This is a post about my beloved cat. She’s been gone six months today, and my heart is still raw. Anyone who has ever loved a cat knows that indeed, there are no ordinary cats. Minky was no exception to that rule. She was exceptional, special, amazing. Obviously I thought she was gorgeous. And others did too…she inspired songs, namesakes, and fan pages on the internet. (Seriously going back as far as the geocities days…hello dial up!) She was the love of my life… I miss her so much. I’m not sure I believe in ‘familiars’ or anything like that, but if they do exist Minky was mine. The relationship that Minky and I had was special. I guess that’s why I am so ripped up about her death. I didn’t have any warning…I have always known anytime she was sick, and this time there were no signs. Or if there were I missed them. I was too busy with the baby or crying in my beer that we moved. I was going back and forth between horrible Ohio and DC and visiting LA and Colorado and she was alone…maybe she thought I didn’t need her anymore. She could not have been more wrong. I miss her every day. I miss her silly scamper. I miss how she firmly believe the changing table was her bed. I miss how she yelled at me to feed her dinner and when I cooked it? She would sit by the oven and make the cutest noises. I miss her leaping through the air to catch bugs. I miss how she watched over the baby. I miss not ever showering or putting on make up or taking bath alone, she was my constant companion. She was my heart walking around on four little feet. I miss her love of photoshoots. I miss her snuggles and her soft bunny fur. I miss that I was known among my friends as Minky’s mom, and frequently they just called me Minky. Hence all my on line names. I miss that so many of them wanted to be Minky Wranglers when I was rich and famous and just get paid to hang out and take care of her all day while I was on set. I never lacked a kitty sitter, she was always clamored for. I am clinging so desperatly to the good things because the last bit was so dramatic and awful I can’t let it go. How could I have not known? I’ll never forgive myself.I tried so hard to save her but it was no good. Yeah, I’m the girl who gave her cat mouth to mouth and CPR. I failed her. I spoiled her her whole life, but those last 12 hours were about denial. We were moving to DC and so I didn’t feed her the night before as she had gotten sick on the way to Ohio. I yelled at her the night before she died for waking the baby. We were so busy packing that night she wanted to be brushed and I didn’t brush her thinking I would do it when we got to DC. She was so dissapointed I remember the look she gave me so well, it will haunt me forever. I’ve wanted to go back in time so much since we moved but if I had to pick one thing to do over it would be to go back and give her the best last night of her life and hold her as she passed. (If I couldn’t save her, obviously!)
I’m proud to call the infamous Naked Jen my friend, no, not on line…in real life. I’ve stayed at her home. She attended my wedding. Although we did meet on line, and it’s a good thing we did because we very well might not have been friends if we’d met in person first. And that would have been entirely my fault, and my loss. You see, despite the daddy issues which led to some poor choices, and a role or two in some B movies where I may or may not have had a scene where I was kidnapped and chained to a bed in my undies, at heart I really am kind of a prude. It’s true. I can talk a big game and make some wild jokes but at the end of the day I am a big ol lily livered prude.
I’m definitely NOT a naked person. I’m the type of gal who wraps in a towel before she steps out of the shower. Plus, I grew up in Boulder surrounded by Grateful Dead loving, long skirted hippies and I couldn’t wait to get out of there to a land of shaven armpits and Jackie O sunglasses. (BTW Naked has exceptional hygiene. I feel like I need to state that for the record.) Naked Jen actually did traipse about the world following the Dead, she had pink hair! I’m pretty sure at one point in her life she smelled like patchouli. Go ahead Jen, deny it!
So you see…I was completely, wholly, and totally, prejudiced against hippies.
To call Jen that, though is really…not right. It certainly doesn’t encompass all that she is. So here she was, this tiny, loud (oh yes, you can tell she’s loud even on the Internet!), pink dread locked woman. I’ve no idea how we linked up but she challenged every prejudice I had formed, knocked down every barrier I had. She, without even knowing it, became someone I looked up to immensely. She has never greeted anything I’ve brought her with anything other than love, even while she read me the riot act a time or two! I deserved it. Yes, many is the time I’ve been wrong and she has counseled me lovingly even while giving me hell for being such an ass.
Naked Jen isn’t just a friend. She’s never afraid to roll up her sleeves (or take off the whole shirt) and help out. At my wedding the cake was unceremoniously dumped upon the table, the flowers weren’t arranged, the topper sat on the side, undone and alone. Naked took one look at that and decided that would not do at all and lovingly arranged everything, and I do mean everything. She soon had a crew of people futzing with the centerpieces which obviously needed a little more oomph, oh! and the candles on the head table. Between Naked Jen and our amazing friends (and begrudgingly dsd although he is DEAD to me, in that special 8 th grade way that only a boy who hurts your friend can be) when we entered our reception it was simply beyond belief. I think my Jr. Bridesmaid Miranda said it best “you got married at Hogworts!” and it did look a bit like the great dining hall. If Naked had more time I’m fairly certain she could have suspended the candles in thin air, or conjured the night sky.
