Month: October 2015

“Raindrops on roses… Few of my favorite things!”

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It has been raining non-stop for two days now, and I LOVE IT 😀

Most people don’t seem to like the rain, and I’m not quite sure why  I guess everything does seem more tedious and clumsy when it’s all wet and soggy outside, but the only times I scurry through the rain are the times when it is cold, or when the wind is whipping everything around, or both- like today. But on other days, like yesterday when temperature was somewhat mild, and until the hurricane winds hadn’t made their way to my part of the world, I did try to walk slower than usual through the parking lots, from and to my car.

I attribute my love of this otherwise-unwelcome form of precipitation to growing up in India, and the annual phenomenon called the Monsoon. After a long, oppressive summer with temperatures creeping upwards of 100 degrees, the rain was such a welcome reprieve, until the next summer of course 🙂 I remember anxiously waiting for days when dark clouds would fill the sky, bright bolts of lightning darting towards the earth, loud claps of thunder reverberating through the air, and just like that, the sky would open up and start pouring down- oh, the precious droplets of liquid joy! And especially heavy rains meant no school 😀 Much like snow days here, there are rainy days in India, and what it really meant to me was not being stuck in a classroom but playing outside in the rain instead; just the thought takes me to a happy place! To be standing in the rain, facing the skies above- in those few moments it does seem like all my cares have been washed away!

There is something very pacifying about water, and very cleansing, and not just when it’s falling down on me, but also when it’s all around me, or even just in front of me, like an endless ocean beyond the beach. A friend once shared with me an article she came across that hypothesized that being in water reminds us, at a subconscious level, of the security of being in the womb and floating around in the amniotic fluid so we are naturally drawn to water. Perhaps, though it’s not the first thought that comes to my mind, then again, that’s the whole reason why it is ‘subconscious’, duh!

Anyway, when I think about being in water, I imagine being weightless, I imagine drifting away, I imagine all my burdens sinking to the bottom while my ethereal soul staying afloat. Besides, swimming is also an excellent work out 😉 Living in Buffalo, swimming year round can prove to be a challenge, especially if you don’t want to spend a fortune on joining a health club with indoor pool only to find out that you have to share the lap lane with too many people! There was one instance recently when I was so stressed nothing besides swimming was going to bring me any peace. All the public swimming pools I tried reaching out to were closed either for the day or for the season. I was so desperate I ended up checking myself into a hotel just to be able to monopolize their swimming pool! We’ve all done crazy things all right 😛

So what is all this leading to? Nothing. I really just wanted to ramble on tonight, make a grand declaration of my love of the wonderful water! And as I am writing this, I am listening to the rain simulator, Rainy Mood. So try this, and I insist 🙂 Find yourself a quiet corner, turn on the simulator, close your eyes and shut off your mind. Just listen to the rain and let it soothe you- you’re welcome (in advance) 

And here’s a fair warning- DO NOT TRY THIS AT WORK because chances are you will fall asleep 😉

I hope that the next time you are caught in rain you will try to close your eyes and catch some of those droplets on your face and smile 🙂

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Oh, the scary unknown!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fright Night.”

I’m scared of letting go, I’m scared that one day he will fade from memory, I’m scared that I will never know what we could’ve been…

I’ve already done a Halloween post, so this one is a little more abstract, that was abstract too, this is even more so. But it’s a real fear nonetheless, and what would it take for me to overcome it? Desire to live life and find out what’s next.

I told myself that I would never write about him but it’s been what seems like a lifetime since we spoke, or since our paths crossed. I do know that he will always try to watch over me, even if from the shadows, so you can say that he’s kinda like my own personal Batman 😉 So I’m hoping that he will read this, and I’m hoping that he will know it’s about him.

