New Family Member?

Yesterday we brought home a new kitty for a 5-day “sleepover” to see if he might be a good fit for our family. He is right around a year old, very playful and active, but also quite nervous at the moment as you might imagine. Here he is hiding under the kitchen table, where he chose to spend most of last night:

86601672_2869032046468867_713682745502466048_o

We weren’t planning on getting another kitty so soon, but ever since our kitty Spyder died around a month ago, our cat Mao Mao has been very sad and seems depressed because he lost his play companion and buddy. We do have another cat named Ichabod, but he is off in his own world and even though he is sweet, he is not good companion material for Mao Mao.

When they were introduced last night, Mao Mao and the new kitty were tentative and nervous, but not really aggressive:

86385490_3047623378605334_722478327423565824_n

The new kitty did hiss at the other cats some, but I think that is just because he is younger, littler, and in a strange environment so he was feeling threatened. No swatting or attacking though.

The new kitty seems a little afraid of men and his tail looks like it might have been injured in the past by someone pulling on it too hard, so I do wonder if he might have been abused in the past. The rescue place didn’t really have much history on him, so who knows?

I’m hoping it works out. The new kitty is very sweet! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

My Sister Would Have Been 43 Today

rose-3407234_1280

Today my sister would have turned 43 if she hadn’t prematurely ended her life around 8 years ago. I still miss her deeply. Part of me is glad she is out of pain, as she struggled horribly with mental illness, physical pain, and serious addiction issues, but most of me just wishes things would have been different. I don’t hold any real anger towards her final action, but there is a lot of sorrow and wondering exactly what was the final straw.

Has suicide ever touched your life personally? Have you lost a friend, family member, or other important person that way? If so, how do you deal with painful occasions like their birthdays/anniversaries/etc.?

Drawing My Mood

Feeling like this little guy today. Things still not going well with my sick kitty. Feeling sad and overwhelmed. Wishing it wasn’t the holidays when I have family/social responsibilities pressing down on me too. On the plus side, I have been selling a lot of my art and books, but hard to feel too celebratory. Your kind comments and care have helped though. Please know that.

IMG_0039

Suit Up for Battle

woman-2371363_1280

Have you ever had a relationship in your life, whether it be a family member, coworker, boss, neighbor, schoolmate, or other social acquaintance, who makes you feel like you need to prepare yourself for for battle every time you come in contact with them?

Perhaps they are masters of the subtle put-down, love to give sneaky guilt trips, always manage to make you feel inferior and “less than”, or simply bring out the worst in you, leaving you feeling regretful and exhausted after the encounter finally ends.

I have a meeting like this coming up soon and it has been stressing me out. While I was laying in bed a couple nights ago stressing about it, I suddenly realized how much effort I had to put into steeling myself before the encounter. I have to put on emotional and mental armor and make sure none of my weak spots are showing. I have to be strong and hide any reaction to their attempts to get to me while in their presence, otherwise it will only encourage them.

It made me sad to think that it has to be this way. It also made me realize why the whole experience causes me so much anxiety and exhaustion. Preparing for battleĀ isĀ exhausting!

Poetry: Unspeakable Childhood

model-1216916_960_720

‘Twas horrible to think
that she suffered
an unspeakable childhood.

Every day they reopened
the contentions –
old ones
that she could not
tear away.

Mischief and dread
became more likely
than right and wrong –
causing heads to hit
hard against circumstances
almost as good
as she once was.

(Blackout poetry created from a page of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens)

Complicated Mother’s Day

lily-of-the-valley-4169440_960_720

Mother’s Day always creates such a barrage of mixed emotions for me. There was a lot of trauma, abuse, mental illness, and foolish decisions that marked my childhood. My mother was far from a perfect parent. Luckily, she does admit to that and seems to be really trying to be a better person now, but being around her always triggers so many memories, thoughts, and feelings – some good, some bad, some funny, and some tragic.

I think part of the issue is that my brain has a tough time seeing how she acts towards me now and reconciling it with memories of how my sister and I were treated while growing up. I do believe in forgiveness (within reason), and I do love my mother, but I doubt there will ever be a day in her company that doesn’t create confusion for me internally.

I write this post today to recognize those of us who struggle on Mother’s Day to even know how to feel…

When Friends Say Cruel Things It Sticks With You

sad-4143008_960_720

It is strange how negative words can stay with us for a lifetime and hurt long after they are spoken. Today, I was reminded of a conversation I had way back in middle school. My friends and I were having a conversation about birth order statistics and how the oldest is often the smartest and most responsible in the family – which apparently was the case in all their families.

I mentioned how that hadn’t really happened in my family as I was the youngest and yet I was the one in the gifted program, the one who got straight A’s, and the one who was least likely to break the rules. My sister was very smart in her own ways, but not overly academic or intellectual.

One of my friends (or more likely a frenemy) replied, “Well, maybe your sister is the pretty one then.”

Before I could digest this insult or respond, one of my other friends chimed in assuring the group that my sister was no looker either, which made everyone laugh. I didn’t let on that I felt anything, but inside I was crushed. I felt ugly and I also felt bad that my friends had insulted and made fun of my sister.

To this day, remembering this conversation makes me feel ugly, plain, and rejected. I wish my friends had been more careful with their words.

I Miss Having Kids Around

Today my husband and I went to go see one of his students dance in a special recital:

58460482_2266695480035863_5289813955206709248_n

Seeing all the cute little kids dressed up in their costumes and dancing made me really miss having kids around. I used to be almost constantly surrounded by kids between foster parenting, volunteering with the kids at our old church, and working in the school system as a teacher’s assistant/aide. My favorite age of kids to work with were always the younger ones, 3-4 years old to around 6 or 7, although I bonded well with kids of almost any age.

At this point, I don’t know if my physical/mental health will ever consistently improve to the point that I can do those things again, but I miss them. I am thankful for the experiences and memories though.