Naked Jen was born at the wrong time, perhaps. She really is a wise woman, a sage. Can’t sleep? She’s got a tincture for that. Having a panic attack? A tea will show up on your door. Pregnant? Sticky baby tea is for you. Bless her and her organics, she has helped me so many times. It’s a good thing she was born now because she surely would have been hung for witchcraft! She is certainly not a witch, but she really might be a good fairy. A good fairy with a great shoe collection! Jen and I do have many things in common. We are both vegetarians and animal lovers. We both love pink. We both love our pets like people, and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt there is a soul in there. You might not think it given her moniker, but she is actually quite a clothes horse!
So yeah. She takes off her clothes. So what? She’s all about empowerment and love. Body image and accepting yourself. Jen trills her triumphs from the mountaintops and wrenches open her heart to share her grief. She doesn’t know any other way to be and for that I am so grateful. Naked isn’t just naked in body, she is naked in soul. I am truly grateful to her for so many things. Including bringing me closer to God. I shudder to think of the friend and all the love I would have missed out on if I hadn’t gotten over myself. Jen is in a word: spectacular.
That’s why, when she snuck off behind the big Christmas tree with our photographer, Zach and I quickly scampered up after her. We weren’t going to miss getting our picture taken with Jen at our wedding. And honestly? I love the pink dreads. They are my favorite of all her hairstyles. She is a natural pink head. Pinknette? hmmm…
You might have notived I haven’t blogged in a bit. Or not. I’ve been sort of sporadic about it but I’m just going to put it all out there now, raw and untouched and unedited.
Last night we saw Julie & Julia, and you know how when a movie just speaks to you? This movie sort of rocked my world. Both Julie and Julia are struggling, searching and lost and both find there way through cooking. (I won’t be finding my way through cooking as it seems like a lot of work and that’s what take out is for) Wow, listening to the dialogue of how lost and empty they felt I thought, well, that’s exactly how I feel now.
I feel terrible saying how lost I feel lately, how homesick and cat sick (rest in peace sweet Minky) because I do have the most important thing in the entire world and that is my sweet, sweet baby Max. It’s as if voicing these feelings I am denying the good in my life and I don’t want to do that. I’m still terrified that the precious boy napping his crib right now is just a beautiful dream. Perhaps I don’t want to tempt fate for fear that he will be taken away from me. I know, that’s not how it works but I want to state for the record I love my baby, he is funny and fabulous and I love spending time with him. He is my heart. I wish I could describe the utter disconnect between my joy at being his mother and how lost I am about everything else.
Buuuuut, I knew I would be different after I had the baby, and I am. But it’s not the post baby body, or the reevaluation of priorities that has me lost. I know it has a lot to do with moving away from my friends and home. I mean, who am I now?
I’m searching. Not for who I was, even though I really liked her, snotty as that sounds. But for who I am now. I was happy before, in fact I told my mother after the baby was born that I thought I might be in heaven…everything was so lovely. I was happy, optomistic, funny, employed and proud of my carreer now matter how small it was. I am now…none of those things. Well, maybe still funny.
But I’m sad. I can’t seem to get back to the happy optomistic person I was before the move. And I do have a lot to be grateful and thankful for, and I am. But I’ve lost my groove, so to speak. I’m not depressed but I just feel lost.
Ages ago I worked this crazy job at a chiropractic office and for some reason the Wall Street Journal showed up at the office one day and so I read it. They had the results of a luck study. Fascinating. They studied 50 people who thought they were lucky, and 50 who thought they were unlucky. The study was simple. The researchers placed ads throughout a newspaper and asked the participants to count the ads. On the second page was a big ad, with bolded writing that said “If you are in the research study you can stop counting. There are 27 ads in this newspaper”
Overwhelmingly the ‘lucky’ people stopped counting, while the ‘unlucky’ people kept on going, frequently missing some of the ads.
The researchers decided that lucky people had two skills that unlucky people didn’t. They were able to see opportunities when they were presented to them and they trusted them. I decided that day to be lucky and I always have been. Until now. I just can’t seem to get back!
And yes, I know the only person who can change this is me. And I’m going to get right on that. I am. I just need to find my passion (aside from mothering of course), I promise everyone I know that it won’t be cooking. There’s no reason to torture anyone in the pursuit of happiness.