Last evening, I lost my cat.
She escaped via a torn screen and I searched for her for hours last night, and could not find her. I finally found her this morning, hiding in a small shed. She hissed and purred and purred and hissed at me, as if she were so happy to see me, and yet pissed that I hadn’t come for her before.
For most, a cat escaping isn’t all that unusual, or that big of a deal, since they will usually come home quick enough.
But for me, this was rather devastating. You see, I have few people in my life nowadays. Estranged from my parents and siblings, divorced, my son lives 1/2 time with his father, my friends (though I have fantastic friends), are spread out over the US (and the world, for that matter). My boyfriend lives far away (as in on another continent!!). So, for the most part, it’s me and the cat. And to lose her just shredded all my resolve into nothingness.
That, however, is not what this post is about.
What it is about, however, is my coming to a realization that I really do need people in my life to care about me, and care for me.
I’ve always been an incredibly independent person, able to think for myself, do things for myself, without help from other people. It’s just my nature, and the way I was raised. I never do well with people doing things for me, or helping me without wondering what they want from me. I just figure, if I can’t do it myself, I shouldn’t be doing it..whatever that might be.
Here is the thing: I don’t really know how to let somebody else take care of me. I always feel like a weak person if I need help. As if I am being incredibly needy and demanding. I dislike people who are like that, and I think because of that feeling, I tend to be 100% the opposite of needy (or, at least, I think I am). To the point where it becomes problematic in my life. It has caused frustration and irritation for the people who care about me. But that, as I said, is my nature.
The two people in my life, though, don’t handle my independence as I would like. My son gets pissed at me, and my boyfriend just gets pushy. Neither of them really take ‘No’ for an answer, and using the phrase “No, I don’t need <insert overly helpful “whatever” here>” is just the beginning of ultra nag nag nag from them both. For the most part, I do let them help or do things for me now, more than I did before, but it is never easy for me.
But last night, I realized that I really do not need to be, nor have to be this way. And allowing somebody else to help me can be a major weight off my shoulders.
I was in and out of my apartment last night 30 times — sure that Clio (the cat), must be inside hiding..asleep in a box, or basket, or under a bed. I walked the property outside 12 dozen times, and called her name 100’s of times. I jiggled her favorite noisy toy, and every movement I heard, I was sure was her. And I still didn’t find her. By the time I finally came inside, I was hysterical. Her presence in my life is one of two constants, and to be without her, knowing that I am the one responsible for her well-being, was devastating to me. I just sobbed until I had made myself ill.
The other constant in my life is my boyfriend. We had been using Skype earlier in the evening, and when he went away, I had not disconnected the call. We tend not to disconnect unless one will be gone for a long period of time. It’s just the usual way with us. Apparently, he heard me in my hysteria, and called my cell phone while I was back outside jingling the noisy toy yet again.
Here is where my realization came from. He did what I don’t really allow. He took care of me.
And dammit, I liked it. Not that I didn’t try and fight it, because ..well, just because. But for once, it was without any real fight in me. I just followed direction and listened…
“Come back inside now, hon, there isn’t anything else to do now.
Have some water – calm down.
Take a warm shower.
Have some tea after you have a shot of liquor.
Lay in bed and warm up.
Don’t worry – Clio will be back.
Don’t worry – I’m right here.
It’s not your fault.
I know how you feel about her, but really, she will be back.
I doubt she got ran over – you live in the woods.
No, nothing will eat her, she is way up high in a tree right now, nice and safe.
It’ll be okay, darling, really it will.”
Maybe to you, and to everyone else, these words aren’t that unusual. Maybe to people who are used to being consoled, this is normal. Maybe to people who have always known love, this is not that strange. But to me, this was like a deep breath of air after being underwater. Utter relief. Just what was needed for me. Somebody to say “It’ll be okay, really”. Sometimes, just those words mean more than any others.
Looking back, I honestly don’t think I have allowed anyone except him this kind of behavior with me in my lifetime. I don’t let people get this close. I don’t let anyone in. I keep people, most of them, at arms length, shielding myself. And yes, I know exactly what that has cost me over the years, and though I don’t regret the choices I have made, I do regret pushing people away. He and I have been together for about 3 years now, and the longer we are together, the more I come to understand that my way of looking at things can be terribly skewed. And every once in a while, something happens where I find myself just in awe of what relationships really are supposed to be like.
This whole thing has been pretty eye opening for me, if not exactly life-changing. More than anything, I want this feeling to last, because now I get it. I like sharing my life with someone. I like the feeling of knowing that going to him means comfort, and warmth, and love, and tenderness. And that even when it’s just the cat being a cat, and hiding herself away, that it is okay to turn to him. Because that is what you do with somebody that you love so much — you turn to them, and when you do, they say those incredibly magic words:
It’ll be okay.
Thank you, love – you were right — it really was okay.