It’s been a busy few months here. There’s been new kittens, art projects, conferences, house warmings, and generally still adjusting to our new neighbourhood. I’ve been feeling overtired and overworked and so I asked Virtute what he does for self-care.
He stared blankly for a minute. So I asked again.
He finally looked my way, “Your body, your feelings, your tiredness, your being overworked seeps and trickles into all of your relationships. It changes others unconsciously and inadvertently. Stepping back, making time to care, sharing food, doing favours, and reducing the things you think you just need to do is healthy not just for you, but everyone around. Stop thinking about yourself and think about your relationships to those around you and you’ll see why it’s important to take care.”
He finished his brief nap in my arms and went back to grooming gumption. I put down my work for the day and made bagels.
Recently we welcomed a new kitten named Gumption into our house. It’s been about a month so I checked in with Virtute to see how he’s handled the transition. He responded, “When Gumption first arrived I really felt as though my world got immensely smaller. It’s such an intimate process to share space and it wasn’t until I could build trust with Gumption and know that my systems and routines would be respected that I started to feel at ease. I thought a lot about myself those first few weeks and to be honest I was pretty sullen. But then I realized just how new and frightening and excited she must be to be here and that maybe we needed to start some routines we could share.”
What do you like sharing the most with her? I asked. “Well, my throw toy and Jenny’s love and affection are still pretty off-limits – but I guess we can both sleep in my cat condo, I mean, er, uh…our cat condo.”
Today during my morning small talk session with Virtute, the cat, he expressed his sincere anxiety about not having all his Christmas shopping done. I told him not to worry, that as long as we were together as a family that’s all that counts. And that I’ve heard some people get started on their shopping all the way back in April. He said I wasn’t being helpful.