naamah_darling: Sepia picture of Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale with the words "I Miss You." (Heath Miss You)
Tazendra. The Mocus. Stinker. Pantaloons. Circus Ape. Gorilla Lips. The Creature Known As "the Mocator."

I lost her two years ago last night, and it's still like hitting that missing stair on the way down every single time.

Long before she died, I made the decision to have her bones professionally cleaned and prepared, and I made the arrangements with Skulls Unlimited some time in advance. They did a good job.

It wasn't a decision I came to lightly. I'm not a stranger to pet loss. I've had something like 25 cats in my life, and all but four of those are gone now. The one unifying thread of regret is that I have nothing of any of them but pictures. I didn't want that to be the case with her.

Now I have her bones in a box near where I sleep, where I can reach her, and that's comforting.

I've meant to get some good photographs of her for a while now, and yesterday seemed a good time. I think the results came out well, and I'm willing to let them stand for the time being as final portraits. I'm aware some people find it disturbing, which I do understand, so the squeamish among you may want to turn aside. No hard feelings.

In the meantime, a picture of her with her fur on:

Tazendra Sepia 01

Cut for kitty bones. )

But, really, this is how I remember her best:

Dey Had Teef Like Dif

I have never stopped laughing like a dumbass over that picture, and a 9x12 copy of it sits next to her box. She was beautiful, in her cockeyed goblin way, but she was also a ridiculous moldy pajama bag of a cat with a heart brim-full of loathing for all living beings save myself. She was consistently one of the best and most hilarious things in my life.

I've had a couple of people ask, over the past two years, but yes, those of you who see me IRL are welcome to visit her wee little bones anytime. I don't mind at all.

Anyway, questions welcome, if you have them. It's not a subject I'm touchy about at all, so it won't bother me.

Thank you, by the way. You guys have been lovely about it since she went, and I appreciate all the sympathy more than I can say.

I can honestly say, all of the other cats I've had were, in comparison to her, "just cats." She was something else entirely.
naamah_darling: Cartoony picture of a black panther with curved horns and a red ball in his mouth. He wants to play. (Jandar Sad)
The going off the Seroquel is going well, by which I mean it's fine at the reduced dosage so long as I don't forget a pill.

If I do, it's a lot like the benzodiazepine withdrawal effects I went through when I tapered off the regular clonazepam/temazepam, which I suppose isn't that surprising considering that quetiapine -- Seroquel -- is related to the benzos, and while most folks supposedly don't have withdrawal symptoms from Seroquel, the ones who do may feel it in much the same way. It's less severe by far, and totally tolerable, but it's intermittently unpleasant, and it sometimes makes doing things not very enjoyable. And my mental energy has been quick to exhaust itself.

Other than that, I've been more alert and animated and able to think much more clearly. I've just been getting to sleep very late, and it's been harder, which is what the Seroquel helped me with.

And this week was the one-year anniversary of Tazendra's stroke. I've tried to not remember it, because it's easier, healthier, for me to weather grief that way, to just lose track of time and let days be days and not reminders of anything. It usually works well for me, but I can't forget the Ides of March, you know? So I'm trying to ignore the hurt as best I can and contemplating posting the silly song parody I started writing for her before she died. I spend every day mourning her loss, and it's still too near for me to spend a day celebrating her life. It's a nice sentiment, but that's for another time.

I really just . . . I just want to look in her cockeyed little goblin face and say "I missed you."

On the bright side, I wrote about 2,000 new words last night on Vengeance and Valor, and got some plotting done tonight, which is more than I've been able to do in the past year altogether, I think. It's a looong way from being done, still, but I'm hoping that being off the Seroquel will help, will be enough to get me writing regularly again. I really love this story, and don't want it to die just because I'm bipolar and the meds I need to take sometimes keep me from getting my shit together.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I was rinsing my big paintbrush in the bathroom sink when Smooch came in and tail-tagged me, the kitty equivalent of a human shoulder-hug. He squeaked at me insistently so I put the brush down and picked him up. He was all about the love, and let me hold him scritch his armpits and backside long enough that I decided I really needed to get back to my painting before my palette dried out.

I put him on the back of the couch, petted him a little more, and started to walk away. Before I could take a single step back, he turned and leaped back up into my arms, tacklehugging me.

I sat down in Sargon's chair and snuggled him, and because that's the kind of thing that Tazendra used to do, I was tearing up something fierce. Not sniffling, but, you know, leaky. He turned and, with an expression of grave concern on his ludicrous, flat face, grabbed my glasses in his gimpy little mouth and started pulling them off (he does this sometimes; I think he believes they are evil face-eating bugs). I took them off and he kissed my cheek with his pushed-in little nose.

And we sat there and I scritched him and he cracked his crooked jaws open in pleasure, his snaggle tooth sticking up and his one eye squeezed closed, purring his horrible cat breath into my face. And once again, at last, I was staring into the gremlin face of love.

Dignified Creature

All those people who say cats aren't as good as dogs, that cats will never love a human like a dog will, that cats have no loyalty and are only greedy little monsters who will eat you before you're cold . . . all those people?

Man, fuck them.

Friends.

Jul. 11th, 2011 09:45 am
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
We're going to pick up both kitties this afternoon at 4:30.

I am absolutely terrified this will not work out, but still so happy.

I was raised around cats. My family had two cats, Sam and Sergeant, who slept in my crib with me like big tabby-striped pillows, and we never had fewer than three cats while I lived at home. Our average was four or five, our max was eight. They were all altered, they all had their shots and were well-cared-for, clean, healthy, vetted, and spoiled. They were indoor/outdoor cats, so they had room to get away from each other, and they generally got along okay. The more cats in a household, the more likely each cat is to have another cat or two they get along with, which takes the pressure off the rest, who don't have to deal with unwanted overtures of affection. I grew up watching cats socialize in a pretty much ideal environment, and I have to say that it was a really wonderful thing to observe. I've always missed that, and that's what I am hoping to create with these two silly boys. Some friendships, a working kitty social group.

Tazendra hated Sif from the moment we brought Sif home, and neither of them liked Fish at all, they were the worst possible mix of personalities, each so different from the others that they annoyed one another too much to ever become friends. I've lived for sixteen years in a household where the cats were tolerant at best, but never affectionate. I'm hoping that it will go better this time. At least these new cats know each other already, so they'll have at least one friend.

The other thing about how I grew up is that our indoor/outdoor cats suffered casualties. I lost a lot of cats to cars, one to antifreeze, a couple went out and never came home. I grew up with pet loss. We had about twenty cats in eighteen years, and we eventually lost them all. Only a couple lived long enough to die of natural causes, and they were the really, really smart ones. So I was raised losing friends. But I never loved the next one less, I never got the knack of holding myself apart so that I wouldn't get hurt. I never kept them at a distance. I never could say no to another.

