I think it's fairly common knowledge I have a fairly emotionally codependent and perhaps abusive relationship with my cat. See, my cat, unlike other cats - because he's sooo different, is an active ADD cat that can't still for 2 seconds, unless ofcourse you lay down and throw a blanket over your legs and create a safe kitty hammock with your legs - then he's a cuddle machine. My cat is special in that he's extremely needy but also aloof. Apparently he does not understand that if he doesn't want to be petted every moment of the day he shouldn't have been born with the softest fur on the planet - his fault not mine. My kitty talks incessantly, he needs to be heard, he's loud, he's boisterous, he's an in your face kind of kitty. Like, right now - he's contemplating jumping up and meowing my face, I can feel it, he will then rub his long body under my chin, turn and sit on my computer and probably turn it off! I'll pet him, he'll close his eyes, enjoy for about 2 seconds then get up, jump down and sit at my feet and meow at the top of his lungs. If he doesn't get my attention he will jump on the back of my chair and start tapping me on the shoulder with his paw, if that doesn't work he will use both legs to balance carefully on my shoulders and meow in my ear. If that doesn't work he will then start either a) eating plants - which are slightly toxic to him or b) scratch at the cabinets until I can't take it anymore. What does he want? To be played with and entertained.
My cat is a fairly emotional cat. While he may run off when he's tired of the lovin's he always, always comes back for attention. He's not very zen. He's antsy, anxious, he's socially awkward - try ringing my doorbell - he heads for the hills! I stepped on his very long tail once trying to rescue him from the garage and he was angry with me for a full 6 days. He'd run when I tried to pet him, he didn't talk to me, he slept A LOT because without entertainment I.E. ME he gets bored. I was a little hurt by his actions, after all I hadn't meant to step on his tail, he was trying to run under the barbecue and I needed to save him from eating what was probably days old drippings seasoned with bacteria! SIX full days later, I'm laying in bed with my eyes close and feel the bed move, feel his giant paws at my feet making a spot for himself, he curls up into a surprisingly small ball and there it was FORGIVENESS. I sat up, gave his head and chin a little rubbing, he purred and gave my squinty kitty eyes and the world was right again. Do you see what I mean when I say this relationship is a little weird? Just now he hopped up on Rob for a few seconds, looked at me, meowed and was clearly trying to upset me by cuddling with another...he jumped down and ran right over to me when I didn't budge. Emotional abuse, I tell you! I feel for Rob who loves our cat as much as I do who only gets cuddles when it suits Jengo to make me jealous.
I'm not a crazy cat lady! Well, not entirely. There are so many things about this that speak to me about pole and have created a rather pole zen inside of me. In my last blog, I talked about seeing ME. Finding out who I am is the first step in finding out who OTHERS are. My cat hasn't quite figured out who I am yet, however because I know, I can see him for every wonderful and annoying thing he is.
It's so easy to see human nature in our animals because everything is so basic, I'm sure some feel the same about their young children but since I only have a cat it's my only point of reference. Recently I was spending some time with some friends, I left that situation feeling angry and slighted. I felt shown up, hurt, I felt like I wasn't good enough because each thing I did it seemed someone else could do it better, harder, bendier, faster, etc. I was made to feel less than. I was steaming by the time I left, not to mention I was only there as a favor to a very good friend. I called my closest confidants, cried and vented about how some people have a lack of ability to display kindness, empathy or be a real friend. Then I realized something...the friend who was making me feel bad, feels bad. What if like my cat she is just really ADD and needs attention. What is she feeling? Was she intentionally trying to hurt my feelings? No. I don't believe she was nor would. Would she be equally as hurt as I was when I recount to her what happened? Probably. Deep inside is there a heart that is actually good and giving? Yes. Does my cat jump around, meow and do all he can for attention? Yes. Do I love him still? Yes. Does it annoy me sometimes? Yes. Do I walk away from encounters feeling like a human cat toy (in both situations)? YES! Am I strong enough to understand that sometimes you DO have to take a backseat to others who need accolades and love more than I do? YES.
Then comes the 6 day fight I had with my cat about stepping on his tail. I have over the last year had some tumultuous disagreements with others for one reason or another. Luckily, over the months many of the issues has been solved because I learned to listen and even greater understanding of empathy. There was one thing though, one thing a few years ago where I felt a friend had stepped on my tail - nearly literally. I was angry. So angry we didn't speak for over two years. I dreamed about this friend, I missed her. I felt fraudulent acting as an ambassador for Peace & Pole when I had not made up with someone. THEN, I got to spend time with someone who I watched anger eat them up inside. I saw someone so consumed with hatred that I could actually FEEL the hair on my arms stand up. It felt awful. I think that was the moment I realized it was time to ask for forgiveness from the one who "stepped on my tail, in my eyes." I needed to seek out forgiveness because even though I may have felt betrayed at one point, 2 years of not talking to her, not including her, being angry with her over something so small was eating ME up inside. So, like Jengo I offered a cuddle (well, alcohol) and we talked and we're working on rebuilding the friendship we once both cherished.
As I walk through pole lately, I'm left remembering that we all come from someplace, in order to be seen, I need to see OTHERS, their place and their journey. I am reminded that this is a largely female based community and industry and we are emotional! We have feelings. They are called FEELings because they FEEL, they aren't RATIONALINGS because sometimes it's not about what's rational or facts. While facts and truth reign supreme, feelings must also be honored whether they are right or wrong.
One more thought before I go to torture my cat with pettings. When everything is quiet and I've got that blanket thrown over my legs, Jengo carefully makes his way to his kitty hammock, lies down, can close his eyes, spend time with me in an unselfish way and be ok. As I write this I am beginning to realize why that safety is so important and must be protected. I can just BE in an unselfish way with those I love who have aided me creating my safe place. I hope that all dancers have a safe place with safe friends that they can love unselfishly and where they can just be SAFE. Whether it's your pole room, studio, a friends house, a forum - I am hoping all of you have a safe place to go with safe people who love you. It's really hard to expose your heart without love. May the love you give be also the love you receive.
On that note - I'm going to play with my cat and even if he bites me, I'm going to forgive him because I know where he's coming from.