my cat curse

as i seek balance
a little of yin
a little of yang
i find that my life
is a braid
not a teeter totter
bits of me
winding together
into a tapestry
making me beautiful
& bringing me peace

have i told you about my cat curse? it is a sad story. i am cursed so that if there is a kitten to be found–i will find it…and for some reason…it is usually a brown tabby of some sort.

but that isn’t the sad part.

midnight was my first cat. as you can guess, he was a black cat. i got him as a kitten when i was eight? nine? my sister adopted his brother, tiger, a brown tabby. tiger died before he could grow up. he was slammed in a car door. one of my early (but not my earliest) pet traumas.
but i digress.
midnight grew up to be a massive tomcat. being country people, my folks did not neuter him or let him in the house. he was always coming home with bits & parts of him missing from fighting, and i loved him fiercely.
one day my baby brother was given a pet rabbit. one day my older sister put the rabbit on the deck in a cardboard box.
midnight did what came naturally to a big–never a housecat–tomcat who finds a prey animal in a cardboard box outside. he broke nester the long-eared rabbit’s neck.
my dad promptly, and with a smile, shot my cat.

salem was my next attempt to love a cat. he was black also. i got him from a pet store when i was barely old enough to be a grown up. he came complete with an upper respiratory infection. his sickness repelled me in that i could see his mortality…and i failed to bond with him. i found him a new home.

sylvia was a black kitten given to me by my ex-boyfriend when i asked him if i could cat-sit his brown tabby, mishka,  while he went to study abroad in russia. i didn’t want a real cat. i wanted a temporary cat. sylvia was adopted by my roommate.

then i started finding kittens–or were they finding me?

jack was a brown tabby kitten i found while i was visiting home in illinois and walking country roads. he followed me all the way home. i took him to the vet to get shots, and he mauled the vet who then told me, “this will never be a pet cat.”
i never returned to that vet, and i was able to find jack a home with my sister & her husband where he lived to be an old cat.

gruesome was a brown tabby kitten i found in northern kentucky where i was squatting with my redneck boyfriend. gruesome had the upper respiratory infection that many cats get–he was crusty & snotty &, well, gruesome. i reluctantly agreed to my horrible, awful boyfriend’s proposal that we should just put him out of my misery. then i changed my mind & decided that i would take gruesome & leave my boyfriend…but i was too late.

gomez was a brown tabby kitten i found in downtown lexington kentucky. when i took him to a vet, i found out he had feline AIDS and could not be around other cats. i thought, “perfect, then i cannot adopt another cat.” and i took him in & my dog loved him and then one day the neighbor’s dog burst into my apartment and chased gomez away. i never found him again.

maude was a one year old torti-tabby i found in athens, georgia when i was taking my girls from the at-risk shelter to visit the animal shelter. we were going to go to the dog shelter, but one of my girls had the wrong shoes on–so we went to the cat shelter and i fell in love with this beautiful cat named “moonshine” and ended up adopting her and changing her name to maude. things were going well with maude until…

lola, a torti-tabby kitten, and  her brother came running up to me in my backyard in rural georgia. lola matched maude, so i thought it was kismit. however, maude had been surrendered after having a litter of kittens that her owners kept–deciding to get rid of maude instead. needless to say, maude hated kittens. she began over-eating and pooping everywhere and i spent a lot of money to save her, but my bond with her was disrupted (as i am unable to bond when i think i might lose someone–it’s in another post about my dead turkey….) and lola was a bit of a jerk–so i never really bonded with her either. i did keep both of them for many years before lola was surrendered to the humane society because i was afraid she would bite the kids…and maude ended up at my mother-in-law’s house where she died naturally.

at some point when i was in georgia–someone i knew found a pair of neonatal kittens and didn’t know what to do. being one of those people who volunteers to do things when no one else will–i took on the kittens and learned how to care for neonatals. they were later adopted once they were old enough.

