like cat ladies do
Today was just not a fun day. Which has been basically every day since Friday. I was rushing around all day and was late feeding the cats their dinner–late getting Fogg her insulin. Still within the one hour window, but close enough that I was hustling. Shit.
I’ve been trying to catch up with myself all week. I am drowning in paperwork and each day just piles on more. Meanwhile, I’m being pushed and pulled and asked to do even more. Dealing with crap I shouldn’t be dealing with while pretending this is all just fine and I am grace personified. Hah. Yea, right.
It comes from somewhere. The extra moments have a price. It’s a chunk of my flesh. And each time it happens, I beat myself up. For not having more to give. Even when I’m giving everything.
When it was all said and done, I was half an hour late doing what needed to be done for my life. Half an hour means relatively nothing, right? Until it means everything. Half an hour can be the difference between life and death. I guess I get annoyed when I’m late because I know this all too well–have learned it again and again. How much each moment actually means and how the very ordinary can become the very last thing so quickly. And then you regret that half an hour for the rest of your life.
But I need to let myself off the hook. And that’s the problem with people like me. We see meaning in absolutely everything. So, it’s hard to brush off the mistakes and the falling behind. It’s hard to not beat yourself up for failing to be exactly on time.
I was sitting on my bed, having just injected Fogg, and let her down to the carpet and her bowls of food. There are many these days, meant to tempt her–because who knows what she’ll want today. The biggest one a big bowl of stinky critical care food mixed with water. It was what she ate at the vet’s office Sunday. She made a beeline for it and the comforting sound of her lapping it up calmed my nerves. Because insulin requires food in her belly.
She ate a bit and then walked away. And I praised her. Told her she was my beauty. She came to the foot of my bed, gave me the Elvis, obviously looking for a way up, and finally leapt into my lap. “Such a good baby.”
These days, everything she does gets some kind of warm comment or a soft pet on the head. Even when she’s climbing over me at 1 am, and I’m half asleep. It matters. The more I love her and praise her and show her I see her trying, the more she tries and the better she gets. It’s like watering a plant or putting it in the sunshine.
In that moment, I wondered to myself, “What if you talked to yourself that way?”
It was not a new concept to me. My old therapist had recommended I nurture my inner child by incorporating positive self-talk into my internal dialogue. But that’s harder to do than it sounds.
I don’t have kids. I’m rarely around kids. And my inner kid is basically my inner me. And I’m impatient as Hell with her. The funny part is–when I used to be around kids–when I volunteered, when friends with kids came over–when I briefly taught–I was exactly that person people should be for a kid.
I read somewhere once how important it is to show up for kids. That if your face lights up when you see a child, it changes them. And if your face doesn’t, it does the same. I know my parents mostly were lit up for me. I was so lucky that way. I’m like that, too. When a kid walks into a room, I am my best self. I am my functional adult self. The same happens with any kind of animal. It’s odd because, even though it’s a decidedly nurturing adult expression and representation, there’s also an innocence and a holiness to it. The person I was meant to be is here, and she is capable of anything. She’s the one I’ve been waiting for. And I am almost always that person for children and my pets. Even when I have no clue at all, they see that in me. In a weird way, it’s how I know I’d be a great mother now. And it’s part of the reason I’m going to make a kickass therapist one day. That’s who I really am.
But where does that woman go when it’s her turn to be nurtured?
I don’t even know. It’s like the boogeyman kidnapped her, and all the mean girls took over. Whatever the case, that small revelation clicked. So I’m going to try showing up for myself the way I show up for Fogg. I’m going to try to be my own best cheerleader and see what happens.