So I'm used to taking the shot to the gut and getting up again, I'm used to moving on to meet the next cat, used to separating my grief from how I feel about other cats, new cats. It's not a knack everyone has, which is unfortunate, since it helps the pain immensely, but I can't say I recommend learning it the way I did, which was dreadful (and is why I will never again have cats that go outdoors). I'm glad I have it. It makes it easier to go on and make new friends. It's just what I do. I lose one, I grieve, I find another, because it is, on some level, my self-appointed job to take in cats that need me and care for them, and having an empty space feels very much like selfishness, like refusing to help a friend that needs help (even if I haven't met that friend yet). There is no replacing the pets I've lost, of course, there is only meeting the next one and finding out how delightful they are in their own way. I've never known any two cats that were particularly alike.

I hope, in the wake of what I lost with Tazendra, who was a terrible cat and the very best of companions, all this experience will serve me well, and make me as able to adapt to new little friends as I've always been. I hope I didn't lose something too great to overcome so soon. I'm confident, but I don't really know. Not for sure. I've never lost any friend so dear to me. I want her back. I don't expect that new cats will ever change that. Someday I will want them back, too, and I'll want Tazendra back just as badly, still, when that day comes, the same way I still want Flame back, and Thor, and Wuss, and Twindle, and Weed, and all the others.

But I keep doing this, even though I know this road just goes in one big circle of making friends and losing them. I keep volunteering for this.

Sucker.

Friends.

Jul. 11th, 2011 09:45 am
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
We're going to pick up both kitties this afternoon at 4:30.

I am absolutely terrified this will not work out, but still so happy.

I was raised around cats. My family had two cats, Sam and Sergeant, who slept in my crib with me like big tabby-striped pillows, and we never had fewer than three cats while I lived at home. Our average was four or five, our max was eight. They were all altered, they all had their shots and were well-cared-for, clean, healthy, vetted, and spoiled. They were indoor/outdoor cats, so they had room to get away from each other, and they generally got along okay. The more cats in a household, the more likely each cat is to have another cat or two they get along with, which takes the pressure off the rest, who don't have to deal with unwanted overtures of affection. I grew up watching cats socialize in a pretty much ideal environment, and I have to say that it was a really wonderful thing to observe. I've always missed that, and that's what I am hoping to create with these two silly boys. Some friendships, a working kitty social group.

Tazendra hated Sif from the moment we brought Sif home, and neither of them liked Fish at all, they were the worst possible mix of personalities, each so different from the others that they annoyed one another too much to ever become friends. I've lived for sixteen years in a household where the cats were tolerant at best, but never affectionate. I'm hoping that it will go better this time. At least these new cats know each other already, so they'll have at least one friend.

The other thing about how I grew up is that our indoor/outdoor cats suffered casualties. I lost a lot of cats to cars, one to antifreeze, a couple went out and never came home. I grew up with pet loss. We had about twenty cats in eighteen years, and we eventually lost them all. Only a couple lived long enough to die of natural causes, and they were the really, really smart ones. So I was raised losing friends. But I never loved the next one less, I never got the knack of holding myself apart so that I wouldn't get hurt. I never kept them at a distance. I never could say no to another.

So I'm used to taking the shot to the gut and getting up again, I'm used to moving on to meet the next cat, used to separating my grief from how I feel about other cats, new cats. It's not a knack everyone has, which is unfortunate, since it helps the pain immensely, but I can't say I recommend learning it the way I did, which was dreadful (and is why I will never again have cats that go outdoors). I'm glad I have it. It makes it easier to go on and make new friends. It's just what I do. I lose one, I grieve, I find another, because it is, on some level, my self-appointed job to take in cats that need me and care for them, and having an empty space feels very much like selfishness, like refusing to help a friend that needs help (even if I haven't met that friend yet). There is no replacing the pets I've lost, of course, there is only meeting the next one and finding out how delightful they are in their own way. I've never known any two cats that were particularly alike.

I hope, in the wake of what I lost with Tazendra, who was a terrible cat and the very best of companions, all this experience will serve me well, and make me as able to adapt to new little friends as I've always been. I hope I didn't lose something too great to overcome so soon. I'm confident, but I don't really know. Not for sure. I've never lost any friend so dear to me. I want her back. I don't expect that new cats will ever change that. Someday I will want them back, too, and I'll want Tazendra back just as badly, still, when that day comes, the same way I still want Flame back, and Thor, and Wuss, and Twindle, and Weed, and all the others.

But I keep doing this, even though I know this road just goes in one big circle of making friends and losing them. I keep volunteering for this.

Sucker.
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
La Mocus Complete 1

La Mocus Complete 2

La Mocus Complete 3

I don't even know how many hours this took. A long time.

I couldn't at first explain my desire to do this as a paper mosaic -- a kind of art I have never done before. I figured it was partly the appeal of doing something new, partly the desire to set it apart from the original Steinlen piece even as it paid homage, and partly because this picture, done in plain paint on canvas, would have taken a couple of days, tops, and I wanted to spend more time at it. And certainly those were all factors. The choice was symbolic, though, and about halfway through I realized that I was literally using it to put myself back together, all the million million pieces of my broken heart.

It gave me something to work toward as I waited for her to come back from the cleaner's, a really hellish wait, gave me room to think and feel without the feeling of "I should be doing something else, I should be concentrating on something else." It helped me cope. It is, in that regard, a complete success.

Anyway.

I'm missing an "e" on the end of "noire." I forgot about it when I was transferring the line art to the board, used the wrong text. It wasn't until my last post -- within spitting distance of being done -- that I realized what I'd done, when it was pointed out to me (no, I'm not upset about that). I tried to fix it but there's no getting those tiles up without ruining the piece, and I am sure as hell not doing this over again right now, so it will remain imperfect, just like her and just like me, and that is something I can live with. Maybe someday I'll re-do it, but not now.

Other than that, it looks fantastic. These pictures look good, and this is as close as I could get to the actual colors, but in real life it looks better. I liked the idea of detailing her "halo" with gold leaf, but the slightly shimmery paper behind her head looked too good for me to want to do anything else to it. The picture looks much better with that bright area there. Adding anything further would have darkened it and detracted from the impact of the central figure.

The same reflective paper is behind her eyes, and I used a pale shimmery green for the area around her pupils. It looks a lot like her.

I am pleased with it, and look forward to being able to hang it in the bedroom where I can look at it often. It's cheerful and pretty and funny, and I simply cannot feel sad looking at it. I'd say it's served its purpose.

Thank you everyone for all the really wonderful and kind remarks you've given me as I've posted progress shots. It occurred to me tonight that I don't usually do that, post pictures of works in progress. I am glad you seemed to find it interesting. I hope it looks as awesome as you anticipated.
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
La Mocus Complete 1

La Mocus Complete 2

La Mocus Complete 3

I don't even know how many hours this took. A long time.

