Cat Crates - A Wednesday Blog
The other day, I was on the phone with a friend (I have those now). She started laughing, and explained that her cat was sitting in its crate with the door open, like it didn't know it could get out. She said that over the weekend, her fire alarm went off, and she had to take the cats outside in their crates. They hate the crate, but now one of them won't leave it.
I found this absolutely hysterical. I think I was slap happy because I had worked out for the first time in ever, and I was hangry. But still, it's stuck with me all week: sometimes in life, we stay in our cat crates even when the door is open, and even when we don't like the crate to begin with.
<I'm about to go the distance with this crate metaphor...stay with me>
I have many cat crates in my life. One crate is numbing. I numb when I'm anxious. I numb when I'm scared. I numb when I'm sad. I numb when I'm lonely. When I feel something coming that I've decided I can't handle, I get in my cat crate and pour myself a drink, or eat Chinese food, or take a pill. I don't beat myself up quite as much any more, because I've seen we all have crates. And that we're all numb-oholics. Don't cringe...I know you think you're not, but you are. What do you do when you have a really hard day? If you have any answer, that means you feel comfortable numbing bad things. Have you ever just sat with the bad thing? It's #theworst
Last week, I was at a party. There were people at the party. I hate things with people. I sweat and I stutter and I'm too loud. Here is the exact thing I said to myself, "Just have a glass of wine. Well, actually, the first glass will make you more anxious, but if you power through and make it to the third, you'll be great. You love the way you feel with three glasses of wine in you."
What is the emoji with the wide "yikes" mouth that shows all the teeth? Insert that here...
I hate this, but on the bright side, I see that it's a crate, and that there's a whole crate-less world out there. Sometimes I think I'm in my crate with the door closed and can't get out. I'm stuck like this forever, the door is locked, and my owner forgot to let me out. I'm here to tell you that the damn door is open. The good news is that the only thing holding me back from walking out of the crate is me, man. The bad news is that the only thing holding me back from walking out of the crate is me......man.
Sometimes we don't know how to get out of the crate. Maybe someone holds out a treat for us. Or maybe we put out a paw or two and just sniff around for a while, before we stick a head out. Sometimes we jump out of the crate to hide under the bed.
The people that step outside of the crate, and just stand there, terrified, but taking it all in...those are the people that are going to change the world. They may not know where they're going, or what to do, but they've stepped out. Those are the people who are beautiful to me...the reason that painters cut off their ears type of beautiful.
I have an unending admiration for those in the world that see the thing they don't like about themselves and work to change it. It may not be glamorous, or easy, or even successful, but that work is just gorgeous. And I don't mean searching in themselves for flaws and lacking self-confidence, in fact, I think you have to really love yourself in order to make a change. I just love watching people taking a step out of their crate!
Hate that spare tire, and you take up running? Hero.
Don't like the way you treat people when you're overwhelmed, and you reach out to a therapist for some skills? Let's get a summer home.
Getting that masters degree even if people think you're nuts? High five me.
Hate the way you try to fix everyone when they go through hard things, and you finally try to shut up and listen? Kiss me square on the mouth.
Afraid you're parenting the way your parents parented (say that five times fast), and you think there might be another way? Marry me. I might even change my last name for you.
Did you just notice that your numbing is more destructive than you thought, and you put a paw outside the crate and straight into NA? Let's get DeFazio's in the park and be best friends.
Babe, you're worth the work. This habit you're trying to break is nothing to sneeze at. Our brains are built for habits. The brain has zero Fs to give about whether the habit is healthy...that's the exact point. The crate isn't even your fault. However, once you see you're in a crate, and that the door is open, it's time to do the work. And what doesn't work is a quick fix. Just trust me. I've tried it.
There's nothing fun or even funny about this most of the time. The only solace is that we're all in crates. We look really silly sitting there with the doors open, even though the fire alarm stopped days ago. I'll take a step out of mine, if you take a step out of yours. Meet me in the middle and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that even though this is going to be rough, you're not alone.
So. How are you going to get out of your crate today?