Believe it or not, I started writing this while sitting in the waiting room of an oral surgeon’s office, waiting to get a root canal. I daresay that’s what I should’ve been scared of 😛 But I’m a root canal veteran! This was my third 😕 Hey, I take very good care of my teeth- I brush at least twice, most times thrice a day, I floss regularly, ok semi-regularly, and I use a fluoride-based mouthwash. My dentist thinks it’s probably genetics. So while I managed to get the good-hair gene from my mum, the good-heart gene from my dad, and the good-brain gene from my granddad, I also snuck in the bad-teeth gene from God-knows-who in my ancestry, arghh!

On my way there, I drove by few places that reminded me of him. I don’t usually drive out that way, this was an emergency appointment so the surgeon had me drive further out to his second office. As I retraced the familiar path, alone this time, I remembered holding hands, and talking about dogs, and laughing. We all have that one unrequited unfulfilled love (I’m sure he loved me too) that makes us both happy and sad. He is mine. We met at a bad time, that is all that went wrong with us. I’ve never been a better version of myself than what I was around him. He brought out the best in me. And some days when I’m in the middle of my now-regular bawling-my-eyes-out show, I think to myself what I’d give just to hear his voice and be in his arms!

Most people carry memories like this with them, the romantics do anyway! But do they ever get so caught up with life that they forget that one very special person who they might never see again? While I’m going through life, paving a new path forward, I’m scared to go so far away that I may never to be able to retrace a path back to him- no familiar places or things to remind me of him. But I’m going to do it just the same because that’s the whole point of living- moving forward- isn’t it?! Not becoming stagnant or looking backwards. I don’t know what future holds but I do know that whatever it is it’s worth the journey of getting there. I just hope I keep running into pleasant reminders like I did today, so I don’t forget the things that I don’t want to- don’t know if that even makes sense, see why I’m scared?!

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“I would rather cry in a BMW…”: Revisited

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Time to eat my words I reckon…

The other day I wrote a post called “I would rather cry in a BMW…”, and this is my own response to it. That entry, in my opinion, was reeking of arrogance. I contemplated leaving it up to serve as a lesson in humility for myself. Life doesn’t give us a delete or undo option, now does it? So why should I undo it here? This, after all, is a chronicle of my experiences and lessons, and that post was both- it was a reflection of everything I was experiencing at the time, and now it is a lesson. I was hurting when I wrote it, and what do people do when they are hurting? They lash out; because somehow we feel that if we can project the hurt that we are feeling inside outside, it will go away. But it doesn’t, it simply doubles. 🙂

The one amazing thing about being 30, as I am finding out more and more each day, is that I find it easier to admit when I am wrong, I find it easier to make amends and I find it easier to say ‘I’m sorry’. Over the last few months, I have been most deeply wounded by some of the people I trusted and loved the most, but to make my parents the target of all the pent-up bitterness was absolutely and decisively the worst act of moral transgression on my part for which I am eternally sorry! Like I pointed out in my post about my 7 favorite words, our conscience is the ultimate judge we have to face, and knowing that I had done something wrong, I could not rest until I had done my penance.

So now on to the part about eating my words: I love my parents mostly because I am programmed to do so. I will forever be ashamed that those were my words. Like I said at the onset of this journey, words can be our best friends or worst enemies- they were definitely my enemies when I said that. I LOVE my parents because they are the best parents in the world, period. Everything I am today, every freedom that I enjoy today, I owe to them. So while I may find it difficult to appreciate their help, I do know that whatever they do is founded in love. That I let myself be so fully consumed by pettiness that I forgot that is deplorable.

I am proud that I have managed to stay positive through tough times, but maybe I am a little too proud! I do indeed keep reminding myself that I would rather cry in a BMW, but perhaps, I also need to start reminding myself from time to time how I got there in the first place. So once again, there are much worse things in this world, much much worse, that humanity is dealing with every minute of every day, but I am not one of those people because my parents did everything in their power to keep me safe and secure. My problems seem big when I look at them through my myopic lenses, but they are really quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. And those of you who did not read my original post, well, all I can say to you: Good for you! You have one less reason to dislike me 😛 and sorry that none of this makes sense! But to be clear, I do not drive a BMW, it is simply a metaphor for all the creature comforts I have. Whenever I am sad and depressed, I think of the millions of people out there who do not get a square meal a day, or who don’t have a roof over their heads, or who don’t know what peace and freedom mean…

I am ok with my problems!