I couldn't at first explain my desire to do this as a paper mosaic -- a kind of art I have never done before. I figured it was partly the appeal of doing something new, partly the desire to set it apart from the original Steinlen piece even as it paid homage, and partly because this picture, done in plain paint on canvas, would have taken a couple of days, tops, and I wanted to spend more time at it. And certainly those were all factors. The choice was symbolic, though, and about halfway through I realized that I was literally using it to put myself back together, all the million million pieces of my broken heart.

It gave me something to work toward as I waited for her to come back from the cleaner's, a really hellish wait, gave me room to think and feel without the feeling of "I should be doing something else, I should be concentrating on something else." It helped me cope. It is, in that regard, a complete success.

Anyway.

I'm missing an "e" on the end of "noire." I forgot about it when I was transferring the line art to the board, used the wrong text. It wasn't until my last post -- within spitting distance of being done -- that I realized what I'd done, when it was pointed out to me (no, I'm not upset about that). I tried to fix it but there's no getting those tiles up without ruining the piece, and I am sure as hell not doing this over again right now, so it will remain imperfect, just like her and just like me, and that is something I can live with. Maybe someday I'll re-do it, but not now.

Other than that, it looks fantastic. These pictures look good, and this is as close as I could get to the actual colors, but in real life it looks better. I liked the idea of detailing her "halo" with gold leaf, but the slightly shimmery paper behind her head looked too good for me to want to do anything else to it. The picture looks much better with that bright area there. Adding anything further would have darkened it and detracted from the impact of the central figure.

The same reflective paper is behind her eyes, and I used a pale shimmery green for the area around her pupils. It looks a lot like her.

I am pleased with it, and look forward to being able to hang it in the bedroom where I can look at it often. It's cheerful and pretty and funny, and I simply cannot feel sad looking at it. I'd say it's served its purpose.

Thank you everyone for all the really wonderful and kind remarks you've given me as I've posted progress shots. It occurred to me tonight that I don't usually do that, post pictures of works in progress. I am glad you seemed to find it interesting. I hope it looks as awesome as you anticipated.
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
Behold my progress:

La Mocus in progress 3

I'll probably finish the shoulder and chest area tomorrow, and put in the pupils, maybe take another day to go in and fill in all the tiny little spaces I missed. I don't know about detailing the area around her head . . . in the original it has some text and design elements inside it, but that would be tremendously fiddly work, requiring tinier pieces than I am already using. Also, I'm afraid it would darken the halo too much, and I want it to stay a lot brighter than the surrounding areas.

I'm not sure what I should use to protect it. It will need some kind of topcoat, but I'm not real keen on anything really glossy and am definitely not using anything brush-on. I guess I'll make a test card and try out a matte spray sealer to see if it alters the color too much. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to 'em.

I'm really happy with how it's turning out, and am eager to get it finished and up on the wall. I have a photograph of her I want to frame, and between that and this piece and the box that her little bones are in, I'm pretty much going to have to turn a corner of my room into a little shrine. That feels just a little silly, since I've had . . . maybe 25 cats? Some of those cats have been extraordinary cats that I loved with all my heart, and they don't have wee little monuments.

Tazendra was different. We were very close. I don't really feel the need to make a big deal out of it, but I was going to have the Wif Teef Like Dif picture framed anyway, and I have to do something with the rather large box that she's in, and the mosaic was what I used to put myself back together while I was waiting for her to come home to me, so I might as well display all those things in one area. I don't much care if it makes me look creepy or pathetic or clingy. Anyone who would judge has obviously never loved an animal like that, or has never earned an animal's love, and is probably not a worthwhile person. Exceptions may exist, but I have never, ever met one.

Sigh.

There's a difference between "the best cat I've ever had" and "the best cat I'll ever have." She was the best cat I've ever had. I hope that she's not the best I'll ever have, because not having a friend like that ever again is a sad, sad thought!
naamah_darling: A sweet-looking long-haired black cat. She is very soft. (Tazendra)
Behold my progress:

La Mocus in progress 3

I'll probably finish the shoulder and chest area tomorrow, and put in the pupils, maybe take another day to go in and fill in all the tiny little spaces I missed. I don't know about detailing the area around her head . . . in the original it has some text and design elements inside it, but that would be tremendously fiddly work, requiring tinier pieces than I am already using. Also, I'm afraid it would darken the halo too much, and I want it to stay a lot brighter than the surrounding areas.

I'm not sure what I should use to protect it. It will need some kind of topcoat, but I'm not real keen on anything really glossy and am definitely not using anything brush-on. I guess I'll make a test card and try out a matte spray sealer to see if it alters the color too much. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to 'em.

I'm really happy with how it's turning out, and am eager to get it finished and up on the wall. I have a photograph of her I want to frame, and between that and this piece and the box that her little bones are in, I'm pretty much going to have to turn a corner of my room into a little shrine. That feels just a little silly, since I've had . . . maybe 25 cats? Some of those cats have been extraordinary cats that I loved with all my heart, and they don't have wee little monuments.

Tazendra was different. We were very close. I don't really feel the need to make a big deal out of it, but I was going to have the Wif Teef Like Dif picture framed anyway, and I have to do something with the rather large box that she's in, and the mosaic was what I used to put myself back together while I was waiting for her to come home to me, so I might as well display all those things in one area. I don't much care if it makes me look creepy or pathetic or clingy. Anyone who would judge has obviously never loved an animal like that, or has never earned an animal's love, and is probably not a worthwhile person. Exceptions may exist, but I have never, ever met one.

Sigh.

There's a difference between "the best cat I've ever had" and "the best cat I'll ever have." She was the best cat I've ever had. I hope that she's not the best I'll ever have, because not having a friend like that ever again is a sad, sad thought!

Progress.

Jun. 16th, 2011 12:57 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Had a really fun but long weekend when [livejournal.com profile] snowcoma was unexpectedly stuck without a place to stay, except that she totally did have a place to stay, which was with us, so it all worked out fine. She is even more wonderful in person than online. It was really cool having her here and getting to know her, and many important things and ridiculous things were said. We aren't used to extended company, though, so we're kind of tired. I have been sleeping sooo much.

We heard from Skulls Unlimited late last week. Tazendra's finished and waiting for pickup. We'll be heading out there tomorrow with my dad and my niece to see the osteological museum, which should be a lot of fun. I kind of want to postpone because I am so tired, but I want her back so freaking bad, ye gods.

I've been working on the paper mosaic, because it's soothing and not particularly demanding, brains-wise. You can see how close I am to being finished.

La Mocus in progress 2

Once I finish cleaning up the outlines, I'll start filling in the black in earnest and then I'll be done. So, another few days.

Right now the burning question is how to store her little remains. The obvious answer is "paint a box and stick 'em in there," which is exactly what I am going to do, but that means I must first find a box that will comfortably accommodate an entire cat skeleton. Granted, she won't be assembled, but I have a near-complete post-cranial cat skeleton right now that barely, barely fits into one of the standard size boxes I have, and that's without the skull and without laying them out prettily. They're all kind of squished down in there.