in wisconsin, working at a humane society, it was discovered that i knew how to care for neonatal kittens, and being that no one else was very willing to take on this task, i started taking care of litters of kittens that came in. i figured it worked for me because i am one of the few people in the world that kittens have power over, and i would gladly give them back to the humane society once they were old enough to be adopted. then came…

moose who was a brown tabby kitten…maybe one week old? (she was so named because i was also fostering a squirrel baby at the time–get it? moose & squirrel?) she was a singleton and the humane society usually just euthanized singletons because they used up the time of volunteers who could be caring for an entire litter, but it was no longer kitten season and i had no other litters to raise. so i agreed to take her on.
another reason singletons are risky is due to the fact that not having litter-mates & a mama to learn manners from, they can turn into violent, little jerks. moose, at six weeks, started showing the personality of psychopath kitty. i had maude & lola…and my huband had a beige tabby named max…but i knew that if i returned moose to the humane society and she bit someone, she would be euthanized. so i adopted her. she was always good with us–only biting company–and remains my favorite ever cat, but after i started having kids, i started to worry. then one day maude had a stroke, and after that moose got even more squirrelly. i was able to place her with “friends of ferals” recognizing that she did not want to be an indoor cat and that she was half-wild.

pepper is a brown tabby me & the kids adopted from the humane society in wisconsin when we lived somewhere where the only allowed pet was a cat and my kids were going insane about wanting a dog. pepper’s shelter name was “talisman.” he is wonderful with kids and still lives with us, but i still struggle with the whole having a cat reality. he has become more of fidgit’s cat than anyone else.

then we came back to rural illinois–stray cat central. both springs we have been here, i have been taking the kittens of a feral calico into the humane society (yes, i know, i need to trap her & get her spayed–it is on my to-do list.)  this spring i even had to use my neonatal skills when we found one of the kittens too soon. i thought i was in the clear for the rest of the year…but then, driving down the road while dusty was visiting, i spotted a kitten. we passed it and ran errands as usual and then driving home, dusty slowed down.”
“are you looking for the kitten?” i asked jokingly.
he was not–he just drives slow sometimes.
“well, there it is,” i said, spotting an 8 week old kitten, brown tabby of course, hanging out on the side of a country road.
dusty, a cat person, stopped.
i got out, and the kitten meowed & ran up to me. little fucker seemed to know me…so as i write this, he sits on my lap. sleeping. watery eyes as he fights off an upper respiratory infection and he is not using a litter box–pooping everywhere–because he is a wild baby who has never seen a litter box and i do not have the money for another pet or for vet bills and it is just a bad bad bad idea…yet somehow i cannot bring myself to drop him at the humane society as i have every other kitten i have found here (seriously, they probably spot me coming & know i have kittens for them)….

am i ready, universe? am i ready to accept this talisman and to let the wounds heal? the betrayals i have felt by my pets when they have turned out to be…mortal & flawed? the deep anger i have at myself for my own human flaws and inabilities to love and be a good person?

am i ready now?

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a shithead in sheep’s clothing

i see you
i see you now
you hide in your chameleon’s skin
you turn the tables
you play victim
you say, “i wouldn’t have done it if you–”
you say, “but look at how awful you are”
you are a master of distraction
a master of disguise
while a moth wears predator’s eyes
for protection
you are a shithead in sheep’s clothing

bear with me, y’all. i am working through some angst & frustration.
nothing to see here!
it’s all a part of the healing….

now i need to go do some art.

(the minions are out of town & i am down in the dumps)

birthday drawing

once upon a time
my birthday was one of my three
favorite holidays
once upon a time
i would count down
from like six months away
telling an unwilling audience
every
day
how many days it was until my birthday
i never had a party
(tried once & nobody came)
i just would spend the day basking
In the glory of a day
that was mine…
then i married a man
who refused to celebrate me
then i had kid after kid after kid
and realized
no matter what day it was
i still was expected to be a mom
then my brother died
and i no longer got my birthday call
from  him
asking, “so what else is new,”
and actually listening to what i said….
once upon a time
my birthday was a glorious day
for me…
i want to find that girl again
she was damaged…but not as scarred as who i am
today
i want to find that birthday girl
and i want to celebrate her
anyway

i feel better today. back on my journey to healing. i feel better–stronger–more able to tackle life.
i wish my birthday didn’t knock me down like it does. i hope i can somehow recover my old sweet love for my birthday.
it is a journey…healing…and sometimes i wander off the path and into a patch of poison ivy….

my minions were sweet to me. iggy wrapped up a dozen rocks & shells to give me. fidgit drew me this awesome picture. misha made an elaborate show of hiding “barbie” dolls & stuffed animals for me to uncover for my birthday. my minions are awesome creatures…even poppy who is three but one day won’t be anymore (please god!)

so i survived another birthday and am back on my journey to being a better me.

at least angst is an effective muse

he is the drink
that i shouldn’t take
the fall from grace
the downward spiral
to hopelessness
& a crippling
lack of faith
he is the drink
i shouldn’t take
the step towards
no control
my soul crumpled
on the floor
forgotten panties
stained & unwanted
he is the drink that i should say
no!
to.  the drink i should
feel strong enough to
avoid.