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“I get by with a li’l help from my friends…”

IMG_3226Yesterday was an off day, if I may say so. Feel free to chime in if you agree- I can take some constructive criticism 🙂 We’ve heard enough about the boy who wouldn’t marry me, the pal who wouldn’t support me, or most recently my parents who just want me to be married! Today let’s talk about the people who keep me going, who are always in my corner, who may agree to disagree but who will never abandon me.

Before I start, I want to clarify my usage of certain terms as it may not concur with their commonly accepted meaning. When I say my ‘best buddy’ I mean someone I share my day to day joys and frustrations with, maybe get a drink with from time to time, but mostly because of the proximity. A buddy in my world is lower in ranking to a friend. A buddy is just, you know, buddy, a fair-weather friend. S/he will flee when dark clouds are looming. Friends, on the other hand, are buddies in good times, but they stick around in tough times too, like family would.

Now that we have that down, let’s talk about friends, my friends. I have said before too that I have a great group of friends. They are the smartest bunch of people I know who also somehow manage to be the silliest at the same time 😛 They can make me laugh, and not just a small giggle or chuckle, but a serious stomach-churning full-out guffaw that literally makes my face hurt 😀 Even if someone told me I could go out and design my friends, I would not have been able to think up such amazing people, honestly, their awesomeness begins where my imagination ends!! And I know ‘awesomeness’ isn’t a real word, but that’s just how perfect they are- they are always there when I need them, they offer me good advice without being condescending and no matter what I do, they never judge me! We don’t have to have a serious conversation for me to feel their warmth and care. I don’t have to break down in front of them to know that they will pick me up if I fall. Whenever we are together, we are more or less incessantly laughing, but I know they feel my pain.

It takes a lot for me to cry in front of someone, and it’s not because “big girls don’t cry” 😉 I won’t speak for other womenfolk, but if you ask me that’s just a myth that someone needs to dispel! But until that happens I am going to speak for myself and let me tell you I cry a lot, A LOT, but in my own private space 😀 I find it hard to let someone else see that I am weak and vulnerable. But I have two very special friends, who I also fondly address as ‘mom‘ and ‘dad‘ quite frequently, and yes, they are indeed a couple. They have seen me in my weakest, most dismal moments. They are the friends whose place I could go to uninvited, in my jammies if I wanted to, crash on their couch and ask them to feed me 😀 And I have done all of that, the only thing I haven’t done is take my laundry over to their place or they would officially become my parents 😉 They moved away last summer and although they may not be around for the usual buffoonery, they are never more than a text or a phone call away when I really need them. By-the-way, besides being a phenomenal cook, my mom also happens to be an exceptionally talented artist- you can check out her work here.

So that’s all about friends who are like family. But what about family? Yes, my parents and I have difference of opinion in certain matters, but I suppose that is typical for any family. They are still my friends in number of regards. But there is one person in my family who never gets the full credit she deserves- my baby sister 🙂 Being the youngest in the family, she often gets written off as being childish and immature. Frankly though, she is far from it. With a pigheaded me on one side, and my parents on the other, she has been doing the most arduous job of striking a balance between all of us. I spend most of my evenings chit-chatting with her, about nothing in particular, or nothing that even makes sense! But it’s enough to brighten my day. All the sisters out there would know exactly what I’m talking about. There is no friend like a sister! We are very different people, and unlike my friends, she and I don’t share the same outlook on a lot of things, yet her love and support are unwavering and I owe a big part of my sanity over the last few months to her 🙂

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Well, I wanted this to be a quick post- so much for that 😛 So yes, I keep taking all the credit for being a positive person and all that kinda stuff, but the truth is that if not for these cheerful influences in my life, I would find it very hard to hold on to hope. They put a smile on my face when I need it the most and I get reminded that life is beautiful 🙂