I have another unpainted box like this HUGE tea chest type thing. I've been storing my beloved Omikuji stories from Cat Valente in it, intending to decorate it for that purpose, but I suppose I can find something else suitable for those without too much difficulty.

But what do I paint on it? Or do I just stain it? I'd go with my gut, but it's not giving me any input at all. Except that it wants food, which I suppose is very Tazendra-like. Still, a box decoupaged with Arby's roast beef wrappers and with lacquered marshmallow Peeps for legs is . . . something less than dignified.

I will make a trip to the flea market on the off chance that they have something suitable there that could be adapted, I think, but that's a really long shot. (If you want to come with, [livejournal.com profile] bat_cheva, that would be swell.)

Right now, it is time for more working with tiny pieces of paper, and no more thinking!

Progress.

Jun. 16th, 2011 12:57 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Had a really fun but long weekend when [livejournal.com profile] snowcoma was unexpectedly stuck without a place to stay, except that she totally did have a place to stay, which was with us, so it all worked out fine. She is even more wonderful in person than online. It was really cool having her here and getting to know her, and many important things and ridiculous things were said. We aren't used to extended company, though, so we're kind of tired. I have been sleeping sooo much.

We heard from Skulls Unlimited late last week. Tazendra's finished and waiting for pickup. We'll be heading out there tomorrow with my dad and my niece to see the osteological museum, which should be a lot of fun. I kind of want to postpone because I am so tired, but I want her back so freaking bad, ye gods.

I've been working on the paper mosaic, because it's soothing and not particularly demanding, brains-wise. You can see how close I am to being finished.

La Mocus in progress 2

Once I finish cleaning up the outlines, I'll start filling in the black in earnest and then I'll be done. So, another few days.

Right now the burning question is how to store her little remains. The obvious answer is "paint a box and stick 'em in there," which is exactly what I am going to do, but that means I must first find a box that will comfortably accommodate an entire cat skeleton. Granted, she won't be assembled, but I have a near-complete post-cranial cat skeleton right now that barely, barely fits into one of the standard size boxes I have, and that's without the skull and without laying them out prettily. They're all kind of squished down in there.

I have another unpainted box like this HUGE tea chest type thing. I've been storing my beloved Omikuji stories from Cat Valente in it, intending to decorate it for that purpose, but I suppose I can find something else suitable for those without too much difficulty.

But what do I paint on it? Or do I just stain it? I'd go with my gut, but it's not giving me any input at all. Except that it wants food, which I suppose is very Tazendra-like. Still, a box decoupaged with Arby's roast beef wrappers and with lacquered marshmallow Peeps for legs is . . . something less than dignified.

I will make a trip to the flea market on the off chance that they have something suitable there that could be adapted, I think, but that's a really long shot. (If you want to come with, [livejournal.com profile] bat_cheva, that would be swell.)

Right now, it is time for more working with tiny pieces of paper, and no more thinking!
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
I seem to be doing a lot of real-life update stuff, and not so much with the insightful stuff. I'm definitely in a holding pattern, life-wise, just keeping shit together as best I can.

Sargon has been helping by keeping me distracted. I've also been relying on my imaginary people really heavily. Or, really, one of them. So, say thank you to The Baron, who has kept me on my meds and made sure I get to sleep eventually. And maybe thanks to Sam, who is keeping me amused in that "I have a new character" sort of way. But mostly the Baron.

The "BĂȘte Noire" Tazendra poster is going well. As you can see I'm doing it as a paper mosaic, with tiny, tiny pieces. Like, at their largest, maybe half the size of my pinky fingernail. It actually goes pretty quickly once I'm sticking stuff down. The slow part is cutting the goddamn paper into tiny pieces.

Here you can see where I stopped tonight, and get a rough idea of where I'm going with it. Also a look at my incredibly messy workspace. (The worst of the mess is out of frame. Sadly, I just missed the beheaded My Little Ponies.)

La Mocus in progress

I think the silhouette looks very much like her, especially about the ears. She had wonderful ears. They weren't hard, stiff ears like cats sometimes get. They were always kitten-soft, and they had a lovely shape.

There will be more pictures. A very early progress shot is here on Flickr. That was from a couple of days ago. At this rate I honestly don't think that it will take me more than another week or two if I keep working on it every day.

It's keeping me busy until I get her back from the cleaners', whereupon I anticipate a day or so of crushing grief followed by extreme relief at having her home again. It won't be the same, obviously, but it will be better than nothing.

The language thing is progressing. I'm aiming for a 2+ to 3 on the ILR Scale which I figure will take about a year, assuming I can stick with it and find sufficient self-study materials. I'm really close to having the absolute minimal level of fluency I would consider necessary for survival. I can ask for help, an ambulance, the police, a mechanic, the American embassy, or a bathroom. I can order food and make simple purchases, understand a plane/bus/train schedule, and buy a ticket. Once I learn how to understand directions (I can ask for them, but I'm not real clear on understanding anything but "left," "right," "straight ahead," and "in front of.") and learn how to negotiate sex, I think I'll be set.

It's an easy language in terms of picking up new vocabulary, since much of it sounds like similar English words. It's so logical in some ways, so much more organized than English. It has its shit together in a way that English just does not. Yet, even on the most basic grammar level it's also complex in a way that English isn't. Every noun has a gender, so any adjective must be altered to agree with the noun's gender and number. Any associated articles such as "a" and "the" and so forth must also be modified by gender and number. It's a lot of things to remember to do. I enjoy working it all out immensely. It's like a logic puzzle.

I still have no practical use for it, and have a tendency to teach myself ridiculous things simply to amuse myself. "Where is the brothel? I have an appointment at seven. With your wife."

In less happy news, I am having really gross nightmares that clearly reflect my body image issues, and those can stop any time they want. I was doing so well for a while there, and now I'm heartsick with it again, and have come very close recently to just giving up and going back to starving myself and pushing myself too hard. I understand that part of that is me grasping for (illusory) control because I have so little control in the rest of my life, and that's probably driving a large part of the urge to backslide. Looking at old pictures of myself where I was so thin makes me want to scream, because those at the time were pictures I had problems showing people because I thought I was too fat to be seen in public. At 140 pounds. It's stupid to say that I hate myself for hating myself, but I really kind of do.

But I've been over all that before, many times, and won't go over it again, since it's not likely to actually help me any.

Instead I will heed an imaginary somebody's scowling and let him herd me off to bed like a murderous border collie.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
I seem to be doing a lot of real-life update stuff, and not so much with the insightful stuff. I'm definitely in a holding pattern, life-wise, just keeping shit together as best I can.

Sargon has been helping by keeping me distracted. I've also been relying on my imaginary people really heavily. Or, really, one of them. So, say thank you to The Baron, who has kept me on my meds and made sure I get to sleep eventually. And maybe thanks to Sam, who is keeping me amused in that "I have a new character" sort of way. But mostly the Baron.

