Learning to Stop Being a Scaredy Cat

There is nothing to be gained in fear. You may feel more at ease, protected, safe and unconcerned, but you will only have lost on your opportunity to push past easy, safe and comfortable. We all carry this mouse with a megaphone called fear, judging us, pushing us, or holding us back. It’s sometimes called common sense, but more often than that it is simply complacency. I wrote this to encourage myself as I chase my dream to make my writing mean something to people.

I hope this little piece finds someone and hits them hard. I hope they then somehow find the courage to call this “monster” by its name, and go conquer the world in their own beautiful, meaningful, life-altering way.

I’m done being a scaredy cat. It hasn’t served me well.

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Fear is an instinct, built into us, to preserve us, to protect us from the possibility of pain.

Fear is your mother’s voice in your childhood ear – ‘be careful. not too high. not so fast. not so far’.

Fear is the dark corridor, the blind corner, the drop into the trench and the void that is the unknown.

Fear is insulation around your heart, two ply bubble wrap and a warning label…’Fragile: handle with care”.

Fear is the sweat of your palms, the words caught in your throat, the Doubting Thomas of your subconscious that quietly reminds and reprimands you, “better safe than sorry”.

Fear is a nameless face with a clipboard and a checklist of all the things you think you “should“. Should be, should have, should say, should do. Fear is checking those off one by one and in the meantime you lose your chance…

Your chance to taste life, to sing, to dance, to write, to paint, to create, to pursue…your change to sashay your spirit into that unknown space of “maybe…”

Fear is the thief that doesn’t even bother coming in the night. Fear walks into your office with you on another mundane Monday and robs you blind in broad daylight.

Fear says “not now”, fear comforts you with “next time”, fear reiterates your to do list and keeps you busy. Fear says, most often and with the most conviction “not you, you could never…”.

Fear is pervasive and strong and condoned by society as sensibility. Fear is acceptable. Fear is common ground with a brethren of people with their clipboards and comparing notes on who has the most check marks.

…but fear is no guarded prison. There are no shackles or irons, no fetters, no chains, no sentence to serve. You can walk out at any time.

Fear isn’t immortal. It isn’t indestructible. Fear isn’t “death and taxes”. It isn’t long winded and it isn’t eternal.

Fear is routed out of life by knowledge – like the little girl who finally looked under her bed to find no monsters, no sharp teeth and jagged claws and in her victory, slept peacefully in the dark.

Fear is dissipated by effort. Like fog burning off in bright, mid-morning light, fear cannot return to the space you have filled with “try”. 

Fear is told to go to hell when you understand the falsehood, the emptiness, and the slight of hand trick that it plays in your life.

Fear, in its true form, is so very powerless.

It begins to lose the moment it’s recognized “I think I’m JUST afraid…”

Its weakened further by the blow of “WHAT IF…?”

Its fully disarmed by “I’m going to try…”

And is devastated completely by “I won’t give up…”

The Selectively Social Cat and Her Likewise Human

This coming Sunday marks one year that I have been owned by a cat been a cat owner. MeowKitty has been a special part of my life and I really love her annoying, demanding, passive aggressive, demeaning little feline heart. After this … Continue reading

The Circle of Mystery!

My cat is such a refined beast. She refuses to ‘cat’.

Laser pointers? No.

Feather toy? No.

Mechanical mouse? No.

You get the point. She is too pleased with her clean little coat, her immaculate bean feet and her perfectly coiffed self to be caught DEAD playing like a common house cat.

So she looks at me like I’ve lost my mind whenever I trail yarn across the room to entice her or flick a water bottle cap across the floor to see if she will chase it. Her face is the perfect ‘you’ve cat to be kitten me right meow?’ face. Ever.

However, I have found her Achilles heel! Buzzfeed recently posted THIS and of course, because it was endorsed by Buzzfeed, it went viral. Which means I saw it 600 times and it was sent to me via email, Facebook feed, text message and smoke signal. To say I saw it implies only once – the people in my soc-meds circles insured that I was inundated by it.

I scoffed. No way would MeowKitty fall for that.

Then one Thanksgiving-eve, whilst wine buzzed and giddy with carb-overload daydreams, I indulged a friend and gave it a shot. I didn’t have pretty colored tape to use, but apparently ANYTHING will work.

I set the bait.

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She approached.

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I acted nonchalant, but she was on to me. I will not be a pawn in your sad, human game of entertainment. Gah, my cat can REALLY be a drag sometimes. I went about pouring more wine being a productive adult and using my time wisely.

I glanced back into the living room and found, MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, THIS…

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It’s almost more than I can handle, because she just does not cat! Maybe this is one of those ‘had to be there’ moments, but I found it hilarious. Also, she stayed there for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. She had a nice bath, a nap and then bitch-stared me for a solid ten minutes while I had a third glass of wine paid bills online.

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When she finally left the circle – she came out a CAT. She was running wild around the house, chasing everything – including her tail – and jumping in and out of the box that delivered my fourth pair of boots this season new cookware.

It was the best three minutes of being a cat owner I’ve ever experienced. She quickly reverted to Princess Purrface when she noticed me laughing like the idiot I had become after the four three glasses of wine.

I might have to set this up again, when I’m feeling a little buzzed bored and in need of a laugh. Also, it’s about darn time she started to contribute something to our relationship other than her fur balls everywhere.

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person. ~Dan Greenberg

How Does ‘Cat Lady’ Happen?