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Speaking of the supernatural and the other world…

IMG_4532Boo! Halloween is almost here, and if the rain decides to hold out, I might be able to go for a haunted hayride later in the day… You think I can give those zombies a scare with that face?! 😉

In case you didn’t notice, I have a brand new site theme! Since I turned a new leaf recently, new perspective and all, I decided I was going to give my site a new look too, and make it more, umm, let’s see… well, make it less amateur looking, there 🙂 I have also included links to other social networking sites I am finally going to start using. So please feel free to add me and enlighten me since I haven’t shared much there.

It’s not like I live in the dark ages, I keep up with technology, but I never felt the need to interact on social media. Friends and family have my number and we are in touch every waking hour of the day- literally, no joke! The first thing my dad does when he wakes up? Texts the kids on the family group on Whatsapp 🙂 There have been times when I was separated from my life force, my cell phone, for few hours because you know, real life happens outside the phone, and I returned to over 50 new messages in my friends chat group. Most times they are not even coherent! And trust me, other friends have been at the receiving end too, and I on the incessant talkative end- yes, we can be a bunch of gabby loonies, but I love them to bits! One of these days, I am going to dedicate a post to them 😀

Anyway, I digress, as usual 😉 So social media… It is almost eerie when I look at the stats page for my blog and I see all these parts of the map glowing- Mexico, UK, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, India, Australia! Besides US of course. It is surreal to imagine that my little voice can actually be heard that far away; that there are people on the other side of the globe who know more about what’s going on in my life than my next-door neighbor. I have never been to any of these places, except India where I was born, and chances are I might not even be able to, but at least one person in these countries knows my name and has walked alongside me even if for only a moment. I have new friends now, people I might never meet in this lifetime, but who inspire me daily! THAT is supernatural if you ask me. The world is so big, yet so small, I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

And for all you know, none of it might be real. I may not be real. I might be a crazy scientist performing a human experiment, to see how we come together as a race to support each other, no matter how far away we are. It hasn’t been 20 days since I started writing but I have 20 followers besides my 2 friends. I might be making up everything and the troubled Pat might simply be a figment of my imagination, a ghost if you will, that I resurrected from my creativity! But somehow people care, they are interested and they don’t want her to give up. If that is not spooky then what is!

I don’t believe in ghosts, I am a person of science. It’s the real world that blows my mind every single time I stop to take a notice! I am nothing more than a speck in this grand universe but I can start a conversation that can go across continents and oceans. Trust me, I am not trying to be boastful, I know I have nothing to boast about, I am purely in awe of this invisible ‘other world‘ that exists on the other side of my computer screen, that I have just stepped into and that I am slowly beginning to explore. I have just spent my Friday evening and Saturday morning addressing an audience I can’t touch or see but I know is there. Social media the way I am interacting with it these days, feels like a supernatural world full of imaginary friends and unearthly experiences!

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PS: I am very much real and everything I have shared is 100% non-fiction. And I know you guys aren’t imaginary either. Shout-out to Bob, Temi, Em and The Mount- Cheers guys 🙂

Jibber jabber, this that, and thus carried on Pat!

IMG_2691HIYA 🙂

So what should I write about tonight? Thanks to the Daily Post prompts, I had something to ramble on about last couple of days. As we have already established I LOVE to talk; additionally, this is turning into a near-compulsive habit, so now I am anxious to get a post out there tonight, but not quite sure about what, hmph! This is getting a First World Problem tag for sure 😉

Well, I must congratulate myself first! If I do manage to publish this entry, which I will, it will be my 11th- that’s a milestone because now there’ll actually be something on the other side when you click on the ‘older posts‘ button at the very end of my homepage 😀 It also calls for a show of gratitude- so thank-you to all those who have encouraged me and followed me since the beginning, and welcome and thank-you to anyone new. I hope we will celebrate many more milestones together 🙂

