Cats and cares

I’ve been volunteering at a cat shelter in Lockport since June 2018 and have wanted to have a furry friend of my own for years.. I was finally provided with the opportunity to adopt one thanks to my awesome landlord, who kindly let me bring one home just after the start of 2019. This was one New Years change that I could get behind… it’s the judgment filled resolutions on the other-hand that I’m not a fan of.

Oh January- aka the season of drastic weight-loss goals and kale smoothies… At 24 I’m in the last year of my “early twenties” and almost constantly thinking about what I am working towards/what I have to show for 2 and almost a half decades on Earth, January just seems to put a spotlight on what I haven’t amounted to. This unhealthy perception of myself, disguises itself as initially motivating and inspiring, but is ultimately harmful. I know that I have tons to be grateful for and quite a few things to be proud of, yet there is a voice in my head that tells me that I am not enough when I compare myself to the standards that I want to meet. When I read other people’s instagram captions or tweets exposing just a little bit of this self-ridicule I feel sad, but understood. One of my good friends always says that I need to stop being afraid of learning. You couldn’t walk before you could crawl… So why don’t we talk about loving ourselves while we put in the work and being proud of ourselves more and our limiting beliefs about ourselves less?

To bring this back to my new cat Bruce… he thinks I’m pretty cool almost all the time. Bruce doesn’t care that I haven’t posted on my blog for nearly 2 months. He doesn’t realize that January is known as the time of year to set unattainable intentions and wallow in self pity for allowing another year to go by without winning a Nobel Peace Prize/losing 50 pounds/moving to an island in the Caribbean. As long as he is taken care of and I give Bruce attention and Purina Cat Chow he is happy with me. This love without limitations and lack of judgment may seem like a lot of credit to give a fluffy feline, but really it just goes to show that sometimes even animals can be nicer to us than we are to ourselves.

My resolution for 2019, although delayed and something I was unaware of setting initially, is to love myself more. I am more aware than ever that I need to mute the voice that tells me that losing 10 more pounds will change everything. I fully acknowledge that going into this year I need to turn to God and ask him to help me through life’s struggles. I am going to strive to trust Him and myself enough to just let things happen, because I will love myself more. I cannot control it all or do it all and I need to just be proud of me for doing the best that I can.

I don’t completely credit social media or society as the reasons for this twisted viewpoint that I, and many others, have started to have about ourselves. I know the negative messages and constant reel of images telling me I will never be good enough contributes to my own self-judgment, but if I say it’s all them and not on me then I can’t change it. In order to really change this going forward I am going to make intentional decisions about what I expose myself to. In the past I have allowed myself to spend hours on Instagram, an alternative reality of sorts, and just compare and reprimand myself. I have allowed myself to pick apart my clothing size and hair and lack of the latest and greatest… I have chosen not to acknowledge that doing the dishes and keeping my own home clean are still accomplishments, even if they seem small.

It’s somewhat painful to write this post out because I pride myself on having confidence and try to seem like I have it together by posting the perfectly filtered curated photo online.. but I struggle. We all struggle. When my friends use self deprecating statements I like to say back to them “Be nice to (insert their name here). I like him/her.” I hate to hear the way they put themselves down, when they are such great people. Why isn’t the same true for me when I internally “talk” to myself? This needs to change, I refuse to let my orange oversized kitty love me more than I love myself.

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