I think almost everyone has the same mental image when they hear ‘cat lady’. It looks something like hair rollers, frizz, wrinkled clothes, cat hair everywhere, cats everywhere…but there is always the crazed look in her eye. Take this for example…

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This is the quintessential Cat Lady. She’s got her crazy hair, her crazy pj’s, her insane number of cats and the crazy eyes.

This poor woman – or the woman who is represented by the doll – gave up a long time ago. That isn’t eyeliner on her eyes folks – that is a mix of insomnia (WHO could sleep with that many face-pawing, fang raking little fur balls about?) and Toxoplasmosis.

You have to wonder how did she get there…? As a budding cat lady myself, I’ve given this some thought and I can see how this all gets started…

She gets ONE cat and she likes this. This animal is seemingly low maintenance, doesn’t seem to really notice whether she is there or not as long as she fills the bowls and scoops the poohs. But she thinks, maybe it’s lonely? Does it need a fur-companion?

So she gets another cat, because – goodness knows – being lonely can suck. A lot.

So now she has TWO cats. This next cat and the original cat seem to be ill-suited for one another (as in she comes home to find them sparring in a mix of broken vases, shreds of curtains and there is now litter EVERYWHERE).

She’s (currently) a rational person. A person of exquisite understanding and deep contemplation about the habits of people and animals alike. She digs through her memory of human interactions and places herself in the situation – her first college roommates come to mind almost immediately…AHA! They need a buffer! A THIRD cat friend to kill the animosity between the first two.

However by this time she doesn’t really want to go back to the shelter. She doesn’t want them to think that she is the crazy cat collecting lady…also if there was a home visit involved this time around they may have some questions.

So…she reaches to the ever-faithful marketplace of the internet – Craigslist. She scrolls through the six dozen ads of people offering kittens – no, she’s after an adult. This bad roommate situation requires maturity. She finds her match almost seventeen pages into the ‘pets’ section – a calm and docile looking ‘sweet-girl-kitty’. The owners are moving, or allergic or whatever – she doesn’t read much after ‘free with littler box’. SOLD. God knows she will need that now that she will have THREE cats.

She brings sweet-girl-kitty home and somehow the animosity does die. They all mind their own business and it was the perfect move. All is right with the world..until she finds sweet-girl-kitty behind the clothes dryer, desperately laboring to deliver a litter of six kittens. Crap. Six plus three…she now has NINE cats.

Logic would say – ‘foster these sweet babes for a while and then find them gentle, sweet homes. Lots of people love kittens…apparently including you’. She argues with herself for a bit, but once they’re up and moving around and mewing all over and doing adorable acrobatics in her closet – she just couldn’t part with any of them. AND the soft pink BEAN FEET are so evil and irresistible! They end up with names like Frank, Cary, Jimmy, Audrey, Mae, and Myrna…because, the Mr. Mittens route would be wayyyyy too far gone for her still…as of now.

So I think that’s how people end up with nine – ninety cats. (The people with ninety cats are what happens to you when you forget to spay and neuter your pets, folks. Take note!)

I’m pretty pleased with just this one…as of now. 🙂

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SHE thinks I’m hilarious!

Sleeping Arrangements

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This says it all.

So, as stated before I am single. Super single. Like – ‘I’m a decade older than the average male in my city with little hope for a change’ – kind of single. Yet I have not given up completely. I still believe that one day my prince will come I’ll bump into someone nice, with great taste in music, a challenging intellect and we will have that romantic movie montage thing together (you know, hand holding, farmer’s markets, maybe even a little canoe moment). Until then…my cat sleeps in my bed.

She doesn’t just sleep in my bed, she sleeps on my pillow, just above, if not on, my head. She is insistent on this. She is like a tree by the water that shall not be moved.

So we have our routine which resembles some variation of this nightly:

Step 1: I brush my teeth and wash my face in the bathroom. MeowKitty (heretofore known as MK) rubs her face on EVERYTHING that smells like something other than MK, including my legs. No big deal, her fangs aren’t sharp at all.

Step 2: I approach the bed and move decorative pillows. MK approaches the bed and death stares me as I toss her day-sleeping squares onto the chair, which is also hers.

Step 3: I pull back the duvet and sheet. MK pounces on the 1000 thread counts as if field mice were just there and then immediately begins to biscuit*.

Step 4: I remove MK, and all her very sharp claws, from ridiculously pricey sheets and deposit her gently onto the floor *wishful thinking*. MK fakes me out by prancing out of the room – with an air of ‘I have important cat things to attend’

Step 5: I commence watching hours of Gilmore Girls on Netflix fall gently into slumber. MK times her return with my slowed breathing and startles me from slumber with an aggressive raking of fangs across my forehead.

Step 6: I attempt to move MK to the other pillow – the one reserved for theorhetical Nice, Good Music, Intellectual, Movie-Montage Guy. MK will have none of it and after several more forehead scrapings, followed by a few obliging kitty kisses she curls up on the upper 3/4 of the pillow. ‘Good night, human’.

I better add Cat Loving to Nice, Good Music, Intellectual, Movie-Montage Guy because there is no foreseeable change in this six step process. Oh well, at least she shares the warms.

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Just look at that stubborn, smug face…so self-satisfied.

*For those non-cat people: biscuiting or biscuit making is when a cat kneads their paws – CLAWS OUT, MAY I ADD – onto anything remotely softish. Your couch cushions, pillows, your belly – all qualify.