So i guess it would be apt to make this a flashback entry. When I wrote my first post, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how far I would be able to make it. My life was a mess, still is, and I just wanted to be heard! Most people, from what I have noticed, are rather secretive about their problems, and I don’t mean first-world problems, those we love to share! I mean real problems, things that we think would make others judge us. We are so competitive we have to one-up each other when it comes to having the mythical perfect life! First world problems are really just an extension of that. The more of those you have, the higher up you are in the social hierarchy, more ‘first world’ you are, see my point? But I decided I was going let the drama of my life play out on the big screen and sit back and watch it with an audience- at least together we can laugh about it!

My second post was really what I wanted everyone to hear about. And by no stretch of imagination can you call it a first-world problem, it is quite the opposite actually- hapless immigrant trying to realize her American dream 😉 Boy oh boy, now is that lame or what! But hey, unfortunate things happen and they are out of our control. This time it happened to me. Writing about what was going on and then reading it back helped me face the reality head on. My employer treated me unfairly, but guess what, it maybe be unethical but it is absolutely legal! So what started as merely a story, eventually led to an opinion and my third post. Why do I have zero control over my destiny? Why don’t I at least have the right to plea my case with the government? I am not going to get into the details of this matter. If it piques anyone’s curiosity, second post about Immigration would give you a good idea, but let’s keep pressing on for now, ok!? 🙂

So my fourth post was along the same lines, the process of clearing my emotional cobwebs, realizing how Buffalo is really home. By now I was delving deeper into the dark recesses of my sub-conscience and my fifth post was the culmination of this catharsis. An open declaration of a disastrous love affair that I had never talked about! I guess the only thing I have learned from that travesty of a relationship is that you are never too old, or too smart, to fall for the textbook tricks of a playboy, whoops 😉

Now that I had cleansed my soul of the many burdens it was carrying, I had transcended from the purgatory of my emotions into the heaven of creative writing 🙂 A well begun writing endeavor for me has to begin with my grandfather, God bless his soul. So sixth post was my homage to him and the beginning of a new writing style. Seventh post, in retrospect, was just an outward expression of it- that I am strong and I am not going to whine anymore (did I hear anyone go “phew, thank God!“, a certain Mr. Johnny!? :P). So there I was, writing about lighter subjects, like my feline babies and being a cat person, the dearest exclamation point, and my favorite 7 words

I have come a long way from where I began, and all of you have helped me get here! Like I said yesterday, we need to let our guards down more often and we might be pleasantly surprised- well, I decided to share my story with a world of strangers, and guess what, I have new friends now! I will do my best to use my words to put a smile on your faces, and wherever life takes me, I’ll be sure to share! In conclusion, to all my friends, new and old- CHEERS 😀

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Seven Words – Tough, but I’ll try….

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Seven Wonders.”

Let me start by saying how much I love words. In fact, in my very first post, I said that words were my best friends. I have great admiration for literature and languages. I try to memorize a new word whenever I come across one; latest these days- ‘soporific‘. Ok ok, I’m going to ignore all you geniuses who already knew that one and don’t consider this an achievement 😛 But I didn’t and now I am anxiously waiting for an opportunity to very casually let it slip out in a conversation, like I have been using this word all my life, and watch the expression on my audience’s faces- are they trying to decipher what I just said, are they impressed that I knew the word, or do they really just tune me out and are blissfully clueless! I do talk a lot so it wouldn’t surprise me if there are people who tune me out from time to time, or all the time (Scotty for one, wink wink). And I guess that makes for my second-ever shout-out 😀

Well then, that was way more than seven words 😉 So having said that, I most certainly wouldn’t condone doing away with all the glorious words and keeping just seven. But let’s save them for literature, for books, and for a thoroughly engaging conversation. We don’t need big words, or a lot of words, to build relationships. So here are my favorites, and why. By-the-way, pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions are not real words, they are the infrastructure required to build a sentence using words. Let’s start then:

I LOVE you: not to sound cheesy, but we really need to say that more often. Thanks to pop culture, love has become somewhat of a supernatural phenomenon; It is not! If someone consistently puts a smile on your face and makes you feel appreciated, it’s ok to love them for that. It doesn’t mean you have to jump in to bed with them, or die for them, or you know, ‘catch a grenade‘ for them 😉 So don’t overthink it, please!

