A Cat Girl in a Dog World

Sometimes it’s hard being a cat person in a world of dogs.

Oh, the energy and the constant need for attention!  I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed when anything runs up to me, kisses me without permission, or needs me to take it for walks.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been single for almost five years, too.

I grew up with cats and was an only child to a single parent- the perfect recipe for introversion.  I read books, I drew pictures, and I hung outside with the ducks.  Independent and mild mannered, I was a child who felt like an old lady compared to my peers.  Kids my age, puppies, and dogs in general overwhelmed me.  I wasn’t equipped to handle their energy.

As an adult, not much has changed.

This is what “dog people” don’t seem to understand.  I’m not lonely- I am just preserving my energy.

There’s a time and a place for social interaction, and it’s important to know the difference between being alone and being lonely.

I’m proud of my independence- and I’m grateful I am able to sit with self.  Not everyone understands the demeanor or the needs of a cat, and that’s okay- I’m on my own journey.

It’s okay to be alone

“If misery loves company, misery has company enough.” -Henry David Thoreau

I grew up an only child, spending my days reading, writing, and using my own imagination to entertain myself. As I grew up, I quickly began to understand that what seemed so normal to me was quite unordinary.

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One of my favorite pastimes- swinging in my grandparent’s backyard.

I never surrounded myself with groups of people, joined teams or relied on siblings or neighbor friends- I relied on myself. I was happy in my own company, my own solitude. As a shy little girl I was quickly misunderstood, which only got worse as I became a teenager. Kids are mean… especially girls.

Sadly, this doesn’t change as an adult. I spent the better part of this fall taking a break from reality, working on myself and learning new skills, all while being surrounded by dozens of different people and personalities. This was one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences of my life. I was in an environment where feelings were prevalent and people verbally worked through their problems, yet also tried to fix mine. I’ve never been a “touchy-feely” type of person, nor have I been codependent on others- this includes helping and being helped. I take the bull by the horns and try to do things alone.

I finally learned that it’s okay to ask for help- the right help.

Once again, I found myself being misunderstood. After a rollercoaster of a year, I began journaling daily, speaking to therapists and even asked a select few for advice. My month of introspection lead me to question myself, whether I was a good person or if I was doomed to be selfish my entire life. Only child syndrome, anxiety and a touch of OCD didn’t help matters, but upon researching personality types and environmental factors, I gained a piece of mind (and even a little bit of sanity).

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Makes sense.

Apparently INTJs are rare, so it makes sense that so many people have been confused by me my whole life. However, there is relief in knowing you don’t have to explain yourself or make excuses for who you are. I may never be that warm, open person giving out hugs, but I do know I have a good heart. I’m the most comfortable behind a book, the camera lens or a computer, but I do have my affectionate moments.

I’m still misunderstood and have been called every name in the book- but these days I don’t listen to the noise. Those who critique others are simply deflecting and avoiding their own shortcomings- and today I can accept that.

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Instead of trying to surround myself with groups of people and masking my anxiety with alcohol and a seemingly “together” facade, I’m growing comfortable with being brutally honest, putting my thoughts on paper and spending time with the person I am most at home with- me.

Whether I’m by the water, nestled in my room or enjoying a coffee with friends, I choose to live my life in the moment, love who I am and enjoy the simple things, one day at a time.