The "BĂȘte Noire" Tazendra poster is going well. As you can see I'm doing it as a paper mosaic, with tiny, tiny pieces. Like, at their largest, maybe half the size of my pinky fingernail. It actually goes pretty quickly once I'm sticking stuff down. The slow part is cutting the goddamn paper into tiny pieces.

Here you can see where I stopped tonight, and get a rough idea of where I'm going with it. Also a look at my incredibly messy workspace. (The worst of the mess is out of frame. Sadly, I just missed the beheaded My Little Ponies.)

La Mocus in progress

I think the silhouette looks very much like her, especially about the ears. She had wonderful ears. They weren't hard, stiff ears like cats sometimes get. They were always kitten-soft, and they had a lovely shape.

There will be more pictures. A very early progress shot is here on Flickr. That was from a couple of days ago. At this rate I honestly don't think that it will take me more than another week or two if I keep working on it every day.

It's keeping me busy until I get her back from the cleaners', whereupon I anticipate a day or so of crushing grief followed by extreme relief at having her home again. It won't be the same, obviously, but it will be better than nothing.

The language thing is progressing. I'm aiming for a 2+ to 3 on the ILR Scale which I figure will take about a year, assuming I can stick with it and find sufficient self-study materials. I'm really close to having the absolute minimal level of fluency I would consider necessary for survival. I can ask for help, an ambulance, the police, a mechanic, the American embassy, or a bathroom. I can order food and make simple purchases, understand a plane/bus/train schedule, and buy a ticket. Once I learn how to understand directions (I can ask for them, but I'm not real clear on understanding anything but "left," "right," "straight ahead," and "in front of.") and learn how to negotiate sex, I think I'll be set.

It's an easy language in terms of picking up new vocabulary, since much of it sounds like similar English words. It's so logical in some ways, so much more organized than English. It has its shit together in a way that English just does not. Yet, even on the most basic grammar level it's also complex in a way that English isn't. Every noun has a gender, so any adjective must be altered to agree with the noun's gender and number. Any associated articles such as "a" and "the" and so forth must also be modified by gender and number. It's a lot of things to remember to do. I enjoy working it all out immensely. It's like a logic puzzle.

I still have no practical use for it, and have a tendency to teach myself ridiculous things simply to amuse myself. "Where is the brothel? I have an appointment at seven. With your wife."

In less happy news, I am having really gross nightmares that clearly reflect my body image issues, and those can stop any time they want. I was doing so well for a while there, and now I'm heartsick with it again, and have come very close recently to just giving up and going back to starving myself and pushing myself too hard. I understand that part of that is me grasping for (illusory) control because I have so little control in the rest of my life, and that's probably driving a large part of the urge to backslide. Looking at old pictures of myself where I was so thin makes me want to scream, because those at the time were pictures I had problems showing people because I thought I was too fat to be seen in public. At 140 pounds. It's stupid to say that I hate myself for hating myself, but I really kind of do.

But I've been over all that before, many times, and won't go over it again, since it's not likely to actually help me any.

Instead I will heed an imaginary somebody's scowling and let him herd me off to bed like a murderous border collie.

Lonely.

Apr. 10th, 2011 08:26 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (The Last Unicorn: Never Run)
I used to hear voices, in the dark, before I went to sleep. A low murmuring, always male, either incomprehensible or nonsense words strung together with the cadence of speech. I always thought it was cool, and I found it comforting. I assumed it was the tinnitus I've had since I was a kid, but when I got medicated for the bipolar thing, they went away. Now I actually miss it. Going to sleep feels lonelier somehow.

I had a horrible nightmare last night about watching Tazendra die and being unable to do anything about it. Then I had another that I don't remember, but I do remember having a moderate panic attack during the dream (yes, this can happen, and it sucks because I can't use any of my usual coping strategies . . . I'm fucking asleep). My first instinct on waking was to want to go check on my cat to make sure she was okay, like you do when you have that sort of dream. The second instinct was to snuggle my cat for comfort. So, yeah, that pretty much bit goat scrotum. And shot whatever progress I've made in getting more comfortable sleeping alone right in the head. "It'll be great!" I'd tell myself. "I'll go to sleep and then maybe I'll dream about her and I'll get to see her again!!!" And the couple of dreams I've had about her where I was holding her, yeah, those were awesome.* But if my dreams are going to start being upsetting, maybe I'd rather not. Because I was sad all day today thinking about it.

I have been talking myself to sleep, talking to imaginary people, just about every night. I'm aware that this is insane, but . . . it works. I feel less shitty.

You know, it takes a lot of loneliness for me to feel alone. I don't much like being around people, excepting the people I care about most, and even then, my tolerance is kind of pathetically low. A day when I don't have to leave the house or speak to anyone is pretty much a win. But I feel lonely now. And being around people doesn't help. I don't want them, I want my stupid cat. These other two furbags, they don't cuddle worth a damn. I love them, but Jesus, they need to take some lessons.

I talked to her all the time, and she listened, and she talked back. It's kind of amazing how much I had come to rely on that, which I hadn't realized until it was gone. I try to talk to the others and . . . they're just cats. They don't talk back, or really care. This stinks. I hope I don't go completely batshit insane and start carrying her skull around and talking to it or something like that.

Sigh.

I'm going to go to bed and talk to some imaginary people and hope that my dreams are nice ones and that tomorrow I will feel human enough to get back to work on something, anything, to make me feel like I'm not just living the same day over and over.

Hoo boy. I am not a barrel of laughs, I will tell you that.

* I am aware that this is sort of pathetic. But they were good dreams, and if this is the only way I can ever be with her again, wrap it up, I'll take it. Holding her for 30 seconds in a dream is better than nothing at all.

Lonely.

Apr. 10th, 2011 08:26 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (The Last Unicorn: Never Run)
I used to hear voices, in the dark, before I went to sleep. A low murmuring, always male, either incomprehensible or nonsense words strung together with the cadence of speech. I always thought it was cool, and I found it comforting. I assumed it was the tinnitus I've had since I was a kid, but when I got medicated for the bipolar thing, they went away. Now I actually miss it. Going to sleep feels lonelier somehow.

I had a horrible nightmare last night about watching Tazendra die and being unable to do anything about it. Then I had another that I don't remember, but I do remember having a moderate panic attack during the dream (yes, this can happen, and it sucks because I can't use any of my usual coping strategies . . . I'm fucking asleep). My first instinct on waking was to want to go check on my cat to make sure she was okay, like you do when you have that sort of dream. The second instinct was to snuggle my cat for comfort. So, yeah, that pretty much bit goat scrotum. And shot whatever progress I've made in getting more comfortable sleeping alone right in the head. "It'll be great!" I'd tell myself. "I'll go to sleep and then maybe I'll dream about her and I'll get to see her again!!!" And the couple of dreams I've had about her where I was holding her, yeah, those were awesome.* But if my dreams are going to start being upsetting, maybe I'd rather not. Because I was sad all day today thinking about it.

