It was 2 am and I had to pee. But I didn’t want to get up because I didn’t want to wake up my cat. 😂
If you’ve got kids, cool, you know what I mean.
Nothing worse than them waking up in the middle of the night thinking it’s time to get up and do day time stuff when you’re trying to take care of business.
Except for me, instead of a human child, it’s a long-haired black cat/parrot.
(The parrot reference = he mimics our voices which is equal parts hilarious and cute).
Jack the cat likes to assume that my late night shuffles down the hallway are invitations to get chatty:
Oh hey! You’re awake! Come on, let’s talk! Also, I need Food!!
That’s what happened last week. He heard me with his hyper Vulcan hearing and came chirping and dramatically meowing down the hallway.
And he wanted stuff from me.
He wanted to be petted and brushed, followed by treats and food – ASAP.
Hard not to want to oblige – he’s pretty cute.
But he already had food, he just wanted his food a certain way.
His preferred way of being fed is freshly out of the can with the dish placed directly underneath him on the chair (which happens to by MY chair! 😂)
This is funny because it’s not like he has a discerning palate. He’s been busted eating garbage multiple times.
And he doesn’t know the difference between a few hours old and fresh food. I trick him by mixing up his older food, pretending like I just made it, and he falls for it every time!
The real issue is that he wants things a certain way or else he deems them unacceptable.
Cat idiosyncrasies might be cute during the day, but at 2 am when you’re tired and need to pee, they’re overrated.
So I said hello to him, peed, and peaced out behind my closed bedroom door. Then I woke up a few hours later to a startling realization:
I AM EXACTLY LIKE MY CAT.
I am rigid about how things need to be. Sometimes I even reject things because they aren’t the way I want them or expect them to be.
Some of those expectations are in my best interest.
For example, I expect the people in my life to be supportive and loving, or else I don’t allow them into my life.
Boundaries are an important part of the whole mental health mystery. If they aren’t in place, you’re gonna struggle.
But getting caught up in how things need to look and feel and be in other areas is really siphoning the joy out of my life.
I have a lot to be joyful about, just like Jack the cat does. I have good food, good love and support, rewarding work, and stuff and things I’m grateful for.
I am hashtag blessed, yet I let strict expectations run my show, blurring my ability to relax and enjoy all the beauty that comes with the unexpected.
I want to go with the flow more. I want to enjoy the process of life.
I want to experience joy when it’s happening.
To make that happen I need to ditch my drive to control how everything looks and feels.
The 2 am wake up with my fur child has inspired me to investigate my default settings. I’ve begun asking myself some squirm-in-your-seat questions:
Am I allowing the joy to come through in this experience?
Am I shutting myself off from joy by gripping to rigid “ideals” that are anything but?
It can be really scary to accept that your default response is causing you to suffer.
All it takes is one unsolicited should-based response from a stranger focusing on your perceived failures instead of the courage it took to be honest about the fact that you don’t have it all figured out, to compel you to clamp your heart shut on stuff that needs to be addressed.
But living with a closed heart is an expensive way to live. It siphons from your ability to experience joy.
So instead of buying into denying or ignoring your issues, focus on taking your power back.
The next time you get uncomfortable about the idea of inquiring into the existence of your own counterproductive default settings – particularly how being truthful about them might be perceived by others – percolate on this statement:
Unless you’re in the arena, too, Brenda, I’m not open or interested in your opinion.
(No offence to any Brenda’s out there. It just felt like the right name for this example.)
If you’re doing this kind of work, you’re on a different wavelength than the should-ers.
Unrequested (and unsupportive) critiques of your journey are coming from people who are not in the same realm of thinking as you, so their comments don’t have a place in your life.
Walk on by unsupportive comments.
Don’t take ownership of them. Just step on over and past them, and keep on walking.
Keep being courageous, ’cause that’s what these kinds of inquiries require: Courage.
FYI: the quote above (minus the Brenda reference) is from Brene Brown’s new Netflix special which I highly recommend you watch.
Watching TV can be self-care if it’s lighting you up like Brene’s show did for me. 😍
I hope something within this post resonated with you. You are loved.
Pssst: If you liked this post you might want to sign up to receive the occasional email from me (anywhere from 1 to 2 per month max.) That’s where this post originated. 🙂