What My Cat Taught Me About Myself

by Renee Greenland

I know, I know . . . what crazy shit am I on?

Before I get started, I am not some crazy cat lady. Seriously . . . I tell everyone, myself included, that I am NOT a cat person.

Perseverance will pay off

But three days ago, Missy (named by the boys) arrived and wouldn’t leave. We tried ignoring her by closing all the curtains so she couldn’t see us. We went out to run errands and when we got back she was still here. At bedtime she jumped in Monster’s bedroom window . . . she was that desperate for us to let her into our little family!

She kept us awake most of the night with her meowing. Rascal, who’s a solid sleeper, came into me twice during the night saying, “Mum, I can still hear the cat meowing!”

I relented the next morning when I was having a shower and all I could hear was the meowing. Note: shower time is my ‘peace and quite time’ so don’t dear disturb me 🙂

So I opened the door to the cat. Next thing we were out buying cat food and biscuits, and a cat bowl. By the second night, she was sleeping in-between My Silver Fox and I.

Self preservation is not my friend

That night I was wide awake at 3am . . . normal for me these days. Lying there with Missy snuggled beside me, I felt this heaviness in my chest. A certain energy I’ve felt a lot in the past. ‘I am not a cat person!’, I told myself but that wasn’t it.

My counsellor taught me to acknowledge my feelings. I would usually push them down and bury them. I know . . . that’s not worked too well for me in the past. So I thought about it and tried to pinpoint what this feeling was all about.

I had to be completely honest with myself and listen to the internal chatter. ‘I don’t want to get attached and love her because she’ll probably run away (that’s how we got her, I’m guessing), and she’s going to die!’

I know . . . we all die, our pets will eventually die but that pain and hurt, the sadness . . . I don’t want to feel it if I don’t have to. Self preservation?

I thought long and hard about why I felt I needed to not attach myself to others. What was the trigger that made me stop wanting to love? And then it all came to me . . .

I thought loss was my fault

  • My dad left when I was four. (There’s obviously A LOT more to this story).
  • Sandy, my beautiful dog, died when I was 24. I remember that day SO vividly . . . Mum and I made the decision to put her down and that day if felt like my heart literally broke. I was sad for a long time and still get emotional when I think about her. I know this is why I won’t let myself love another pet. It hurt too much.
  • My first ever best friend ‘dumped’ me for someone else when I was ten.
  • A very good friend committed suicide when I was 14. I had seen him the day before and suspected nothing.
  • When I was in my late teens, my best friend at high school left NZ to ‘find’ himself.
  • Tania, another best friend, died of cancer three years ago, aged 42.
  • This year, one of my goals was to find a new BFF. I found one then discovered she’s moving to Washington in January next year, for three years.

Sure this stuff happens to us all . . . that’s life! But you can see how I started to think there’s something wrong with me . . . that I’m not good enough!

So when I think about it, I wonder if it’s these life lessons, or whatever you call them, that have taught me to protect myself by not getting attached to people, or pets.

Negative internal chatter is not truth

I know I came up with excuses to not make new friendships and to put up barriers . . . with people and animals.

‘I’m not good enough. I’m not cool enough. They’ll think I’m boring. They’ve got plenty of friends, they don’t need me as well. They live too far away. They’re only going to leave me or pick someone else over me.’

And I know this to be true with one person in-particular. My girl crush!

She’s SUPER cool. She’s vibrant, magnetic, bold, confident, genuine, friendly, loving, happy, cheerful etc.

I know . . . totally putting her on a pedestal. But I think she’s one of the coolest people I’ve met. Someone I feel a true connection with but my negative self talk gets in the way of developing a true friendship with her. ‘I’m not cool enough for her and she doesn’t have room in her life for me’.

What’s that saying?

”Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” 
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I’m missing out

I’m turning this shit around! Yes, all that being dumped and people dying sucks . . . big time. But by protecting myself, I’m missing out on great friendships, amazing connections and the opportunity to be a fucking awesome friend to so many cool peeps.

So thanks Missy for being persistent and showing me that I’ve been stopping myself from enjoying life’s true meaningful experiences . . . friendship and love!

I’ve made a conscious decision to let my guards down and enjoy our new cat. I’m going to give more to my current friendships and allow myself new ones.

I’m just sorry I didn’t realise this sooner about myself. But maybe I did and just didn’t acknowledge it???

Then I tell myself, ‘It’s not too late to change. Just be yourself. There’s no one like you. You’re fucking awesome. And don’t forget it!’

Until next time, take care!

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