…why am i not strong enough?

i say, “i feel this way.” next time we fight he mirrors my words back to me. some fucked up mind game. some
fucked up
mind
game.
does he even know he is playing?
i wonder.
is it a reflex? a survival technique? does he want to hurt me?

or is he just protecting himself?

journal

you’re overthinking it, em. i tell myself. what do you want?
what do you feel?

journal2

i don’t want to share my life with him.
he is a big parasitical turd.
i don’t want to share my life with him.
we go for a walk in the woods where i grew up.
where i wandered & where i found myself
the first time i was lost.
my church.
i go into these woods with him, and i feel like it is sacrilege.
he shouldn’t be in my church.
i shouldn’t let him near my soul.
my being.
it isn’t safe.
i don’t want to share my life with him.
is this a want? or a warning? an instinct?

journal3

maybe he’s right
maybe he isn’t the problem
maybe i am the problem
but that does not change the fact that i do not want to share my life with him.

 

accordion to the bat

this is my second post of the day
but i didn’t post the past two days
so i suppose it all evens out.

this is the doodle i started.
here it is finished.
i added ink & then some ink.
a little more ink.
it’s a pretty busy picture.
some of it i like…some of it not so much.
but that is what’s cool about this art therapy…i find things
that i could use later
in a different piece.
i find things
that might become a piece of their own.
i find things
that i like to do with ink that i never did before
things i’ve never drawn before.
but also.
i sometimes find complete pictures.
the whole story.

i’m very tired.
it’s been a long journey…my life.
i’m going over a hill right now…so maybe i will get to coast a bit on the other side?
or maybe there is another hill right after this one?
i guess we will see.

yesterday fidgit asked me i had had a midlife crisis.
i said, “not yet. but maybe i haven’t reached the middle of my life yet.”
he said, “good point.”
then i told him i would wait until i was 60 to have my midlife crisis so i could live to be 120.

here is the ink stain

inkstainaccordion

mister chicken

so as it turns out,
i’m not crazy–i’m an empath.
okay,
sometimes i’m still crazy.
but when i get super sad and then feel elated the next minute–
the thing is–
i often don’t feel my own emotions,
i feel other people’s emotions.
so weird.
i always knew i was really really empathetic
but only in the past couple of years have i learned about being an empath.

so i’m an empath.
i feel things
and know things
that other people cannot sense.
i know when someone is lying.
i can see an aura better than i can notice the color of your eyes.
and it has come to my attention that being an empath–& not knowing how to protect yourself–is a dangerous & even a bad thing.
i don’t know how to protect me.
i lay open for everyone to just dump their emotions in.
and then i turn into a raging pond of dumped emotions.

so today i was reading a book about service dogs for families that have special needs children and i felt profoundly sad.  and instead of just feeling sad, i examined why i felt sad…only to realize that the sadness was not my own, but the sadness of these families.
it finally clicked.
i was not feeling my own emotions.
i was feeling someone else’s!!
and just like that, the sadness evaporated.
how often am i doing that?
being angry with someone else’s anger?
being happy with someone else’s happiness?
being frustrated with someone else’s frustration?

i wonder.
when i was a child, i loved animals. all animals. i loved them. i collected them. i had over fifty pets as a kid–and even more imaginary ones.
but my dad was so angry.
and he put that anger on us kids
and on the animals.
and i felt myself absorb that anger.
i felt it grow inside me.
i recognized it when it came out–it was his anger, not mine.
but over the years i adopted it as my own.
i was the one being angry at the animals.
it stopped being his and became mine.
and i felt so horrible about it
about myself.
i cringe to think that that is who i am.
but what if it isn’t?
i wonder…
if i now realize it is not my anger after all…can i send it on its way?