I am SORRY: I like to think that most normal people have a conscience and an inherent sense of good and bad. When they make a mistake, they are aware of it and they feel bad about it. But most people are also too proud to admit when they are wrong. There is no shame in apologizing for your mistake. It’s not a sign of weakness, in fact, it takes a lot of courage to say those 3 little words. So please, apologize more, it makes you human!

I FORGIVE you: on the same token, learn to forgive people. Holding grudges is not going to bring you peace, and it certainly won’t help the other person. The simple fact that they asked for your forgiveness shows that they are suffering at the hands of their own conscience, why add to it, why not heal it. So be more generous with your forgiveness. Yes, there will be people who will say a sorry that they don’t mean, but guess what, they are the ones carrying the baggage, not you.

THANK-YOU: it’s quite a no-brainer really! And don’t just say it, mean it too. Gratitude and humility go a long way.

PLEASE: all right, I went to a convent school; sorry, please and thank you were part of more or less every sentence that we spoke. But I didn’t just speak them, I saw value in them, still do and so even today I use them generously and sincerely. There is nothing wrong with being polite. I’d rather be un-cool than rude 🙂

I TRUST you: it’s a shame we live in such a paranoid world. People don’t trust each other. I don’t remember where I read this, but someone made a good point that we teach our children to be wary of the unknown, to be suspicious of strangers, to doubt everything that is not familiar. It is a dangerous world out there I agree, but really we are just smothering their curiosity and setting the stage for an insecure adulthood. It may be a feeble example, but the movie The Croods is sorta like that. Of course, excess of everything is bad so I am not saying we should all be naive, accepting candy from strangers, but wisdom is not the same as paranoia. Let your guard down from time to time and trust people more, you might be pleasantly surprised!

CHEERS: yep, nothing like sharing a drink, with friends, with family, and even with strangers! Share a drink, celebrate, raise a toast to all that you cherish. Life is short but plentiful, depends on what you are seeking. If you like to worry, trust me, life will give you more than you can ask for! But if you like to be happy, life gives plenty of that too, all you need is a little attitude-adjustment, and alcohol is known to help with that 😉 So forget words and just enjoy that drink. But hey, drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive 😀

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So those are my favorite seven. It may sound like a Sunday-school lecture, but I am an old soul, I can’t help it. Those are indeed my genuine sentiments.

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The Happiest Little Thing in the World – !

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By the Dots.”

Exclamation point!!!!!!!!

Yes, this happy guy! I cannot imagine my life without this lovely little punctuation superhero 🙂

Like everyone living in this day and age, I text a lot, or use social media and other written forms of communication. If someone were to look through my communication logs, it wouldn’t take them more than few seconds to realize how much I love using the exclamation mark. I almost did just now but I figured I would practice some restraint 😉

It is not that I am constantly psyched or live life in the superlative; I am very much grounded and in control of my emotions but I do allow myself to experience sentiments to their full potential whenever possible. So when I thank someone, even in a work email, I AM really thankful that they took the time out to help me, so I say “Thanks!”. When I answer the question “How are you doing?”, I say “Awesome!”, because more often than not, I AM really happy and I am glad that someone asked! On the same token, when I get mad at my best buddy, I tell him “I hate you!!”. The emphasis is not on the ‘hate’ but on the intensity in that statement. Obviously, I don’t hate him, he is my best friend and even in disagreement I love him, but the intensity of my transient, superficial negative sentiment calls for not just one but two exclamation points!

