full circle

. . .from an upward battle of struggles and emotions to a journey of healing, growth, and laughter. . .


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first world problems

Yes, that little phrase puts everything into perspective. So does the cliché “life’s too short.” While it took me years of severe depression (The Breakup), three months of stress leave from work, and a few years without a man in my life (aftermath of The Breakup), I have learned that you can control only your reactions to negative situations. You cannot control other people nor the circumstances. But you can be a grownup and stop sulking about unimportant things. Life is too short to worry or dwell on something that doesn’t involve your health or ability to live, your family, or helping the community.

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I started writing the above post in December, and I see now that I never finished it. It was about M, with whom I am no longer friends effective May 20 due to unrelated reasons.

 


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how my life has changed since adopting cats

1. I haven’t ironed a single piece of clothing for work. But I do show up with cat hair on everything.
1200329The first part is definitely true. I used to iron my clothes the night before work, or if I forgot, then in the morning, even if it would make me late. Maybe, when I gained weight during The Breakup/depression, the new clothes I bought were less wrinkle-prone, but coincidentally, that was also when I adopted Clea and Oreo. The truth is out there, but I’m not sure which came first—the chicken or the egg.

As for cat hair, well, I actually try NOT to show up at work with it on my clothes, but sometimes, no matter how hard and often you use a lint brush (and I have THE BEST one), there is always a stray or four to be seen.

2. When something is on the floor, instead of picking it up, I just walk around it.
This happened the other day, which is what prompted me to make this list. Why pick it up when it will just end up on the floor again? How many times have I had to pick up the garbage strewn on my kitchen floor only to have to pick it up again because Coal loves to get in the plastic temporary garbage bag and tear it apart? Just for fun. Because he can.

3. I keep the toilet paper under the sink.
IMG_0008_400It is a common practice among cat lovers to take photos or videos of their cats unrolling or chewing up the toilet paper instead of rushing to grab the roll to salvage what’s left. (And in fact, it is an acceptable/good practice to take photos of anything bad rather than stopping the behaviour, because we love our cat photos.) In my house, Coal is the only one who has ever targeted the toilet paper. He stopped doing it when he got older in my old apartment. But when we moved into our condo five years ago, he acquired a renewed sense of TP madness. I once got creative and bought a toilet paper guard (yes, there really is such a thing. It’s apparently a baby safety item!). That worked for a good few months. Of course, my visitors were annoyed (it’s not hard to open, people), but my cats take priority. And then Coal outsmarted me and figured out how to unlock the guard. And so, now, the toilet paper is in the cupboard under the bathroom sink. Thankfully, I can reach for it from the toilet seat.

4. My tolerance for dust and cat hair is beyond high.
I used to be such a neat freak. Not Monica-crazy-OCD clean, but enough that my apartment was never full of clutter, laundry was always folded, and dishes were done as I cooked (ok, maybe a little OCD). When we moved into our brand new condo, it was such a treat because it was so sparkly clean, I had a dishwasher and insuite laundry, and I didn’t have to go outside to get to the garbage/recycling bins. And then little by little, there was always a dust monster or two even after I vacuumed, tiny particles of litter under my feet, and dried cat food on the walls. Everywhere I go, there is cat hair. Even when I cook, I’ll find a stray cat hair on my plate. HOW DID IT GET THERE?!!!! When I have people over, I have to spend a week cleaning, just for one evening. That’s why I don’t have people over very often. It’s too much freaking work! I’d rather just sit on my FURniture alone and watch TV.

5. I don’t shower on weekends because I don’t need to impress my cats.
Ok, I admit that sometimes I don’t shower on weekdays either. I frequently sleep through my alarm, so I’m usually late for work. And my hair is sooo long now that I can curl it on days I don’t shower or put it up in a messy bun and not worry about it. But weekends are the best. My cats don’t care and wouldn’t even know the difference between smelly me and non-smelly me.

6. I yell a lot more.
944946Coal and his protégé Wilbur are the naughtiest kittens you’ll meet in my house. I yell at them a lot. And sometimes, I use the wrong name. That’s when you know you have too many cats. Maybe I can attach the spray bottle to my new selfie stick…

7. I talk about cats all the time.
I have always liked cats, preferred cats, wanted cats. Dogs, not so much. I had no affinity towards them and would stay clear of them on the street. I especially hated it when they would jump on me and lick me. Yeach! But since I got my mogwoppits, my feelings towards other animals (dogs, lol) have transitioned from tolerance to love. I now stop and pet dogs, let them lick my hand, let them jump on me. The key change is a love of all animals and my advocacy against abuse and cruelty, including the “food” industry. But, back to cats. Yes, I talk about them all the time, I watch cat videos every chance I get, and I post photos every day. And if you don’t like that, you can meow off.

8. I do a lot more laundry.
When I have to. Because Coal has taken to peeing on my bed if the litter box isn’t clean enough by his standards. Recently, in one week, I had to put my bedding in the laundry three times! But while I do a lot more laundry, I don’t always fold it right away. Sometimes, I’m just too tired.

