I looked out my window while I was typing away at my computer and I saw one of our cats, Adele, stuck on the roof extension on the driveway and he couldn’t get down. He saw me and began to meow, rather pathetically but in a very cute way, and I just started to smile and I got out from my seat and came down to help him.
It took us about twenty minutes and the household help to get him down because he wouldn’t jump to my arms, not like I should have expected him to. He’s a cat. And when our helper, John, climbed up a tree and walked towards him on the roof extension, Adele fought him because he didn’t want to be carried down. It was a funny process and when he finally reached ground level, Adele was by my feet, licking himself and looking quite embarrassed.
So I petted him and stroked him and accidentally made Meryl, the other cat, jealous and she came up and tried to take the attention away from Adele. When I went back into the house, the moment the door opened, both cats darted inside like a lightning bolt.
They followed me up to my room where I let them explore on their own. Meryl made a mess of my book case which she decided was a fun place for her to adventure in while Adele just sat down and began cleaning himself. I lay down on the floor and just watched them. Eventually, both cats sat near me and as they rubbed against me, they let me stroke them until it was time to go.
These cats have so much personality, it astounds me. I’m so used to the boundless love and affection of dogs. The cat is a much more mysterious creature and who I can sometimes figure out and sometimes not at all. But lying down on the floor and just surrendering to their own time and pace and letting them call the shots was an interesting exercise in a different kind of interaction.
I’ve found myself re-evaluating certain relationships in my life. There are people who make demands on me and some of these people don’t give as much as they take. I have surrendered to our relationship because I have always compromised for the sake of avoiding confrontation but now that I do not feel like surrendering anymore to what has always been, things have become more and more clear about how much is asked of me and how much I am left feeling empty and unfulfilled.
It’s funny. The cats demand my surrender but they make no demands of me. And if they do, like when they want me to pet them or stroke them and I don’t, then they move away and find something else that catches their attention. And our relationship is not damaged in any way by the rejection.
There’s something there that I’ve held on to, something there that has caught my attention, and it’s something that has become clearer and clearer to me over the past few days. Strange to have learned it from two of the feline persuasion.
I have a submissive personality. I have said that before. And in my attempts at being self-reliant and being independent, I have shown myself to be particularly useful in mundane, everyday tasks and some people have taken it upon themselves to take advantage of that even if they are of better means. They are just lazy and I am convenient.
For so long, I have let them dictate the rules of our relationship and because I’m non-confrontational, because I’m the younger one, because I’m scared of my own strength and of what my anger might actually look like if I ever allow myself to let it free, have I not said a word and let it be so.
I don’t even know if I have the strength of character to stop it now if it happens again. It won’t — the conditions are not such that it will happen again — but it will again. It’s very possible.
I discovered, in a sense, why I have always wanted to live in another part of the world and to start fresh. It’s because I want to get away from a few people who feel like they can make demands on me and not do their share in the relationship. They do it in the name of love. But they cannot love what they do not know and I’m old enough to know that they don’t know me. They don’t know me at all. They know what I can do for them.
That’s why I love my friends so much — the people I have chosen for myself — because none of my friends ever make demands of me. Everything I have given them, I gave willingly. And my friends, they give me so much of themselves and they know me. They have taken the time to hear my stories and hear my thoughts. I’m not just an audience for them. I’m their friend and they are mine.
But some people, really, some people with their egos and their small opinion of the world. I have very little affection for them now.
This was just supposed to be a blog post about hanging out with cats and as unpredictable as a cat is, it has shifted into a realisation so frightening. I have so much more to learn from my cats.