I have a problem. It’s not so much a problem as a source of hysterical laughter at the mere mention of the said situation. So I guess, what I really have is a question.
How many cats become too many?
You see, I have three. It was certainly never meant to be this way. I never intended on becoming the crazy cat lady. I’m yet to meet a kindergartner who announces to the class that they are going to be a social recluse with a penchant for yowling pets when they grow up. It’s not something I ever planned.
If you must know the truth, it’s all my brothers fault. There are some things in life which you just never attempt. They are things that even individuals with half a brain stem understand implicitly. You don’t leave a Golden Retriever in the room with a freshly cooked roast chicken (guilty). You don’t leave a Golden retriever alone with your friends Guinea Pig (Again, guilty. Rest in peace Pinni Gig). And most of all, and I mean most of all, you don’t take your Autistic brother to an animal rescue shelter.
It all seemed like a reasonably good idea. I was due for my next surgery, our Mammoth cat had passed on to the meadows in the sky (or the brimstones of hell. This is more likely. I once saw her eat a small child) and I was in need of the company. So I went to adopt a kitten.
A singular kitten being the key point here.
But of course, he started. I could see it coming from the first foot stamp. A meltdown was on it’s way, and the Kim Jon-un would have been helpless to stop it.
‘You. Always. Get. Pets’
‘I. WANT. A. PET’
‘WHY. DONT. I. GET. A. BABY. CAT’
To cut a long story short, we came home with a small litter of kittens and they reside happily in our home to this day. And I survived my Dad’s attempted murder on my life.
Of course, my brother bored of them after 4 days.
And I was stuck with three cats.
Weeks later my first relationship ended. It was first love heartbreak, and surely the end of my world, as it is for most 19 year old girls. No one would ever love me again, I would never love anyone else again, and I was going to die alone with my three cats, until my body was discovered six weeks later, with my cats feasting on my decomposing corpse.
Less than three months later and I was in a relationship again. Some would say that I dived into it. Looking back, a more accurate description would have been running drunk and naked into the night screaming
‘IT’S 2012, NO TIME TO WAIT MOTHERFUCKERS’.
And, like all good nights out on the booze, you awake some time later with a thumping headache, a penis drawn on your face and your mates calling you a dickhead, while having no idea what the hell happened, only that you are now missing a few hundred dollars and you vaguely remember kissing a stranger who you found attractive at the time.
But, as long as I wasn’t alone, I didn’t really mind.
I remember the first night that we spent together.
He flung me on the bed, smiled and announced boldly ‘I love you’.
And as this poor, forsaken young man stared at me like a love sick puppy, all I could manage to blurt out was ‘thanks!’
Those following seconds and minutes were even more awkward than the time my brother planted a banana with a condom on it under my bed, leaving it for my Mum to find. You can imagine the fun I had explaining that one.
But the thank you I blurted out at my Romeo said even more than what I didn’t say. I was with a man who I didn’t love, a man who later would not treat me in the way which I deserved, and yet I was thankful. Not only was I thankful, I was hopelessly grateful. It didn’t matter to me that I felt nothing, that I deserved better, that I deserved to have butterflies in my tummy and clouds in my head. As long as I was being kept company, as long as I was found beautiful, nothing else really mattered. And I just hoped to myself that I would develop feelings for this stranger. Only, I never did. And yet he still broke my heart into a million pieces.
It wasn’t that we broke up. It was the words he said to me as he did it.
‘You were a waste of my time’
And it confirmed everything that I had ever thought about myself.
From the age of thirteen to twenty, if you had asked me to place a value on myself I would have told you that I wasn’t worth the ribbon I was wrapped in. I was loved by my family, impossibly so.
But my hatred didn’t come from the outside. It came from within.
It came from the strangers who would scream freak, spiderwoman, anorexic slut at my long, spindly thirteen year old body. They never even gave me the chance to grow into myself.
It came from the disease which robbed me of more than I had to give. The months and years spent in hospital, wheelchairs, at home and desperately alone.