I have been talking myself to sleep, talking to imaginary people, just about every night. I'm aware that this is insane, but . . . it works. I feel less shitty.

You know, it takes a lot of loneliness for me to feel alone. I don't much like being around people, excepting the people I care about most, and even then, my tolerance is kind of pathetically low. A day when I don't have to leave the house or speak to anyone is pretty much a win. But I feel lonely now. And being around people doesn't help. I don't want them, I want my stupid cat. These other two furbags, they don't cuddle worth a damn. I love them, but Jesus, they need to take some lessons.

I talked to her all the time, and she listened, and she talked back. It's kind of amazing how much I had come to rely on that, which I hadn't realized until it was gone. I try to talk to the others and . . . they're just cats. They don't talk back, or really care. This stinks. I hope I don't go completely batshit insane and start carrying her skull around and talking to it or something like that.

Sigh.

I'm going to go to bed and talk to some imaginary people and hope that my dreams are nice ones and that tomorrow I will feel human enough to get back to work on something, anything, to make me feel like I'm not just living the same day over and over.

Hoo boy. I am not a barrel of laughs, I will tell you that.

* I am aware that this is sort of pathetic. But they were good dreams, and if this is the only way I can ever be with her again, wrap it up, I'll take it. Holding her for 30 seconds in a dream is better than nothing at all.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
So, we had to decide what to do with Tazendra's furry little body.

Yeah, I'm throwing this out there so that I don't have to try to talk around it. If it bothers you, feel free to skip it or drop me, but protesting that my method of dealing with her is wrong is not likely to make me friendlier.

Cremation was high on the list, but I need something I can touch. Burial was right out since it would not only leave me with nothing to hold, but it would have to be at a spot where I could have unrestricted access to it 24/7 for the rest of my life, and that is hard to find (even if I would never NEED access at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the idea that I COULDN'T would make me angry; I hate being told where I can and cannot go more than almost anything). It also bothers me, thinking about her out there like that; outside, when she was never an outside cat. Away from me, when she was never away from me. I've moved away from buried pets before. I don't like it. I feel guilty and sad, and the times I've dug to try to move them, I've never found anything.

So, I'm having her bones cleaned. Not articulated, just prepared as a group. We drove out to the Skulls Unlimited processing facility the Tuesday before last, had a brief look inside (so cool!) and saw the attached Museum of Osteology. (INCREDIBLE! More about it at some other time.) I left her there, in good hands, and while I will worry about her, it's oddly less worry than I would have letting the vet send her off to be cremated. I am quite sure I will recognize her skull, the feel of it. When the vet gave her back to me as a catsicle I was able to verify it was her by touch, through the bag, even though I DID look inside just enough to see her fur and smell her smell, so that I could be certain. It was terrible, but I had to know.

I'm aware that some people might find the idea of stripping her bones horrible. This isn't something I decided to do lightly; I have been thinking about it for several years now. I am familiar with the process and while it isn't what one would call pleasant, it is, in fact, cleaner and faster than decomposition; it's only more disturbing because it requires human involvement to perform or accelerate all the jobs that nature would otherwise do very slowly. That seems to us to be brutal and hard, because we are used to being able to turn away from these processes, to not look, to pretend that it's all over once the spirit goes, and that's where our obligation to think about what happens to our little buddies ends. But this way is far less prolonged and she will be attended by competent people. Five days to strip the bones of flesh, probably done by now, a few months to clean and whiten them.

I will have her back soon. Not as soon as I would like, not nearly, it already feels like a year has gone by since I left her there, but the work they do is the best I've yet seen, and good work takes time, it cannot be rushed, so I am willing to wait.

So, this is the way that makes me most comfortable. It leaves me with something to hold. I've gotten used to having skulls and bones around, they comfort me, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind staying with me in any form, especially if it made me feel less lonely.

People's reaction to my collection of skulls often encompasses an element of "Wow, morbid much?" Bones don't seem sad to me, though. They are what endures longest. They are strong and beautiful, evolved perfectly for their functions, but never too well. They survive to tell the stories of our lives long after everything else that made us us is gone. They are the essence of what we are, marked by our lives and livelihoods, a story written in breaks and spurs and calciferous deposits, in the rough Braille of muscle attachments and the smoothness of closed sutures. And, as each animal's physiology is the product of millions of years of evolution as well as its own life, the bones hold within them the essence of everything we were. Evolution's fingerprints. I cannot keep what made Tazendra purr, or the way she pranced toward the food bowl, or how she would look at me all cockeyed and adoring. But I can keep part of her. The part that sheltered or supported all the rest. A tiny part, but it's a framework from which I can hang memories, I suppose.

I may paint her skull, like I did this cat, who was no-one I knew. I may not. I'm going to make a box to put her in, but haven't settled on the right one, or even thought of what I would want painted on it. I really don't have any ideas. None whatsoever. That part of my brain seems . . . turned off. I fully trust it will come back with time.

At any rate, she won't be for display, just sitting out. I doubt people coming to my place would be disturbed by one more skull, but I want to put her in the closet, down in the corner where she most liked to lie, because that seems where she would most want to be second to right next to me on the bed. I'd love to work a bit of her bone into a cabochon I could wear all the time in a ring, but I'll have time to decide how and whether to do that.

I may post pictures, I may not. I may decide it's too personal a thing. I really don't know.

Sigh.

I am mostly okay, if not better. It still seems wrong and impossible that she is gone forever. She was a fixture, one of the things that made my life my life, something that defined me to myself. One of the three beings on Earth I love the most, and I still love her that much. That doesn't change just because she's gone. When I look at pictures of her, it's like looking at pictures of part of myself, which is not a feeling I get with the other cats, nor even the kittens, to whom I was so close. Yet I was always keenly aware of her her own little mind, her little spirit, distinct and real and very very alive. I saw her face more often than my own. I spoke to her more often than any other living thing except maybe Sargon. Missing all of that is a huge, incomprehensible void, too deep to even be painful. I can miss her acutely in the moment, but that's based in a momentary wanting her here. Thinking about "never again" . . . I can't wrap my head around it, I can't make it make sense, and so it's not painful so much as just bewildering and unthinkable.

We are all just animals, and the heart is just a muscle, and she was just a cat.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
So, we had to decide what to do with Tazendra's furry little body.

Yeah, I'm throwing this out there so that I don't have to try to talk around it. If it bothers you, feel free to skip it or drop me, but protesting that my method of dealing with her is wrong is not likely to make me friendlier.

