I’m a cat person in a dog person’s world. If you’re not a cat lover, you probably aren’t bothered by the amount of hate that cats get from, well, everywhere. But let me tell you, there are few things that get me fired up faster than someone saying that all cats are mean jerks who couldn’t care less about the humans around them.
(Picture steam coming from my nostrils and ears even as I’m just thinking about this).
Why don’t cat haters realize how reductionist they are when they say these things? Sure, it’s a stereotype that cats can be aloof or aggressive. And there are two reasons for those stereotypes that I will explain later. But what about the stereotype that certain dogs are dangerous? Or the idea that some dogs make you look prissy? Why don’t dogs get as much general hate as cats?
The world is afraid to love cats because cats are less likely to universally love the world back.
If you’re reading this on its publish date, my 26th birthday is tomorrow. My birthday last year was exciting because so many people consider 25 to be the prime of your life. But what about 26? I think the only thing that most of us associate with turning 26 (in the US at least) is that it’s the age when you get kicked off your parents’ insurance.
Truly exciting. So what else can we say about 26? I’m now closer to 30 than to 20. Honestly, I get little waves of nervousness thinking about 30, but then I remember that a lot can change in 4 years. I mean, 4 years ago I was 22. I’m certainly very different than I was in my last semester of college, so I’m sure I’ll be ready for 30 when I get there (fingers crossed).
Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m really starting to settle into my life, but I’ve been reflecting on my identity a lot. I want to make this year about self-care, self-empowerment, and self-formation. I think I’ve gotten the hang of self-care and self-empowerment, but how do I know where to start for self-formation? I think back to when I was a kid.
Most people love the warmth, sunshine, and liveliness that come with summer. Maybe it’s because of my tendency to be contrarian, but I come alive in the colder months. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great beach vacation or day spent kayaking on a lake, but I’d so much rather be sitting by a fire or even enjoying a chilly stroll around the neighborhood.
I know a lot of people are impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in winter, but did you know that it can also affect people in summer too? I don’t know if my aversion to summer is SAD, but I think it’s good for everyone to keep in mind that for every person who agrees with you, there is bound to be someone who feels the opposite. If you’re someone who has trouble when the days get shorter and the temperature drops, maybe hearing what I love about winter will help you through this season.
Lately, I’ve been seeing people online choose a word that they want to represent their experience in 2019. It’s like a new spin on resolutions—what do you want your future year to boil down to in one word? I’ve seen lots of great words like “create,” “inspire,” and “grow” that make the chooser’s goals fairly easy to imagine. They make sense; they’re positive, and goals centered around that idea would naturally lead to good things.
On the other hand, the word I chose for 2019 is “no.” That’s right, I chose the word from which most negativity in our language comes. And I chose it because I think it will bring a great deal of positivity to my life in 2019. I chose it because there are some things I need to learn to say “no” to if I’m ever going to move forward.
Happy New Year everyone!
This month’s goal is related to something that we all do: talk to ourselves. I don’t care if you don’t like to admit it, we all talk to ourselves. And sometimes we don’t say the nicest things. Often, we say things to ourselves that we’d never say about other people. So why is it ok for me to tear myself down when I’d never do that to someone I love?
How you talk to (and about) yourself is a great barometer for how much self-love you’re in need of. I’m not someone who constantly insults myself and has trouble saying anything positive, but I know that the things I say when no one else is around could use some tuning. And I’ll bet that once I really start paying attention to what I’m telling myself that I’ll realize I say worse things than I thought.
Sometimes I’m kind of shocked when I reflect back to high school and remember how many friends I had. While I always had just a couple of really close friends, I had a good 10 or so friends who I spent time with regularly. What? Who was I?
It was great for that time in my life, but that’s not really what would work for me now. Truthfully, I prefer to have very few very close friends than a lot of friends who I’m not quite as close to. And now that we’ve all gone to college, graduated, and settled, my friend group has become just that. Here’s the thing–even though I have a few absolutely fantastic close friends, none of them live in the same state as me. Bummer. We keep in contact regularly, but I don’t think any of them would argue if I were to say that it’s important for all of us to have friends where we are as well.
If there is one thing I love, it’s things with tiny animals on them. Any animal really. Even animals I’m not very fond of–if you put them in cute little clothing or have them ride a bicycle or read a book or something else totally human, I’m in. My adoration for these little critters is made very obvious by our Christmas tree.
My goal for November was to practice gratitude.
Once again, I feel that I’m standing in front of a learning experience I didn’t expect to have. What I learned this November is that you don’t need to make a measurable change in order for you to see the change. I’m someone who is constantly striving for self-improvement, always looking for goals to set myself, and often belittling my own accomplishments.
This November, I’d say that I achieved my goal. I made gratitude a part of my everyday life. But I still feel like I didn’t make an “improvement.” Why? Because I didn’t learn some new skill or some other demonstrable factor. I’m having one of those moments where I wish I could step outside of myself and say, “Christine–you realize that because of your goal, your entire mood changed last month, right?” Yes. I realize that. And I’m, well, grateful for that. But I feel as though I didn’t accomplish much.
The holidays are wonderful in so many ways, but for every wonderful thing, the holidays also present an opportunity for stress. There’s the pressure of giving time and presents to loved ones, additional activities in your busy schedule, and perhaps some financial strain.
For me, the Christmas season has always brought on a double-edged sword of holiday cheer—I want to make the most of the season and do as many fun things as possible, but that can sometimes end up becoming a bit overwhelming. Then, if I slow down too much, I feel regret on December 26th. It’s hard to not give too much of yourself to others and the season without also missing some opportunities for joy. But you also don’t want to run yourself down and ignore your own needs.
In order to find balance, I’ve written this guide for ways you can prioritize self-care during the holidays.
It’s December 2013, and I’m sitting on the futon in my college apartment. My end-of-semester assignments are looming, and junior year is kicking my butt a little bit. I have a car, a bit of money to spare in my tiny student bank account, and something makes me say to myself, “I want to learn how to crochet.” So I drive to Walmart and buy one skein of Lion Brand Hometown USA and a hook.
So my crochet hobby didn’t exactly start in the most sentimental way. I didn’t learn from a maternal figure on a comfy couch with the smell of cookies baking in the next room. I learned from a YouTube video in an old apartment, all the while feeling guilt for all the schoolwork I wasn’t doing.
But it was this less-than-sentimental beginning that makes me want to share my story. Having this creative hobby changed my life.