9. My camera happy trigger finger is ready at all times.
It used to be my real camera; now, it’s my smartphone. It’s always ready, I’m always ready, but sometimes, the kitties are too quick, and they move or change positions in the moment right before I take the photo. I used to print photos for albums, but now thank goodness for social media. {All photos in this post are courtesy of social media albums.}

10. I am content to be alone, as long as I have my cats next to me.
As I’ve alluded to many times before, The Breakup was the death of me. I wish I had adopted a cat right after that. But it was a year and a half before I did. I adopted Clea and Oreo, and then two months later, I sought out Coal. My life changed. I was finally healing. And in fact, I wrote about them when I first started this blog. And a year later, Wilbur came into my world (Wilbur was my foster fail).

I spent two years alone—I didn’t date, I didn’t talk to any of my old flames, I didn’t care. I realized that I was content to be alone. For the rest of my life. I didn’t need a man, and I didn’t even want one. If I was never in a relationship again, I was fine with that. I only needed myself to feel whole.

But I would die if I didn’t have my cats. ❤

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pull the trigger

I cried myself to sleep last night. Perhaps I knew it was coming. Perhaps I didn’t. But my depression is back. Why else would I cry myself to sleep last night over two men who were each in their own ways my triggers of severe depression?

You know about T, so let’s start there. His 50th is today, and since my 40th in May, I had been thinking about sending him a card or an email to wish him a happy birthday. I was waffling until yesterday. I looked him up on the various online sites I know he’s on. Usually, there is no new information when I am nostalgic and look him up. But this time, I found out that he’s been songwriting with a couple of women. I wasn’t jealous (even though they were half his age). I was happy that he was writing songs again. But I was sad because I wanted to be part of his life. I was so proud when he wrote a new song. He once wrote a song for my birthday. And then I went looking for his songs, so I could listen to them. I was too lazy to dig up his actual CD, so I just listened to one I found online. I was in bed, and that’s when the tears started streaming down my face, on the verge of turning into painful sobs like when I was severely depressed after we broke up for the final time. And it’s not just about the tears – uncomfortable wet lines down my cheeks. It’s the physical pain that’s the worst. The pain that’s still there after I wipe the tears with a balled up tissue.

And then there’s M. I have debated many times whether to write about him here. But it’s such a complicated situation that I have shied away. Just thinking about our friendship makes my head hurt. The very short version of the story is that he and I are good friends but often act like we are dating when we hang out. We’ve known each other for 21 years, but we didn’t become friends until the last 10 years. He was there for me when T and I broke up. But he was also the reason I stood on the bridge in the middle of one winter night five years ago, looking down at the water wondering if I would drown right away if I jumped.

I haven’t seen him in over three months, and he lives five minutes away. When we hang out, it’s great. But when we don’t, it’s like I don’t exist. It’s like he’s embarrassed to be friends with me. He posts photos of him and his friends on FB, but when we went to see Gordon Lightfoot (his bucket list), I was not even mentioned on FB. There are other indications that point to the same conclusion. It’s so stupid. It’s like dating drama, but we’re not dating. Anyways, we were supposed to get together last week, but I never heard from him – not one single day until I texted him on the weekend. His story? Drunk all week. This shit is typical. I have a love/hate relationship with him. Girlfriends make plans and stick to them. And if they can’t, they actually call you and tell you they have to cancel. But what triggered me last night was that his new profile pic showed up in my news feed – him and some woman. Again, where am I in his world?

So, that along with T put me in a dark place last night. I don’t think I need to increase my meds. I don’t think… I just have to get through the next two weeks until my next family trip.

I’ve written before about being content that I’m single. But a part of me wonders if finding a new guy to hang out with would divert my depression. And then again, do I want to deal with a new friend/relationship?

I’m just so sad right now.


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bittersweet

Today is my youngest nephew’s third birthday. Today is also the ninth “anniversary” of when T and I met. How cruel for the OBGYN to schedule a c-section on a day that I had been trying to put behind me and forget. {Ironically, we met on the same night his own nephew was born.}

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not pining away. But April 7 is always bittersweet. It’s the one day I can guarantee all the memories will flood back. The relationship was the best and the worst one ever in my life. And it’s the best part that makes me so sad that it ended.

I ran into him at my work conference last year. It was the first time I had seen him since The Break Up six years prior. It did not go well. I ran to the bathroom and cried. I came out and tried to avoid him, but he sought me out. We had a brief conversation catching up, but we were both working, so that ended quickly. Hopeful, I contacted him the next day to see if he wanted to catch up properly over coffee. It took a couple of attempts before he sent me two very hurtful letters: “No.” I cried all day at work… for so many reasons. Love really does suck.

For years, I had hoped one day when he was emotionally well, and I was emotionally well, we would run into each other and get back together. But you know what’s funny? Even if that did happen, I can never get back together with him because now I’m vegan. And that trumps love.