I noticed an interesting thing last night.
Since then, my perception of the world – has shifted, just a little bit.
I’m not sure I’m ready to go into detail on that, yet, but – the thing I noticed has to do with my cats, and perhaps Anxiety, as a broader concept.
I have two cats, Pico and Sisi. Pico is the older of the two, born in August of last year. As a kitten, he purred all the time. Sometimes even in his sleep!
I wrote about his history some, in the post about Courage. He ended up staying with me in a bad situation, and how he is now, is my responsibility.
He’s not unhappy, and he’s getting better, getting mentally healthier- every day.
But it’s taking a lot of time, care, and patience. He spent a lot of time scared.
This is a story for another day.
The reason I wanted to talk about him- is to discuss some of the differences between him and my kitten friend, Sisi.
Sisi- I believe she was too young when I adopted her. Hadn’t been around humans. She’d clearly been part of a litter- still has a habit of running off with food, so other cats will not get it first- even though I give Pico his own food.
When I brought her here, at first – she was loud. Cried, all the time.
Had a look in her eyes like she didn’t know who she was, if that makes sense at all. Like she had not grown into herself. She needed nurturing. I’ve been putting quite a bit of time and patience into giving her that nurturing – and it has shown. Now, she is happy. Excited, and well-adjusted. She doesn’t even use claws when we play with her! She is curious, and friendly- around people, around dogs.
And last night I realized that Pico largely spends his time figuring out how threatening the things around him are.
He is on alert, always. He hides, he stands guard.
Sisi – Sisi seems to spend her time figuring out what things are, instead of how threatening they are.
I’ve talked before about how I believe abuse (emotional, physical, sexual- abuse is abuse) stems from a place of hurt.
I believe this thing about my cats, might potentially offer some evidence in support of this – maybe.
The kinds of people that I have met (and that I used to be, if I’m being honest with myself!) who are more inclined towards behavior which I would classify as abusive- seem to also be more likely to attack or defend against a thing which is different or strange – as opposed to trying to understand it better. As opposed to investigating it.
People, ideas, traditions, laws, behaviors, foods, experiences – anything can be threatening, if viewed as such.
Anything can also be viewed as an opportunity for growth, for learning about our world, and the people within it.
Many of these people that I have known, have also not considered themselves to have anxiety, at all. To be afraid.
I certainly did not think of myself that way!
But maybe therein lies both a problem, and a potential solution.
I was not sensitive to the trauma underlying the actions of others, until I had begun to gain awareness of my own.
Did not act in a way that was considerate towards the feelings of others, until I had become more aware of my own.
I took that picture in town yesterday. In Redding. It bothered me, that truck and whoever was inside of it- bothered me. Until I thought about that unknown person, in connection with my cats, today. In connection with Pico. Now, it just makes me feel sad.
What kind of bumper stickers would Pico have on his car? What kind of car would he drive? A big truck, perhaps? To feel more secure, in a threatening world?
Perhaps the person who decorated their big truck so – does not care about the feelings of others, because he or she is so hurt, they cannot see through that to recognize the feelings of others. To recognize that we’re all hurting, right now.
Perhaps the driver does not even realize just how much he or she is hurt.
And attacking them for that view, will not help them heal that hatred. It will only reinforce it.