Cremation was high on the list, but I need something I can touch. Burial was right out since it would not only leave me with nothing to hold, but it would have to be at a spot where I could have unrestricted access to it 24/7 for the rest of my life, and that is hard to find (even if I would never NEED access at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the idea that I COULDN'T would make me angry; I hate being told where I can and cannot go more than almost anything). It also bothers me, thinking about her out there like that; outside, when she was never an outside cat. Away from me, when she was never away from me. I've moved away from buried pets before. I don't like it. I feel guilty and sad, and the times I've dug to try to move them, I've never found anything.

So, I'm having her bones cleaned. Not articulated, just prepared as a group. We drove out to the Skulls Unlimited processing facility the Tuesday before last, had a brief look inside (so cool!) and saw the attached Museum of Osteology. (INCREDIBLE! More about it at some other time.) I left her there, in good hands, and while I will worry about her, it's oddly less worry than I would have letting the vet send her off to be cremated. I am quite sure I will recognize her skull, the feel of it. When the vet gave her back to me as a catsicle I was able to verify it was her by touch, through the bag, even though I DID look inside just enough to see her fur and smell her smell, so that I could be certain. It was terrible, but I had to know.

I'm aware that some people might find the idea of stripping her bones horrible. This isn't something I decided to do lightly; I have been thinking about it for several years now. I am familiar with the process and while it isn't what one would call pleasant, it is, in fact, cleaner and faster than decomposition; it's only more disturbing because it requires human involvement to perform or accelerate all the jobs that nature would otherwise do very slowly. That seems to us to be brutal and hard, because we are used to being able to turn away from these processes, to not look, to pretend that it's all over once the spirit goes, and that's where our obligation to think about what happens to our little buddies ends. But this way is far less prolonged and she will be attended by competent people. Five days to strip the bones of flesh, probably done by now, a few months to clean and whiten them.

I will have her back soon. Not as soon as I would like, not nearly, it already feels like a year has gone by since I left her there, but the work they do is the best I've yet seen, and good work takes time, it cannot be rushed, so I am willing to wait.

So, this is the way that makes me most comfortable. It leaves me with something to hold. I've gotten used to having skulls and bones around, they comfort me, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind staying with me in any form, especially if it made me feel less lonely.

People's reaction to my collection of skulls often encompasses an element of "Wow, morbid much?" Bones don't seem sad to me, though. They are what endures longest. They are strong and beautiful, evolved perfectly for their functions, but never too well. They survive to tell the stories of our lives long after everything else that made us us is gone. They are the essence of what we are, marked by our lives and livelihoods, a story written in breaks and spurs and calciferous deposits, in the rough Braille of muscle attachments and the smoothness of closed sutures. And, as each animal's physiology is the product of millions of years of evolution as well as its own life, the bones hold within them the essence of everything we were. Evolution's fingerprints. I cannot keep what made Tazendra purr, or the way she pranced toward the food bowl, or how she would look at me all cockeyed and adoring. But I can keep part of her. The part that sheltered or supported all the rest. A tiny part, but it's a framework from which I can hang memories, I suppose.

I may paint her skull, like I did this cat, who was no-one I knew. I may not. I'm going to make a box to put her in, but haven't settled on the right one, or even thought of what I would want painted on it. I really don't have any ideas. None whatsoever. That part of my brain seems . . . turned off. I fully trust it will come back with time.

At any rate, she won't be for display, just sitting out. I doubt people coming to my place would be disturbed by one more skull, but I want to put her in the closet, down in the corner where she most liked to lie, because that seems where she would most want to be second to right next to me on the bed. I'd love to work a bit of her bone into a cabochon I could wear all the time in a ring, but I'll have time to decide how and whether to do that.

I may post pictures, I may not. I may decide it's too personal a thing. I really don't know.

Sigh.

I am mostly okay, if not better. It still seems wrong and impossible that she is gone forever. She was a fixture, one of the things that made my life my life, something that defined me to myself. One of the three beings on Earth I love the most, and I still love her that much. That doesn't change just because she's gone. When I look at pictures of her, it's like looking at pictures of part of myself, which is not a feeling I get with the other cats, nor even the kittens, to whom I was so close. Yet I was always keenly aware of her her own little mind, her little spirit, distinct and real and very very alive. I saw her face more often than my own. I spoke to her more often than any other living thing except maybe Sargon. Missing all of that is a huge, incomprehensible void, too deep to even be painful. I can miss her acutely in the moment, but that's based in a momentary wanting her here. Thinking about "never again" . . . I can't wrap my head around it, I can't make it make sense, and so it's not painful so much as just bewildering and unthinkable.

We are all just animals, and the heart is just a muscle, and she was just a cat.
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
This is my icon of wanting things to go back to the way they were, or for needing things that are no longer possible.

The bad news is that nothing much has changed. The good news is that nothing much has changed. Neither better nor worse.

Monday we dealt with her body, which was agreeable enough but took most of the day -- more on that some other time, it's its own post -- and then I had a bad couple of days on Tuesday and Wednesday, not specifically cat-related, but related to the lack of spoons caused by the whole ordeal. I still can't concentrate on much of anything.

Getting the Witches' Mark prelude to the point where I didn't completely hate it was exhausting, and I leaned heavily on Sargon for that, too. The updating was preceded by a flurry of Oh Shit. Oh shit, we need an index entry, oh shit we need an icon, oh shit I need a summary, oh shit I need to change the journal style, oh shit I need to crosspost. All stuff that, if I were running on full power, I would have dealt with beforehand. I just . . . suck at thinking of things right now. I can't do much more than edit, and even that wears me out. I have no reason to be tired, I just am. Also, I couldn't prioritize my way out of a puddle.

And nothing feels right. Every morning when it's time for bed, I feel like it can't possibly be time to go to bed, that I haven't had a full day, haven't done anything. Days slip past, at once too fast and feeling like forever, like I'm waiting for something. I think it's that so much of my daily routine was based around her: get up and water the cat, snuggle the cat, feed the cat, snuggle the cat, water the cat, pill the cat, water the cat, snuggle the cat, go to bed with the cat. And because I can't complete these steps in my daily routine, it feels wrong when I go do something else.

I'm irritable and lonely, with nastily conflicting urges to be around people and to avoid them. I get frustrated easily, and bored, but almost nothing entertains me, and most things annoy me.

I'm not teary or crying all the time -- I didn't cry yesterday or today at all -- so I seem okay, I keep thinking I should be okay, but my sudden complete lack of functionality points to being not okay at all.

I know, I know, that I have every right to feel however I need to feel, and yet I still feel like I shouldn't be as dysfunctional as I am. Not so much the "just a cat" thing, that's so much horse shit, she was so much more than that, but because I know it could be so much worse, that friends are dealing with worse, that I will someday face worse, and that I have faced worse before. And I don't even feel that bad moment to moment. It's awful how quickly acceptance of it clicked into place: it's a fact now. It's a fact that feels wrong occasionally, but it doesn't have sharp edges, really. It's . . . not painful on an conscious level. It's just eating at me on a subconscious level, where I can't see it to stop it, where I can't even feel it as it's happening so that I can try to make it go away. I don't know what the hell is wrong, whether the quasi-calm is real or just a coping mechanism that will eventually fail. I can't predict myself, I don't know myself. I dislike that intensely.

