Today I’m babysitting a kitten. Not just a kitten, but a baby-infant-little-pipsqueak-of-a-kitten. Apparently some person found her, dropped her off at the local liquor store, and my friend took her home and is now bottle feeding her every two hours.
It’s strange having to care for something so completely vulnerable and unable to take care of itself. It makes me feel incredibly responsible and attentive since I had to slumber in a half awake state for about ten minutes so my cat wouldn’t find it and squash it… or eat it… or play mommy to it (though this option is highly unlikely). I mean, this kitten is pocket-sized. She just topples around, her little limbs just learning how to lift up and move in coordination. This little gal will grow though and eventually she’ll be like my cat, immediately walking over to the litter box to pee instead of urinating on my lap, walking around wherever it desires without needing frequent cuddling, I guess we’re all that way though. I know I’ve been in circumstances where I would be pretty close to “useless” if I didn’t have someone watching my back or wouldn’t be able to get anything done if I didn’t have an extra hand reaching out to grab on to all the falling pieces.
That’s pretty much what my week’s been like. For 14 days straight I had to work at the coffee shop. I’ve forgotten about burnout on a job. I mean, about 5 of those days were prepping and running a giant catering order for Yale’s pre-frosh days. By the end of it I was completely exhausted and I know I would have been even more distressed and pissed off if I didn’t have coworkers to clean up some of the coffee cambros and milk containers once I brought them back after hours of brewing coffee, running the order to its location, and returning everything to the the store.
This week I also got a call from my aunt offering to help out with the wedding. I still need to figure out what I’d like for her to help with, but the fact that she offered, especially since I’ve been a tad overwhelmed with wedding-planning makes my heart radiate with smiles. I think I sometimes forget that people enjoy helping out and that people are often way more compassionate and considerate than I give them credit for. (I blame this on living on the East Coast). Living out west, I feel like I was always gladly offering assistance to my siblings and friends and they were always helping me. It felt more communal.
During my senior year in high school I took several advanced courses and wore myself out with the hours of homework I had to do every night. I spent a lot of nights crying so I could get into a good school. A good chunk of the time my mom had to tell me to slack off. I usually didn’t, but sometimes I took a personal day or two off from school. There was one particular time I remember being so stressed out with all I had to do (this is obviously a common scenario in my life) and I was sitting on the couch and I purposefully feel backwards shrieking “This isn’t life, this is death at an early age” as I pulled a blanket over my head and wept.
For all my dramatics, my mother declares it my Anne of Green Gables moment. I can be a drama queen, not usually, but if you know me really well you’ll see it. I wouldn’t have gotten by if I didn’t have my mom telling me it would be fine and I didn’t need to be so hard on myself. I would have been even more of a wreck if one of my friends, even with her own ridiculously busy schedule, didn’t offer her help at every turn, help that I gratefully accepted.
Sometimes I have trouble accepting help. I admit it. I’ll also admit the following: I take anti-depressants. I’ve had trouble with depression since I was about nine years old and when I was fourteen I was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression. For about a year I was dead to the world. Nothing seemed real, I cried every day, I thought frequently of dying, and I was absolutely lost.
Even thinking about it now makes me a little anxious and a little bummed since such a hefty portion of my adolescence was spent in my own personal hell. I’m glad I went through it though. I’m glad I had time to sort through a good chuck of life’s quandaries. It was during that time that I came to many conclusions regarding my own personal values. For example, that’s when I realized that I believe that each faith has it’s own validity and each is just a different path to the same end. It’s when I realized in the importance of ceaseless compassion. It’s when I came to recognize what Sarah calls Radical Acceptence.
If I didn’t have my family to calm me down in the middle of the night, to let me cry into their lap as they just listened and tried to offer words of advice, to take me to a counselor to get me the help I so desperately needed, I might not even be alive now because of self-negligence or suicide. I was so completely vulnerable at that time and I was very much reliant on others.
We need each other. As human beings we require one another for support, for comfort, for care. Even if we think we’re absolutely independent, at one time in our lives we’ve needed another being to sustain us.
Life certainly comes full circle. I need to keep that in perspective. I need to realize that sometimes I’m in the place to properly care for other beings with my whole soul and at other times, I desperately need others to help care for me… and sometimes that’s okay.