Since I started writing less, I’ve realized that previously, I’d been seeing almost everything through a certain lens. That lens forced me to experience almost every situation as though it was a potential story to write. While I don’t necessarily think this is a terrible way to experience things, I’m still not totally sold on it being particularly beneficial to me, either, at least not in every aspect of my life.
On one hand, I like being able to see the world through that lens, because it helps me to retain a certain measure of objectivity. It’s a natural lens to have for me and most other introverts, these people who are used to sitting just outside of a situation and observing it and its participants at a bit of a remove. Not only does this help in terms of being able to write about something (meaning in terms of being able to pick out and find value in certain details that a more extroverted, immediately involved person might miss as a constantly moving-but-inconsequential gear in the present), but it also helps me in terms of moderating my behavior and keeping in control of my own experience in the situation. It’s a form of detachment, I think, and a very Buddhist thing to do (and if I’m going to do anything Buddhist, it might as well be detachment instead of, like, not slaughtering giant invading insects in my house).
The thing is, I don’t like being completely wrapped up in a situation, because I can feel myself being picked up and carried off by the current and in those moments, I don’t feel very in charge of my reactions. And when I don’t feel very in charge of my reactions, that’s usually when I say things I don’t mean or imply things I didn’t intend. I would much rather remain a little bit apart and allow myself to be a more reasonable person from the outside.
On the other hand, I do occasionally worry that this preference for being on the outside makes me shitty sometimes, in that I’m limiting myself to the position of an observer and not really engaging myself in whatever’s happening, and as a result I tend to view some situations and the people within them as plot points and characters rather than actual human beings doing actual human activities and having actual human feelings about them. Writing more often made it difficult to remove this lens, and while I’m not saying that I have removed it, per se, I have decided not to immediately translate what I’m seeing through it and perhaps this is a more respectful thing to do for myself and everyone else.
With that said, here’s what’s been happening lately…
The Cat passed away last Saturday. Looking back, it’s almost like he waited to be diagnosed with advanced stage lymphoma before exhibiting symptoms of real pain and discomfort. After the steroids the vet prescribed seemed to make him worse and the pain medication made him loopy, I decided to give him the rest I felt he deserved by making an appointment for a house call, which was more dignified and less stressful for both of us than shoving him into a crate and doing the deed at a vet’s office. So, last Saturday, a very nice lady came over to our place and The Cat got to die in my lap with me and Graham, sitting in his favorite chair.
I know that it was the right thing to do. I don’t regret letting him go or even the insane cost of doing it at home on a weekend (which is apparently much more expensive than doing it during the week, in case this is something you’d like to discuss with your vet should the situation arise). I miss him terribly and the house feels lonely without him. I’m trying to feel less awful about not loving Izzy as much as I loved The Cat and remembering always that they were not the same animal, so it makes sense that I can no longer expect to be greeted at the door or told elaborate stories anymore. It’s hard, but I’ve done this before and I know that it will eventually hurt less.
In the meantime, I put Izzy on a diet because he looks less like a cat and more like a cross-eyed walrus covered in hair. And that it just not healthy.
Speaking of healthy, we’re still getting the CSA for another few weeks and I’m fighting the urge to turn everything into a casserole bound by béchamel, cheese, and more béchamel and cheese. It’s tough but I’m managing, even though I sometimes get a little bit stuck and revert to my weekly standbys of veggie-heavy pizzas (usually bulked up with kale, arugula, and spinach) and leafy green salads with roasted chicken, balsamic-glazed squash, and dark bread toasted with coconut oil and flaky salt.
I’m finally seeing further results in this so-far six month process of trying to be less of a fatass – although I still have the kind of midsection that drives nosy bus stop people to ask when my baby is due, my jawline is more defined, my hips are less padded, and my arms are getting thinner. Weirdly, I think Seattle’s shift into autumn is helping. Not getting out and walking around all day during the summer feels like you’re wasting the season (really one of the loveliest in the whole country), so having an off day when you just sit around the house feels like cheating. But during the fall, when it gets a little bit rainy and a whole lot gray, walking around for hours feels like less of a chore and just…right, somehow. Maybe it’s because we first moved here at the beginning of fall, but at this time of year, every day I’m able to look around and be so completely grateful to live in this place and know that this is exactly where I should be. I love other cities for their own reasons, but for me, living in Seattle feels a lot like how other people must feel when they idiotically gush “I CAN’T BELIEVE I FOUND THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!” even though they both grew up in the same neighborhood of the same small city and know all of the same people. It feels like destiny fulfilled, is what I’m saying, even though I do feel a bit more superior to these people because come on, you guys. Get real.
This time of year is also when Seattleites forget the wild, hedonistic days of summer when they occasionally make eye contact and speak to other people. Now, with the lengthening darkness and long hooded jackets, we again cast our eyes downward and draw back into ourselves, and for someone like me, three whole seasons of introversion take the edge off of a constantly humming anxiety that seems to peak in the summer.
Which is not to say that I don’t experience it at all during the autumn. Because I work for a startup staffed by a lot of younger people, work get-togethers can be a little more…intense than I prefer, and this is coming from someone who, when she was a younger person, worked for an alcohol company that routinely spend upwards of $6 million to throw a Christmas party. Weirdly, working for an alcohol company made consumption feel more moderate, somehow, which is why, when I’m surrounded by 25-year-olds who behave like screaming idiots after consuming half a shitty beer at 3:30pm on a Thursday, I get massively uncomfortable and Irish exit the hell out of there.