
Games we play
This game we play, you may recognize it. My cat stares, and I feel guilty. I pet her and allow her to rub around my legs. There’s only so much I can take with all that attention. We both mean well.
The funny thing about it, when I am with her, as in overextended vacations, she still meows when she doesn’t see me in the room with her. If I step outside to take out the trash or run an errand, it’s no different. She still wants the same amount of attention as she did when I’m home for a few hours. So in my great reasoning, I don’t think it’s because she misses me. I read somewhere that a cat’s memory is only a few minutes. Cats don’t know how long it’s been.
This guilt I feel is hollow. I am projecting how I would feel in her shoes (paws). So why am I feeling so miserable? What do I want? I like it when we snuggle up on the couch together. I love it when she greets me in the morning. Even when I come home. The time when I’m in the bathroom and staring at me is my fault. I let it happen. If I want to be alone at that time, I need to close the door. A simple thing.
How often do we do this? We yell at people unnecessarily instead of metaphorically and physically closing the door. Have you ever said, “Yes, I’ll do that for you,” when you feel like vomiting at the thought of doing it? We go along with things when we have other plans. We say yes to their idea even when we disagree. It’s not necessary. We think our actions are kind. All we’re doing is building up a reason to hate someone we usually love. That’s what resentment does. It builds a wall of hate. If enough resentment builds, what happens? We yell. We scream. We blame. We walk away in anger. Is this what we want? Is it inevitable?
A study was conducted. There was one playground with a fence and one without any borders. The children without a fence clustered towards the center. If you place a fence around a playground, the children used the entire area to play. I found this to be interesting. Boundaries in life are giving freedom. Ironic.
Right here and now
I have the right to close my bathroom door. I have the right to ignore my phone. I feel freer knowing I can fence off my time, declaring ownership. I can put up a barricade and stick my flag in the ground. It’s my time! Right here and now. Kings do it, presidents do it, astronauts do it in their country’s name, and so can you. If it helps, you can make yourself a flag and put it in the middle of your room or outside your closed door. Name your kingdom. Just remember, you’re the enforcer. Tell everyone you will call them later.
If this hasn’t been part of your life before, people may not honor your boundary. But if you continually tell them, they will learn to respect your fence. With cats, children, spouses, or parents, it’s no different. They learn what we teach them. If we teach them that it’s okay to call us names and hurt our feelings (by allowing it), that is what we will get. Some people in your life will need retraining. I like thinking of it as an experiment. Who is the easiest to teach? How long did it take? How did they react in comparison to a different person? Be firm, but not rude. repeat the same line 30 or 40 times if necessary. “I can’t talk now. I’ll call you at 5:00.” Don’t explain. Don’t vary. I’ve used this technique several times, and it’s like magic, but you have to state it firmly and without emotion.
There’s a time for work and for me, that’s not today. My surgery went smoothly, and now after a day in the hospital, I am at home on the mend.
Many thanks belong to the incredible nursing staff, doctors, technical people,I had a terrific care group with a vast array of knowledge. Kindness exists. I’ve felt it in action. It didn’t flow accidentally. Even in the of best souls, love must be encouraged. It must be guided.
While no worker was there by force, their influence wasn’t only a paycheck. There was further action, and I received the benefits.
Thanks to my friends and family. I appreciate your love!
The holidays can leave me feeling like an abused spouse. I never think I meet the hidden expectations and wonder if I’m a failure.
How was your family time? Or aloneness?
Traditional holiday seasons are triggering. I cling to unfulfilled desires even though they will never be mine. I need the light of grace to see past the fog.
Joy in connecting
Today was a day for recovery. My guy and I walked around downtown. There’s a bookstore, Magic City Books, and we’ve wanted to go. I purchased a couple of books (below) after allowing myself a lengthy browse. We had coffee at the shop next door, and afterward, we went home. It was refreshing. No rush. Like the slow stretch you do when you exit the car after a long drive.
Maybe you do well through the holidays. If so, I’m glad. Let me know either way. I’d love to know.
I’ve had a busy week, with a running-on-empty feeling these last few months. I know you can relate. There’s work we absolutely must do and other chores we let slide.
My cat has been sick for a couple of weeks, and I delayed taking Ms. Kitty to the doctor. I work late. And it is difficult to take time out for anything and taking time off work for a pet, that’s ridiculous. But, infected teeth care none for employer’s opinions. Problems get worse when ignored. This morning I realized this shit was real. We went to the cat doctor.
Tonight I’m chilling with my old girl as she rests. Movie time with Ms. Kitty. Her tooth was already out of her mouth, so no extraction was necessary. She received antibiotics and some temporary pain numbing. All is well.
Thanks, everyone for all of the follows and support!
I sat at the kitchen table and listened to my mom, the same one who ripped at me since I was a child about my friends and my clothes, were they too big or should I by a size larger because I could shoot up a couple of inches in height this year.
There was a time she’d read the letters from my friend in Wyoming. Janie had moved at the beginning of 9th grade. Her parents divorced, and she’d decided to move north with her dad. Not quite a Twilight story since there were no vampires involved and Wyoming has skiing. Janie and I kept in touch throughout our high school years by writing letters every week. It was the thrill of my day when I’d go to the mailbox and run back with an envelope in my hand. My mom would ask, “Is that a letter from your friend Janie?”
Yep. And being the teenager that I was, I’d go into my room to read it away from prying eyes. Janie would tell me about her classes and friends, about her guys and her after school job. I never thought there was anything different about her. She was me but with different parents. Well, she was able to do things I couldn’t. School dances, dates, and she had a real job. I never thought about it until my mom said one strange comment. “Your friend Janie seems a little wild.”
What? Of course, I was surprised. I never talked about Janie or read the letters aloud. I realized what had happened, and I didn’t have a lot of options. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. She’d read my letters because I had left them out. And I didn’t understand the wild girl accusation. So, I dismissed it and hid them all away and anything else I didn’t want her to find.
The years passed, and many incidents like that one. I’ve put each aside. I didn’t give them a lot of weight other than thinking, Mom is strange, or where does she get these ideas? My mom believed particular women, like Kim with the red hair, were going to steal my husband. Then she felt my mother-in-law was actively plotting to take our money. The list goes on. It’s been a constant battle for me to shield myself from her jabs. They’ve felt like accusations. As if I couldn’t see the evil in others.
Here’s the truth: she stripped me of my self-confidence. I was always defending myself against the person who was supposed to nurture me.
I saw her last night when I was back at the kitchen table. I was doing some financial planning with her, my brother and dad. This time the neuroticism was not directed at me. I saw the blood red eyes of the monster. I saw my mom rip into my older brother, and it disgusted me. It was ugly, and I want nothing to do with it ever again. I’m not toying with it anymore.
No more putting it aside. I call it what it is. My mom is insecure. She is high in neuroticism. It’s a personality trait, yes. Even that can’t be excused, though. I’m glad I saw the monster.
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