Sargon is taking care of me as well as he is able, given that he is very upset about it as well, and going through his own process of mourning. He's being supportive and not requiring much of me, being understanding that I can't do complicated things right now, and that mostly I just want to be left alone. I'm also being extensively cared for by imaginary people, who all deserve a huge round of thanks. They have made going to bed bearable. Not fun, but bearable. It makes me feel kind of crazy, but I will take whatever works.

I want to talk about something else, but I'm so tired there really isn't anything else in my life right now but this and the writing, which I have to keep up, because right now it's all we have. I want to DO something else, have other thoughts, but . . . nope. Not happening.

I have things I need to be doing, want to be doing, creative stuff that needs tending to, and it's all just too heavy to deal with, and I feel like a complete and utter wimp for not being all "Being creative and accomplishing shit will make me feel better!" I can't even do fucking laundry. How the hell am I supposed to make anything?

Goddammit, cat, you always were good at fucking things up and being in the way. If you're going to keep doing it, you could at least be here to let me snuggle you. Making fun of the Fish is not nearly as satisfying as calling you names. I miss you, you hairy little ingrate. Even when you used to creep up on the bed with me while I was napping and sniff my eyes.
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
This is my icon of wanting things to go back to the way they were, or for needing things that are no longer possible.

The bad news is that nothing much has changed. The good news is that nothing much has changed. Neither better nor worse.

Monday we dealt with her body, which was agreeable enough but took most of the day -- more on that some other time, it's its own post -- and then I had a bad couple of days on Tuesday and Wednesday, not specifically cat-related, but related to the lack of spoons caused by the whole ordeal. I still can't concentrate on much of anything.

Getting the Witches' Mark prelude to the point where I didn't completely hate it was exhausting, and I leaned heavily on Sargon for that, too. The updating was preceded by a flurry of Oh Shit. Oh shit, we need an index entry, oh shit we need an icon, oh shit I need a summary, oh shit I need to change the journal style, oh shit I need to crosspost. All stuff that, if I were running on full power, I would have dealt with beforehand. I just . . . suck at thinking of things right now. I can't do much more than edit, and even that wears me out. I have no reason to be tired, I just am. Also, I couldn't prioritize my way out of a puddle.

And nothing feels right. Every morning when it's time for bed, I feel like it can't possibly be time to go to bed, that I haven't had a full day, haven't done anything. Days slip past, at once too fast and feeling like forever, like I'm waiting for something. I think it's that so much of my daily routine was based around her: get up and water the cat, snuggle the cat, feed the cat, snuggle the cat, water the cat, pill the cat, water the cat, snuggle the cat, go to bed with the cat. And because I can't complete these steps in my daily routine, it feels wrong when I go do something else.

I'm irritable and lonely, with nastily conflicting urges to be around people and to avoid them. I get frustrated easily, and bored, but almost nothing entertains me, and most things annoy me.

I'm not teary or crying all the time -- I didn't cry yesterday or today at all -- so I seem okay, I keep thinking I should be okay, but my sudden complete lack of functionality points to being not okay at all.

I know, I know, that I have every right to feel however I need to feel, and yet I still feel like I shouldn't be as dysfunctional as I am. Not so much the "just a cat" thing, that's so much horse shit, she was so much more than that, but because I know it could be so much worse, that friends are dealing with worse, that I will someday face worse, and that I have faced worse before. And I don't even feel that bad moment to moment. It's awful how quickly acceptance of it clicked into place: it's a fact now. It's a fact that feels wrong occasionally, but it doesn't have sharp edges, really. It's . . . not painful on an conscious level. It's just eating at me on a subconscious level, where I can't see it to stop it, where I can't even feel it as it's happening so that I can try to make it go away. I don't know what the hell is wrong, whether the quasi-calm is real or just a coping mechanism that will eventually fail. I can't predict myself, I don't know myself. I dislike that intensely.

Sargon is taking care of me as well as he is able, given that he is very upset about it as well, and going through his own process of mourning. He's being supportive and not requiring much of me, being understanding that I can't do complicated things right now, and that mostly I just want to be left alone. I'm also being extensively cared for by imaginary people, who all deserve a huge round of thanks. They have made going to bed bearable. Not fun, but bearable. It makes me feel kind of crazy, but I will take whatever works.

I want to talk about something else, but I'm so tired there really isn't anything else in my life right now but this and the writing, which I have to keep up, because right now it's all we have. I want to DO something else, have other thoughts, but . . . nope. Not happening.

I have things I need to be doing, want to be doing, creative stuff that needs tending to, and it's all just too heavy to deal with, and I feel like a complete and utter wimp for not being all "Being creative and accomplishing shit will make me feel better!" I can't even do fucking laundry. How the hell am I supposed to make anything?

Goddammit, cat, you always were good at fucking things up and being in the way. If you're going to keep doing it, you could at least be here to let me snuggle you. Making fun of the Fish is not nearly as satisfying as calling you names. I miss you, you hairy little ingrate. Even when you used to creep up on the bed with me while I was napping and sniff my eyes.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Dreamed about holding my kitty. Wondered how long that would take. It was a nice dream, and I didn't wake up sad or anything. I think this is officially the longest I've ever gone without holding her. I took a week-long trip years ago, and it's been about a week. Sucks.

It's messed. I'm coping really well as far as just getting along day to day goes, I guess. My appetite has sucked, but I know from experience that will go away. But I'm not as horribly maudlin and sad as I was.

At the same time, I can't do anything. My ability to problem-solve is in the shitter. I have art projects I need to work on and I'm not getting anywhere with them. I can't risk, is the thing, which means starting new things or challenging myself is not really possible right now. This is a fairly normal stress-type reaction for me, but usually it comes with a lot of flailing anguish in the foreground, to give it a context, and I don't really have that at the moment.

Likewise, anything that is a multi-step process has suddenly become impossible. Like, if I want to paint, maybe I have to clean off the table first, and to do that, I need to put a bunch of stuff in the closet, and to do that I have to clear out a bunch of stuff from in front of the closet, which would lead to me needing to do laundry . . . that would become impossible round about the needing to put stuff in the closet part. It's horribly annoying, but I know from experience it's the side effect that is most likely to overstay its welcome.

The other possibility is that I am bottling everything up and am not even aware of it. I wouldn't think so, it's not my style, but without going into detail I will say that there are external real-life reasons why I might be doing that.

Anyway, I'm just doing what I can, and resuming normal operating procedures as the resources become available. It was a hard hit, but it's not like I didn't have warning, after a fashion, and I've lost close family members and more pets than I can count, so it's at least familiar ground.

I'm not over it, I still cry most nights because she's just not there, but I'm more functional than I thought I would be. It's not great, but I'll take it.

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naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
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