When One Window Opens

I wouldn’t say it’s been an easy two months. As much as I’ve tried to focus on the positive and take the space for recovery, there is a lot of healing to be had. Happiness is a fleeting moment. The toxic stress of uncertainty lies underneath its glimpses of hope.

But as I’ve told countless family and friends, even with this drastic change, my life now holds more meaning than it did just a few months ago. My everyday feels meaningful, even without purpose. Because for the first time in the societal reigns of financial liability, I am free to just be and re-learn all that once defined my childhood joy.

That doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven myself for getting into certain situations. This is part of my healing journey, and as my best friend so aptly reminded me, often a symptom of trauma. We blame ourselves more than the abuser, and it’s a cold, little heart. But rather than focus on the trauma, I choose to focus on the frame of opportunity.

Some days are easier than others, but just a few weeks into this new path, Norm – the six-year-old tabby that continues to astound me with his resilience – gave me a window of hope. Continue reading

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A Year in Review (as Dictated by Normandy the Cat)

I’ve never been a big fan of “a year in review,” even in blog post form. But seeing as how I never send holiday cards, I thought it would be fun to attempt such a narcissistic task in the most light-hearted way I know how, as dictated by my six-year-old black and brown tabby, who is currently rolling around on the floor high on catnip.

Here is Norm’s 2018 Year in Review:

Continue reading

The Day I Decided I Needed a Pet

“Oh my god something shit on my bed,” I remember telling my roommate on the phone. I was living in the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore, and after an eight-hour day at my contractual position at the university, I came home to find a pile of poop on my $20 Target comforter. I was planning to move in a few days.

Of course upon texting both my roommates, they responded with inherent laughter. I didn’t think it was so funny. Once I removed the comforter and ruined sheets, I realized the shit had stained the actual mattress. I’d had this mattress since I moved into my first apartment four years prior. What did I know of mattress protectors?

made bed next to window

“Did the landlord let her dogs in here? Why the hell would she let them shit on the bed and leave it?” I didn’t consider myself a bad tenant, but maybe I had done something to make her mad? I would have categorized this instance as beneath her, but I also knew she could be vindictive.

I considered throwing the comforter in the washer. God knows it had survived a few drunken vomit episodes. But nah, I was moving soon, and it didn’t seem worth the dry cleaning. I threw it in the trash. But what about the mattress? I had already sold it to the next tenant. What could I do?

I opened the window and sprayed some Febreeze. And then something came crawling out from underneath my bed, seeming completely terrified. A cat. Continue reading

Norm Is Looking for a Boyfriend (But He Doesn’t Know It Yet)

I’ve been thinking about getting Norm a girlfriend or boyfriend (I’m leaning more towards boyfriend). Even though my roommate and I each work from home once a week (on different days), Norm has not been pleased with the 8+ hours he may spend alone each day (or at least that’s what his increased “launch attack” initiatives tell me).

And let’s be honest. This apartment is a kitten’s paradise. Norm can spend hours rolling around on the carpet, chasing his tail around the living room, hopping from chair to couch to table and back again, and climbing a vast array of window sills. In addition he likes to spend his days sunning in his tree or hiding on a shelf in one of two walk-in closets. He spends his evenings catching hair ties and mini soccer balls or dragging his “bird on a wire” toy from the closet archway to mom’s bed. Continue reading

The Meaning of Life (as told by Normandy the Cat)

Unlike dogs, cats have never quite been domesticated. In fact, rather than controlling them, cats think they have control of us. They’ve somehow figured out how to be fed, cleaned up after, and petted in all the right places, all the while having us think it’s for our benefit.

So what better species to deem life lessons from? In the nine months since I’ve adopted Norm, my black and brown two-year-old tabby, I’ve learned a few things from this feline who thinks my world revolves around him. Here’s what he has to say: Continue reading

I Have a Hyperactive Cat

I didn’t have plans to adopt a cat on Black Friday of last year, but when my brother visited from Louisville and I mentioned the idea of stopping by the animal shelter on our way to the National Air and Space Museum, he seemed enthusiastic. He once owned a cat, too, but it was one of many valuables lost to Rochester in the break-up with his former girlfriend.

Most of my close friends know I have been wanting to adopt a pet for some time, but my previous landlord didn’t allow it, and before that, my roommate was severely allergic to cats. My friends would inevitably joke, “how’s the fish?”

Initially, I had planned to use a tactic from the movie 28 Days when one of the characters at rehab asked how much time is appropriate for entering back into a relationship afterwards. The fictional counselor recommended starting with a plant, then a pet, and then after some time, a human relationship. Continue reading