Monday, January 23, 2006

A cat in dog's clothing

Does our cat think she's a dog ... or does she simply like to play fetch?

Rosie, our seven-month-old kitty, has a little white mouse toy she will bring to me or my son, drop, and wait for one of us to throw it. She'll fetch it, bring it back, drop it and do this a number of times before she tires. As we play, I say to Travis, "Does Rosie think she's a dog? Or does she just like fetch?"

Travis says, "I think she thinks she's a dog."

And when I call her in a high sort of voice, trilling, "Rosita!" she comes running.

A cat in dog's clothing?

I was telling this story to my friend Elle and we got into, What makes us what we are? Are we who we are because we believe that's who we are? Are we who've we been told we are? Or do we explode stereotypes, move beyond who we think we are, because something else calls?

Rosie doesn't know that cats don't play fetch or come when called. Our other cat doesn't play fetch, doesn't come when called. He might grace us with a glance in his ever so aloof way, but that's about it.

All of us have roles that take hold, that seem to be more important: how we make a living, our obligations to our partners and children and pets. But what about our obligation to ourselves, to keeping the spark of creativity alive? It may mean writing, drawing, baking, playing music, lo que sea. Whatever it is we are drawn to do, whatever it is we think about daily, shouldn't we be doing it?

We've all seen people in which the spark has gone out. Their eyes look dull, lifeless. The spark has been extinguished. They have forgotten about the need to blow on the spark to stir it into a blaze. Or they have decided to worship the money god or the god of beauty, and forgot about their precious creativity that isn't quantitative, isn't showy.

Rosie does remember she's a cat. She remembers to huddle when she eats her meals on the floor under the old porcelain and wood island that reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen, remembers to laze in the sun on her bed in the front window where she also watches the great outdoors. And she remembers to lie on Travis' chest in the morning to urge him up. But she also knows there are other things she enjoys that are beyond cat-dom.


~jolene said...

Barbara, your post today touched me on a deeply personal level. Obligation to SELF. Oh how I have struggled with that for the past few years of parental caregiving. Would I 'change' my decision to care for my Mom the way I did - and the way I care for Pop now? No. But I have learned (the hard way) that I still matter. Reading Pen On Fire was a huge wake-up call for me. I realized even if I made ART for 15 minutes during the day it made a DIFFERENCE in how I felt about myself. I now seize an ART MOMENT whenever I can ...making sure to do it DAILY- even if it ends up being at 2a.m.

I love the way you PAINT pictures with your WORDS Barbara.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how little we need to do for ourselves--but we do need to do even a little, yes, even 15 minutes.