April 17th, 2018.
Around 6:20 am
I’ve just sat here and learned some life lessons from watching Friends on Netflix and my recent tripod cat, Bear. The sun is barely up and the clouds are this blue-grey with pink highlights and I contemplated what a great hair color the combination would be.
I keep switching tenses. I hope you can follow along.
Anyway, I sit here with Bear trying to climb on my lap while I’m trying to type this. She’s taken to trying to groom herself despite the ridiculous collar around her neck (to keep her from scratching her head while she heals) and I think she’s given up because she’s decided to now lie next to me with her collared head on my left arm.
I had just refused to pick her up when she was on the floor. Despite recently losing her leg, I make her work to get around. She’s been in this “carry me” phase and it’s like breaking a kitten from that toddler behavior all over again. In a way, she was reborn and into her next life. She’s a pain in the ass.
But I still wouldn’t pick her up. I pat the seat next to me on the loveseat while I reclined with my keyboard in my lap and the Xbox controller in front of me on the table. It’s a very cool morning (not by Buffalo standards, but certainly for South Africa) and my fingers were cold.
Eventually, Bear figured out how to get up on the couch without falling or clawing the crap out of everything. She hooked onto the reclined blanket and pulled herself up near my shins and then slithered onto my chest. I moved her towards my hip and the armrest and she made a few more attempts to climb back on me. She gave up eventually and sunk herself into the gap by my hip, purring.
I looked at her and thought about how she was so resilient.
Nowadays, I notice people express a lot of pity….pity towards me or Bear or towards the family. It’s not offensive, but I realize that many have this perspective that she’s not able-bodied or that I’m just floundering through life. Sure, life has its struggles, but we have our strengths. I just had to figure out what mine was, and she was figuring out hers. And here she lies, totally able-bodied and determined. She earned that. It wasn’t handed to her. A lot of people had written Bear off (especially when Obelix became sick) and probably didn’t think we had it in us to help her recover….but here she is, just as much a pain in the ass as ever but even more loving.
That’s something I’ve been missing within myself, really. Bear had no choice but to fight, but she did it on her own and thrived. I gave her meds and food, sure. But I didn’t give her the determination it took to bounce back as fast as she did. A lot of people would also say things like “Oh when a cat or a dog loses a leg, they just get used to it fast” as if that’s not a hard thing for a pet to do. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I didn’t envy watching her go through the process. All I could do was show her love and make some things easier to get to.
But now she’s running around and jumping and climbing up to lie with me whenever she can. Her fur is coming in lush and she’s just incredibly content.
I need to be more like Bear. She showed me that love is a powerful thing, and with it, you can do anything. But it is up to you to do something about it as well.
Ah, yeah, the second thing. The Friends episode. Season 8: E17 “The One with the Tea Leaves”
I’ve seen a good bit of Friends, but I was one of those people who came into it later and didn’t know all of the backstory on the characters (we didn’t have Netflix and DVR and such back then so unless you caught a rerun you didn’t have many options to catch up…there was no binge watching of anything unless it was aired that way or bought the DVD’s). However, I remember this episode and the one before because it was when Joey decided to tell Rachel that he loved her and risked their entire friendship.
It’s the beginning of the episode and he’s expressed that he’s struggling with the fact that Rachel had rejected him the previous night. I could relate to that so much on so many levels because I have this constant fear of rejection. It hindered my relationships (or even starting them) and pursuing a lot of passions in life. It causes me anxiety to even write this blog because I rarely ever let anyone read my work. I never felt like it was up to scratch. But here we are.
I remembered that he did kinda get the girl for a while before they called it quits. But it was weird finally being able to go back to the beginning of the series and watch how the characters developed over the years but within a span of months. Because the episodes were so short I was able to fly through several seasons quickly and actually understand how Joey went from point A to B. And at that moment when Phoebe starts talking about tea leaf readings I realized I could relate to him most.
I’m not the brightest person and sometimes jokes go over my head. I have liked to have fun but at the core just want to be loved (especially for who I am, not who I “should” be) and sometimes you just have to take risks and live your life in the best way that works for you, not anyone else. Sure, he didn’t end up with the girl in the long run, but he tried. There’s nothing really gained in life if you don’t put yourself out there and try. You can either win or you can learn a lesson that can help you grow. But you need to get that foot through the door either way.
I know I’m not the best person, nor am I the most perfect person. I know people find me difficult to talk to and I’m horrible with eye contact. I don’t have a past I can say I am entirely proud of, but I am proud of where I am today as I’m less than two weeks from my 37th birthday. I have a husband who thinks I’m worth fighting for and still tells me I’m pretty on my shittiest days. I know he meant every word when he said he’s here until we’re in our graves and sometimes I don’t know what to do with that. I realized that there’s been such a lack of loyalty and rejection in my past that I let it dictate my future.
I took a chance on Roland. While I’m sure I will delve into it deeper, later on, I took a chance on him and our 6th anniversary (relationship, not marriage) is on May 4th- which is also his birthday. I kind of laughed at how we started our relationship in the last 3 hours of his 30’s. I was 31.
Thinking back to where I was at 30 or 31 is strange to me. The fact that social media is basically turning into our public digital scrapbooks is not something I grew up with so I can only follow my life back to when I was 28. That’s a lot of digitally stored memories that I might not have been able to keep track of on my own. That’s the part of it that I do appreciate.
And here I am realizing I need a change in my life. I had been afraid to take a chance on myself, but I took a chance on others. Now was a good time to really focus on making positive changes for myself. But that circles back to the fear of rejection.
I need to remind myself that I’m capable and that I can do anything. I’ve been holding myself back so long out of fear of what other people would think about me. I’ve worried too long about opinions when what I needed to be doing was improving my opinion of myself.
So Bear, and Joey, I thank you for the reminder.