It came from the society that is obsessed with the beautiful people, the ‘it girl’, the next big thing, and the knowledge that girls in wheelchairs were not included in that.
It came from the men who, as I grew into my features, would leer at me, wolf whistle, grab my fourteen year old bottom in shopping centres, and call me a cock tease if I asked them not to touch me. These men taught me that because I was pretty, I had to accept their advances. They taught me that I was a sexual status and nothing more, and I was to be grateful for every single ‘fuck I would tap that so fucking hard’ that I heard whenever I left the house.
And most of all, it came from me, who let myself believe it all.
After my relationship ended in February, I never made a vow to remain single, like many women do. I believe this is sad, and unnecessary One should not close themselves off from all, just because of some.
I simply vowed to learn to find peace and happiness within myself and my own company. If the right person came along, then so be it. But I vowed that I would no longer rely on a relationship to ensure my happiness.
And it was then that I fell hopelessly, madly in love.
Her name is Jess.
She is 20 years old, and a nursing student. She makes the piano sing, and her eyes change color in the sun.
She is so wonderful that I have to pinch myself, knowing that I share my life with her.
It wasn’t love at first sight. I am yet to learn if such a thing will exist for me.
Rather, she was an enemy, who turned into a stranger, who slowly became a friend.
And then one day, I realized that she was the most important person in my life. When I was younger, a primary school teacher told us that the most important person in our own lives must be ourselves. I thought it selfish, impossible. Now I understand differently.
We live in a society where we encourage self hatred, and admonish self love. All you need to do is read the latest issue of Cleo or Cosmopolitan to see how essential it is to share your life with another, in order to find happiness.
‘Makeup trends that men love”
‘The sex moves to rock his world tonight’
‘How to meet your man’
‘The best date ideas for 2012”
These articles do not focus on finding happiness and peace within our own company. All of it insists that we must rely on another. And for so long I too have relied on being in love, to be in love with life. But this year was different. And from my choices and adventures this year, I learnt more about myself than I ever could with a boyfriend or partner.
I have learnt that I am equally happy spooning in bed with my German Wire Haired pointer, and telling her stories while I am drugged on Oxycontin. I like wearing less makeup. I only ever wore it so that I would appeal to the opposite sex. But now, I wear the makeup which appeals most to me.
I like wearing different colored nailpolishes at the same time. Choosing just one requires too much commitment. And I must always leave one finger unpainted for a pulse oximiter at the hospital. It looks strange and ridiculous. But I love my rainbow fingertips. I am crazy about ABC and SBS documentaries. I recently went to Uni solely so I could hire out the 24 hours in Emergency ABC series. I drink Earl Gray tea and when I am too unwell to even dress myself, I find comfort in knowledge. Not the arms of another.
I am completely and utterly devoted to my University Nursing studies. I awake in the morning and regardless of how desperately ill I am, I am so excited to be alive to study that it outweighs my suffering. I love to dance, terribly and awkwardly, yet I dance all the same. Each week, my University friends go clubbing, meet boys, kiss boys, meet girls, kiss girls. I envy the dancing, the clubbing which I rarely have the health for. But when I do go out, I dance. But I feel no need to kiss drunken strangers. The music is enough for me.
I love my car trips with my puppies. We blast our favorite songs (They are big fans of Mackelmore), I sing as badly as I dance, and they smile to strangers. And it leaves me on a high for the rest of the night.
This isn’t to say that I don’t feel lonely. Sometimes it would be nice to have a hand to hold in the waiting rooms of the hospital, other than my parents. Some days it would be nice to have someone drive me to the beach, take me for icecream and spend lazy Sundays in bed with me and the puppies.
And this does not mean that I wish only to be single, or that I will bite off the head of any penis wielding heartbeat to approach me.
All it means is that, right now, I haven’t met anyone that gives me butterflies.
But I have fallen crazily in love with the person that I have grown and developed to be.
Three cats and all.