She is gone. Missing.
You know that feeling you get when you know something is wrong.
Well, something is wrong.
My cat, Dakota, concurs.
On a good day, he is a jittery, suspicious furry hot mess – that only partially likes me. I should have known when I picked him up from the shelter 10 years ago.
But as soon as they told me that they found him in a garbage dump, the sucker-in-me was hellbent on taking him home. I immediately went to retrieve him from his caged prison. And he fought me like he was Mike Tyson and I was Holyfield’s ear.
I remember saying this to the shelter volunteer, “Oh, if I just love him enough, he will fall in love with me back.” [I know. Right. Pass the barf bag.]
The shelter volunteer gave me a blank look – which probably loosely translated to, “You are an idiot.”
Ten years of feeding Dakota expensive food and catering to his every whim – and the volunteer’s blank look proved to be right as rain.
Because Dakota is the same evil little bastard [Yes, I love him something awful, and he still doesn't give an uck-fay]…
Anyway, he keeps looking at the stairs – which means nothing, because cats stare at everything like they are hypnotized or something.
But I know he knows where she is – my other cat, Scout [that I like the most, but please don't tell him - it will just introduce more tension into the relationship, not that he would care...]
Caring is just not everyone’s forte. I know I fall into that not-caring category frequently at work.
And I finally got my boss to get it.
“You are a one-on-one person,” he said on afternoon. “You just like to deal with people on a personal level.”
Yes, kinda. I mean yeeeessss, it’s not that I don’t care [of course, you are right. Just keep the paychecks acomin'.]
A lot of people struggle with the fact that I am um… selectively social.
And I certainly don’t make it easy…
One the one hand, I am bubbly, chatty and nailing jokes like Kanye nails Kim. On the other, if I don’t like your ass, I feel absolutely no compunction to talk to you.
I just have rules about who and how I fraternize…
- I won’t talk to people who make it too hard. If you are overly-contentious, mopey, mean just to be mean, or rude. Next.
- I hate work parties. I try not to go. There is talking, but only about work. And really. Who gives an it-shay?
- Unfortunately, I have just been re-drafted into the weekly staff meeting when I thought I had worked out a crafty way to get out of it. [Note to self: Crud.] Otherwise, just send an email, why must I sit and look at you?
- I don’t like to talk to people who brag about stabbing other people in the back. [That is foul and disgusting behavior.] And if you will do it them, they will do it to me [and I've got a mortgage and greedy cats to feed.]
- And it’s a drag to talk to people who love to point out that they are more “professional” than you. They always suck the fun out of everything. If you are laughing, they say, “it must be nice to have tiiiiiiiiime to laugh.” [Yes, my clock has more magical minutes on it than the one up your tightly-clenched rear. How freaking extraordinary.]
Having rules makes work more fun for me [and fun is good and simple. I like simple.]
When I come home, both of my cats are sitting at the door begging for snacks. Same thing everyday. That’s simple.
When Scout was a kitten – she ran out the door right behind me as I left for work – and I didn’t see her escape, because she was so stealthy and tiny.
I was absolutely mortified when I got home.
She was gone.
And I looked everywhere.
I finally found her in my coo coo crazy neighbor’s yard in about 15 minutes – but it seemed like hours. And I was very surprised my crazy neighbor didn’t fly my furry baby away on her broomstick.
Maybe their was an asshole convention that day in Phillie – and she wasn’t home.
I mean Scout was whimpering so loud.
How could a hearing person not hear my furry baby?
Dakota keeps staring at the stairs that lead to the upstairs of my Cape Cod. I finally hear Scout’s faint meow coming from that same direction. Upstairs.
Holy copulation! [I am trying to curse more creatively.]
My furry snootlebug was somehow stuck on the roof, I thought.
In the name of the Goddess of Fabulous – RuPaul, Target – and all things holy and sacred, I must save my fat furry baby.
I dart up the stairs [and y'all know my ass doesn't run. Right?]
Um… forward momentum can be so complex at times.
I mean I totally get why people struggle to understand my social proclivities when I have struggled for decades to understand them myself.
I remember like it was yesterday. A birthday party in a park when I was a kid. I saw a mountain in the distance and I just started walking and walking. And when I reached it, I just started climbing and climbing. [And y'all know I don't climb. Right?]
But I just needed less.
Less information to absorb.
And I just sat their. Observing. And it was wonderful.
Fastforward to adulthood – and book clubs and parties and group functions.
