It’s official, I’ve become a hoarder again. After losing Lila last year and then Monty this summer, I thought I’d keep my shit together and just adopt one more cat, upping my one-bedroom apartment four-legged population to one dog, two cats total.
Alas, I have no control. I adopted Count Chocula at the beginning of August:
And then, noting that Chocula prefers Drew, which annoys me to no end, I went back to the lovely ladies of Eve’s Sanctuary and collected his pal Fat Albert, who is not actually fat and looks like a rounder, baby version of Monty:
Now we’re all jammed up tight, Winter the crazy cat-loving Pekingese dog, Roquefort the ridiculous, Count Chocula the Casanova, and Fat Albert the love bunny, and Drew and I could not be happier. Thank God I found a boyfriend equally dotty over animals. The dog is laying on my feet, I’m typing while repeatedly pushing Choc’s brown tail off of the keyboard, and Drew is in the bedroom conducting a getting along seminar with Albert and Roquefort.
The good thing about moving in new cats is that it’s nice and distracting, and since I have stalled out on writing, I can use their arrival as an easy focus rather than feeling shitty about what I’m doing with my life.
Here’s how it went down recently: I sat in front of the computer, opened up the folder with bits and pieces I’ve been working on, lists of things I could work on, etc., and I just thought, “Blech. I don’t want to do this.” Then I got a little teary in frustration, and the questions came up: What am I doing with my life? Am I gonna be working for someone else and not really contributing anything to the world for the whole of my existence? Why can’t I just get on being creative like everyone else?
Then my inner voice, the one that I have been working to pay more attention to lately, said, “Don’t worry about it. Let it go for now, things will be fine.”
So I did. I moved five feet over to the couch and turned on the Xbox and spent the afternoon in Oblivion:
I am perfectly capable of whiling away my entire life in a good video game, surrounded by mush-faced pets, but regardless of sage inner voices this doesn’t seem to be the prime option at my age.
Luckily, more distractions, friends in town. One particular friend is uber-talented, has a mountain of followers, and a career trajectory on visible rise. We met for dinner and after this person filled me in on what had been happening in the world of someone who has their shit together, I blurted out.
“Oh my God. I’m freaking out. I don’t think I can do it. I don’t want to look back into my past. I just don’t want to go there. I can’t get my brain organized. And time is just ticking away and I feel like I haven’t done ANYTHING with my life. And then I think, well, maybe I’m not SUPPOSED to do anything other than what I’m doing but then I get depressed because I know it’s all this wasted potential that everyone’s always lecturing me about. And then I think well, maybe I should just take a totally different trajectory and work at the Humane Society or something and just call it a day and stop thinking that I’m supposed to BE this grand thing or CREATE this grand thing, this stupid, pointless THING, which is probably just a figment of my ego’s imagination anyway. GAHHH!”
And this person, who is amazing and adored by many and who does amazing things every day and had just swooped into town in between doing amazing things, said, “I feel like that every day.”
I blinked in disbelief and gratitude. Thank God for honest dinner conversations, they’re the glue that holds life together. And then we got into the whole shame factor that comes with looking into the past, which is what I have been doing with writing so far. The question begs, why is it that we often look back at things we’ve done or experienced with a deep, dready, anxious feeling of shame, regardless of whether those moments in time warrant it? I find it so hard to forgive myself for even relatively minor infractions that I would not think twice about if someone else admitted them. And is it that I find it hard to love myself if I don’t do something that the world rewards with attention?
I haven’t a clue at the moment, but I’m glad to have friends to discuss it with, and endlessly grateful for the life I have right now. And maybe the whole point isn’t so much about creating something marvelous as an opportunity to burn off the old energies of shame and ego-need.
Or maybe I should just shut the fuck up and get on with it. We’ll see.