17 May 2011


I'd mentioned wanting to have my photography involved with this blog, and I think it's something that definitely needs to happen.  I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do so.  The problem is that most of my pictures involve my children, and I'm not certain how comfortable I am posting those publicly.  So, now that I have some more pictures that are non-child related, I'm going to start using them whenever they happen to fit.  When I figure out the kid picture thing I'll let you know.

This is my cat, Aravis.  Some days she literally is my sanity.  (Such as this last weekend.  And today.  Screw it, try all of the time it's been since Kim's leave ended.)  If you think I'm exaggerating on this, I have a prescription I can show you.  In fact, if you were my landlord, you wouldn't even see a cat on the windowsill here.  For you, that little piece of paper would essentially turn her into a bottle of medication.  A big one.

Sometimes Kim compares her to the cigarettes he has been trying to quit for years.  I can kind of get his point.  I mean, if I hadn't gotten some decent kitty time in this early morning, I wouldn't have even the teeniest bit of motivation to update my blog.  If I did, this post would be . . . well, it would be depressing.  Without regular kitty time, I really don't do well at handling my depression, stress levels, or anger (often used to cover up the depression).  But it all melts away as soon as I start getting that kitty "buzz".  In fact, I can even start to get giddy.  (Like now.)

At the same time I get annoyed when he makes comments like that.  It's the equivalent of saying that the pills prescribed to other people in need of emotional health assistance are, in essence, cigarettes.  Of course, spend a lot of time in Celebrate Recovery and you'll be surprised how many people are celebrating or hoping for their victory over emotional health drugs, so antidepressants = cigarettes is a connection I can easily make.  That's beside the point, though, because as far as I know that isn't Kim's view of things.

My belief, by the way, is that a part of the reason God created animals was for our emotional health.  A lot of this comes from the fact that all the conventional ways of treating my depression have either had no effect or made it worse.  The only thing that has ever helped me at all has been the cat.  Why?  Ultimately, because she is tangible evidence of God's unconditional love.  Pets are mirrors of Him in that they don't care about what you did, are doing, or plan to do; they just want to be with you, loving and being loved.  It's easy to know that about God in my head, but so hard to remember it in my heart - especially when depression is so strong.  Aravis not only brings that knowledge to my heart; she also provides a physical body that I can hold when I need to feel God's arms around me.

(Here is where I stop and think, "Huh.  I wasn't meaning to go this way.  Now where do I go from here?")

So . . . cat.  Yeah.  I love my cat.  I got her when she was 7 weeks old way back in 2005.  I was feeling super isolated from everyone but Kim because of some dumb choices I'd made, and then Kim went off to basic training for 6 months.  I was beyond lonely.  So when I discovered that a friend's cat had gotten out (again) before they could get her spayed, I convinced my parents to let me get one of the kittens.  I named her after a character in C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy, my favorite book at the time.

Aravis is part Siamese - just enough to have a ton of personality.  She seems to think she is human, though she has been acting a lot more cat-like since the kids were born.  She sleeps under the blankets; she gives me hugs from time to time; she gives kisses; she plays fetch.  She used to actually watch movies with me - I'm not kidding, her favorite was El Dorado (she loved the ball game).  That was before she realized that her sitting still that long made her too much of a target for little babies.  Speaking of babies, when she manages to get caught by them it's extremely rare that she will scratch them.  Instead she either waits for a chance to escape peacefully, hollers for me, or bops the kid with her paw.

Once she caught a sparrow and brought it to me - live.  She would put it down, meow at me, then quickly grab it again.  I honestly think she was asking for help because she didn't know what to do next.  I took it to the bird sanctuary, or whatever it's called, to make sure I wouldn't return a very injured bird to the outdoors; they reported that she had barely even scratched it with her teeth.

The most awesome thing about her, though, is that when I need cat time I don't have to do anything.  She comes to find me.  She has spent her entire life getting attuned to my emotions so she is now a pro at just appearing before I'm getting close to the edge.  Most of the time, at least.

Anyway.  My entire point in beginning this post was to (briefly) say that I had a challenging weekend (continuing through to today) due to kids and sickness and attitude.  It's been . . . interesting.

And it would have been completely overwhelming if it hadn't been for this amazing cat.

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