Rainy Day Introspection

Hello, universe. I am back, trying to write again even though it’s been rough again. I just haven’t wanted to do anything. I’m going to see my doctor next month; I suspect I’ll need to ask her to increase the dosage on my antidepressants. They just aren’t working like they’re supposed to anymore. I took a pill and a half the other day and felt like new life got breathed into my brain. I suppose that’s a pretty good indicator that something needs to change.

Introducing: Princess Pumpkin Spook

I am currently fostering an itty bitty kitty that was found in a generator at work. She is probably no older than 6 weeks, and she is cute as a button. Purrs like a train. She looks just like Trinket did at her size, which is really cute to me. I’ve taken to calling her Princess Pumpkin Spook to be festive, but when my coworker who wants her is ready to take her, I’m sure she’ll get whatever name they choose. The most hilarious part is that while Winston and Trinket hissed and growled at her for several days, Thor took to her almost instantly. I kept her in a puppy crate for a few days while she settled, and he constantly tried to get inside to play with her. He would also just lie in front of the crate and watch her.

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Thor cuddling with her

Now that Pumpkin has been at the house for about a week, Thor doesn’t so much cuddle her as he does try to tackle and wrestle her. He’s still a kitten himself (about 6 months old), but he doesn’t realize that there’s a big size difference between him and her. Luckily, this little nugget yells at him a lot if he wrestles too hard.

It also just occurred to me after looking at that picture how much healthier she seems after a week. She was curled up on my chest this morning, and her fur was so sleek and soft, and her face is much cleaner. This is what happens when you feed a kitten good food! She’s been on a diet of wet kitten food and KMR (kitten milk replacement). The person who initially took her in was giving her dry kibble, which made my eye twitch a little. If Pumpkin were still with her mother, she’d be nursing. She likes to snack on the boys’ kibble (probably not the best thing since it is for adult cats), but her main meals are still wet food and KMR. And boy does she monch. What an appetite.

It’s nice to have a tiny kitten around the house again. I like it a lot. This is the first time I’ve fostered a kitten, which is great because it means I get all the fun and cuddles of a little baby without the stress of “Oh, geez, I’m gonna have four resident cats running this place.” I may not be her home forever, but she gets all the love and cuddles of my boys while she’s here. October is especially a bad month for black cats, so I am delighted to give her a safe home amidst the insanity of superstitious people.

Unnecessary Guilt is Unnecessary

Yesterday at work, I was almost falling asleep at my desk and not feeling the greatest. So, I did what any person who works for a reasonable employer would do: I said “Screw this” and took a couple hours of comp time to go home at 2:00 rather than 4:30. I told one coworker I was going to leave but otherwise just slipped out the back door and went home for a nap.

It was incredibly beneficial for me to do that. I napped for about an hour and a half, then got up and went to get my Clicklist order at Kroger. When I got home, groceries in tow, I had enough energy to do my dishes (I know, right?) and actually cook supper rather than just microwaving shredded cheese on top of tortilla chips. I was very pleased with myself and had a nice, relaxing evening watching YouTube videos and burning incense.

When I got to work this morning, the coworker I had told I was leaving early asked me if going home early had been helpful. I said yes, it was, and I felt much better, and then she was all like “Ugh, I’m so jealous, stop.” I offered the awkward laugh of “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say now” and didn’t say anything else.

I know she was being sarcastic and teasing me. I know, I know. But in that moment, I felt guilty about taking some time for myself. It struck me just how bizarre the American working world is. Work ’til you’re tired, then crash and finally take time off, then have your coworkers tell you how jealous they are so you feel guilty about it. Don’t be jealous; take time off too! Don’t burn yourself out for this job. We are clerical workers; literally nothing we do is worth dying for. It’s good work, and it directly impacts/helps the students at our institution, but it’s not worth burnout.

That is something that I appreciate about my direct supervisor. He will work hard, but he’s very in tune with himself and knows when to call it quits. The other day he came in and worked a half a day until his sinuses bothered him so badly that he went home. “Everything I’m working on can be done in my pajamas, in my bed,” he said. I’ve never had a boss who was out of the office as much as he is, and I love it. He sets such a great precedent for self-care. Work hard, do good work, be productive, but take time off too. The other day I couldn’t bear the idea of getting out of my bed, so I texted him that I wasn’t coming in, and all he said was “That’s fine, feel better soon.” I rolled over, pulled the blankets over my head, and slept until noon. It was the best.

So take care of yourself, kids. Don’t let the broken American work environment ruin your life.

Friend Care is Self-Care

I don’t have any scholarly sources for this statement, but I’m pretty sure that helping others is one of the best ways to increase happiness and reduce overall stress. Humans do best when behaving altruistically. I think that’s why I spend so much time trying to make sure my friends are okay. We all suffer from anxiety, depression, or both (yikes), and sometimes I feel like it’s my personal responsibility to help them feel better. Sometimes I think it’s because I spent so many years of my life wasting away in my depression that I know what it’s like to be in despair. (I thank God constantly that it never manifested as cutting or any other self-harm like that.) I know what darkness is like, so I don’t want my friends to endure it alone.

Enter sweater and soup weather, my very favorite time of the year. I am hella fond of the concept of hygge (hue-guh). This is the Danish concept of slowing down and being conscious and present in a moment. It is also often accompanied by warm, comforting things like soft blankets and candles. It is a very cozy, intimate feeling. According to the website I just linked, if you don’t feel it, you’re not doing it right.

For me, autumn and winter are perfect times to experience hygge. The very weather makes it easy to come indoors and draw your loved ones close. Rain and snow and cold wind all force you to slow down, to bundle up, to drink tea and find contentment in stillness. In my opinion, if you don’t take advantage of all the slow coziness of cold weather, you’re a moron. Why would you wish away some of the most delightful months of the year just so you can rush through your life again? Summer is for speed. Autumn and winter are for hygge.

I try to create that sense in my friendships. I want my friends to feel that coziness and comfort in our relationship. No rush, no stress, no pressure. I’m not always good at it, because I often get pushy when they’re down (I take a very “Buck up, soldier!” attitude because that helps me sometimes, but I am not them), but I try. If I’m struggling to create the right emotional atmosphere, I usually just feed them and that fixes it.

So tonight, we will try to have a night of hygge. I’m going to make a big pot of gumbo when I get off work, and then I’ll spread fluffy blankets all over the living room. We’re gonna be okay.

KRISTEN I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS. YOU’RE GONNA BE OKAY. SORRY FOR BEING A DRILL SERGEANT. I LOVE YOU.

Plus, who can be sad when I drop a tiny purring kitten on their lap?!

Per aspera ad astra,

Stephanie

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