And I would always find myself in the bathroom [trying to chew off my leg to escape to sweet, sweet freedom]. But I was collecting myself – there with some stranger’s porcelain god.
Because all of the energy was draining from my body in the midst of it all.
I mean I just needed less.
Less people to focus on simultaneously.
Less new names of strangers to learn.
Throw in a book to discuss [that I probably didn't read - and prepare the bathroom again, because now I had to think and talk. And that's like 2 whole things to do].
It was too overwhelming to endure the relentless sensory stimulation of these situations and be chatty and learn stuff and, and, and..
But the idea that I couldn’t withstand social stimuli like I assumed “normal” people did made me so sad.
Add to the emotional equation my ability to become automatically bubbly and easily-social in some situations and not in others.
And I was content to hate myself
My oddity and
I mean how was this kind of striking duality even possible?!
I have just come to peace with my semi-introversion this year.
It was a process really…
First, I stopped giving a shit about many, many things.
Then, I stopped giving a shit about this.
Let’s just called this – my Year of Not Caring [and it has just been amazing in a way that escapes definition or words]. It’s just a feeling.
An amazing, amazing lightness of being.
I mean what was the big deal really?
And then, last month I found a video called “The Power of Introverts” by Susan Cain – that completely elucidated the missing piece I have been searching for all of these years.
I mean I literally watched it – and thought – holy um… clitoral stimulation – that is me.
I don’t have to be ashamed anymore and all of those labels ascribed to me are not even accurate – let alone relevant.
Because I know who I am…
I am not a recluse. I just like people in small doses.
I am not shy. [I mean that's just ridiculous.]
And I am not reserved. I am watching and absorbing information.
And I am not antisocial. I am just selectively social.
And I am not scared of people. [unless you have a firearm.] I am friggin’ relaxing – for crissakes.
Those all of the [nicer] things people have called me.
When the answer is simple.
I am an introvert at times
And I am extrovert other times.
I am both.
I can be in and out
I can be open and closed
I can be over-the-top and under-the-radar
Whenever the hell I want.
Because I friggin’ say so.
It continues to boggle my mind that figuring out what the “real” issue is
Just makes it is evaporate
It is so weird how that works.
But that is why I am religious about evaluating all of my behavioral stuff.
Because in order for me to be free
I need to uproot any habit that I taught myself as a means to survive
So I can continue to thrive.
That is another reason I got a little brave and pushed myself past one of my comfort zones and moved my blog last week [and it. was. hard. as. hell.] to go from a forum where all of my friends are to one that is completely new. [See "introvert" definition above. It was hard. Okay?]
But then, my friends just made it easy for me again – and caught me on their little angel wings. [You certainly do have a knack for that...]
I mean forget about pushing past my comfort zone. I pushed all the way to another galaxy in one big leap.
But now, it’s done.
And I didn’t have to do it alone [THANK YOU]
I’m not gonna lie
I cried myself to sleep after I published the first blog last week [You know the kind of cry where you can't catch your breath? And you're just heaving and heaving like a lunatic. That one.]
But they were happy tears.
Tears of self-exhaustion.
Tears of a weight being lifted.
Tears of emotional freedom.
My therapist hates when I do the whole dramatic transition thing, “Go incrementally. It’s less stressful. Why do you do that?” she always inquires.
Oh, that’s easy: a) I am lazy – why do something incrementally, when I can just launch myself over the finish line?, and b) I am impatient – why walk up the stairs when I can run?
So that’s what I did.
And there she was.
Half of her body was inside the wall, and half of it was out.
She was stuck.
There is a little door in the attic that is about 2 feet tall and wide with no knob or handle. I guess she took her magic wand and pushed the bottom of the door so the top of it flew open.
Personally, I need a flathead screwdriver, a human hand and opposable thumbs to jimmy that ridiculous door ajar.
She must have maneuvered her way into the newly open egress.
But even she couldn’t figure out how to get out by herself.
Dakota – the master door opener – with years of practice, gave me a blank look as I stood their in disbelief – which probably loosely translated to, “She [Scout] is an idiot.”
Why not push and push and push
Until you are free?
That is how it’s done.
Thank you for reading that blog. Hugs.
I am following up on some book suggestions from last week with this informal poll.
Great wasn’t that fun?!
Behold, the tiny button array below.
Wouldn’t it be totally empowering to click “like” and/or forward this blog?
Clicking buttons is rad.
I’m just sayin’.
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