I am sure you see my point by now. I was excited when I saw this question, I am excited as I write this post, and I want to make sure that all this excitement isn’t lost on anyone who reads my response 🙂

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What being a cat person means to me

IMG_0030I’ve got something light on the menu for tonight…

That’s Izzie on the left and Milo on the right- my babies 🙂 And yes, Milo is a big boy!! Izzie, a white and tabby domestic short hair, is 4, and Milo, black domestic long hair, is 2. They are both rescues. I adopted Izzie 3 years ago before Christmas. I didn’t want to be alone to put up my Christmas tree. Two years later, I felt like she needed a feline companion so I adopted Milo. They aren’t best of friends, but I guess they are like any other brother and sister duo- they may fight playfully but they will always stay close to each other. Of course, I don’t suppose they think of each other as siblings, or me as mommy for that matter, but guess what, I pay the bills around here and I get to make the rules- we are a family, deal with it!

I never thought of myself as a cat person. I grew up with dogs. I like the idea of being able to cuddle with a dog, to be showered with unconditional love, and to feel like you are really understood. When I decided to get my first pet, I really wanted to get a dog. But my apartment building doesn’t allow dogs. So one cold, wintry evening, I decided to pay a nearby SPCA adoption center a visit. I was captivated by Izzie’s uber-diva attitude! That was my girl, I knew it, and although she refused to budge from her cozy tower, soon she was in a carrier and homeward bound with me!

Within the hour after I brought Izzie home, my eyes had swollen up to the size of golf balls! I had to phone a friend to bring me some Claritin. Back in those days I rarely kept any anti-histamines in my medicine cabinet, but that has since changed. Now I apply sensitive skin cortisone cream on my eyelids before going to bed each night, true story! I know what you are thinking, trust me, I do. I get asked this all the time- you are allergic and you have two cats!?!?! Yes ma’ams and sirs, I have two cats and I do solemnly swear that I would rather die than part with them. So taking her back was not an option. I survived the night, thanks to Claritin. Next morning I decided to do something bold- I decided to bathe my brand new diva cat who also has claws! I must say I was in awe of Izzie’s lady-like poise and demeanor. She was clearly not at all amused by my maniacal feat but she put up with it with perfect composure. Bath was a success, and I didn’t have to rely on Claritin anymore.

Fast forward two years and I found myself at the same SPCA once more, this time with my sister. We saw Milo, Chaps- his shelter-name, and he was the goofiest cat we had ever seen. He was recovering from a severe allergic reaction at the time so he was almost entirely bald, but he had long hairs sticking out of his ears. His anxiety was through the roof and getting play time with him was unimaginable. You guessed it, soon he was in a carrier too, although getting him in there was quite hysterical. His first bath was no piece of cake either. To this day, I have to more or less don a haz-mat suit if I wish to walk away with skin on me after the 10-minute ordeal that is equally hard on both of us! But when mommy is allergic to your dander, you just have to suck it up and take your bath 😉

Those were the humble beginnings of my family of three. Being a cat person is all that people tell you it is- it’s about independence and mutual respect, it’s about being equals. But cat people often don’t get the fair credit they deserve. I am the kind of person who, if I had to choose, would find more comfort in loving someone than being loved, in taking care of someone than being cared for, in being responsible for someone than being dependent. I like being the rock, I like being the giver. To love a cat, or two, requires just that. There are times when I break down and cry in front of my cats. Izzie usually walks away and Milo keeps staring at me trying to understand what the heck is wrong with me! It’s not the same when you have a dog around. And while I can’t really squeeze them and hug them like teddy bears, Izzie doesn’t mind waking me up in the middle of night, literally- she keeps gently tapping me with her paw and meowing until I respond. Once I am up, she will snuggle close to me if not ON me, suggesting that I pet her as she falls asleep. If I can’t go back to sleep that’s really my problem, not hers. And Milo doesn’t have much appreciation for sleeping in. Every morning I find him atop me, waiting for his mane and cheeks to be scratched while he purrs away for solid 10 minutes.

So while my little monsters are always hogging my attention and love, always making me wait on them on hand and foot, I am the type of person who can do it. Try asking a dog-person to trade places with me for a day. S/he would probably be devastated by how little gratitude or validation they get in return at the end of the day. I’m not saying that my babies don’t love me. I know they do, I can tell they are glad to see me when I get home, but they don’t believe in making a grand gesture out of it when they see me. If I am home, they are never too far from me, but their way of loving me is to let me be and let me know when they need something. So what does being a cat person mean to me? It means to love and nurture unconditionally, without expecting anything in return 🙂

P

Strength: Sometimes you have more of it than you realize you do…

airportI was watching Wild last night. I started the movie with the hope of vicariously landing myself a much-desired moment of epiphany. I cannot get up and go on a thousand-mile hike myself but I was hoping that if I watched someone else’s process of self-discovery, I will have one of my own. Well, nothing happened. I am still questioning my whole life, trying to make some sense of what is going on. I was happy once, and it wasn’t too long ago. I used to wake up next to someone who put a smile on my face. I used to go in to work with renewed excitement each day. I loved the people and I loved my job. At the end of the day, I used to come home to someone who was happy to see me. I had home, love and career- everything that is needed for a successful adult life.

One by one, everything has been slipping through my fingers. I wake up alone these days, no one on the other side of the bed to share my night’s dream with. I go into work a bundle of nerves- what is my boss going to do today, how is he going to harass me? I get a blank meeting invite from him, and I pop the first pill of Clonazepam. I am not allowed to have a neutral witness in the room with me, I am not allowed to record the conversation- he rejects my requests. He intimidates me behind closed doors and I have no proof of it, except that I cry each time I step out of his office. Everyone can see it. Everyone feels bad for me but we are all helpless. HR doesn’t care. I pop my second pill of Clonazepam to make it through the remainder of work day. 5 PM and I am relieved to go home. I get home but there is no one to ask me about my day. I look around me and I suddenly realize that this is all temporary. I don’t have the right to decide what is home. I was born in a country I cannot call home. And although I have lived here for several years now, only my employer holds the power to make it my home. My boss single-handed controls my fate and he is determined to destroy it. I struggle to fall asleep, I struggle to stay asleep.

I did nothing wrong, except for a foolish love affair, but who doesn’t make that mistake. I was always sincere and yet I stand to lose everything. People say hard work never goes to waste, but it hasn’t brought me any good, none that I can see. I listen to Linkin Park’s In the End on a repeat loop: “…I don’t know why, it doesn’t even matter how hard you try…“. I want to know why this is happening to me. Did I really deserve this? I want to know what’s on the other side of this misery, and I want to get there quickly. I want to get away from all the chaos, on a quest of my own. I want to find happiness. I want this uncertainty, this daily torture to be over.

If your heart isn’t crying for me right now, then I’m sorry but you need to go see a doctor to make sure you have one 😉 Anyway, the point I am trying to make: yes, it is very difficult to lose a parent, especially if they brought you up all alone, in the most difficult circumstances imaginable, making sacrifices all throughout. But what I am going through is no less. But not once has the idea crossed my mind that abusing drugs, or indulging in reckless sexual behavior is the solution to my problems. Except for the few times when I am crying, you will never find me sulking. I still smile a lot and keep a positive attitude. There are days when it seems like I have hit the bottom, but on such days I am able to tell myself that the good thing with hitting the bottom is that there is only one way to go from there- up! So even in the darkest times, I don’t feel inclined to compromise on my values. I am not saying this to undermine Cheryl Strayed’s struggles and recovery in any way. But I am stronger than that. I don’t need to put myself through an extraordinary feat of courage to emerge as a better person. I am already that person and I show extraordinary strength each day simply by getting out of bed and facing what’s to come. So while I did not find the answers I was looking for, watching Wild made me realize that I am proud to be me. I am sure there is a rainbow around the bend not too far away. Good days will return once more. It will take a lot of patience and perseverance to get there, but I think I’ve got it and I will not give up 🙂

P