28 January 2013


I've mentioned before that I sometimes have anxiety dreams about my cats. Last night I dreamed that Bea was lost in a cave. I was trying desperately to find a working flashlight so I could go in after her. There were dozens of flashlights in front of me, but everyone I tried had a dead battery. I finally went in anyway, floundering around in the dark, trying to find the cat I love so much. 

I've had Bea for nearly 14 years. Every night during that 14 years, she's slept next to my head. And not once have I ever taken that experience for granted. I wake up during the night to feel her warmth near my face, and hear her purring. It always makes me smile. 

She and I grew old together. Neither of us is as young and energetic as when we first met. We've both grown a more frail, a little more plump (though now she's losing weight). Our eyesight has gotten foggier. We're a hell of a lot slower. I figured we'd be together until one of us passed on. To separate us before then would be cruel to both of us. She's been my friend, her calm tenacity has been an inspiration, her unconditional love has been incentive for me to keep going through the worst of times. And I've been her only human, all she's ever known. She's a grumpy girl who doesn't like other cats or other people. She's only happy when she's telling me what to do. 

But life is cruel, I guess, and I'm facing that separation, long before it's time. She's cuddled up next to me, purring and wondering why I'm crying. She's always instinctively known when I've needed comfort. If life has its way with me, she won't be here beside me tomorrow. But she's here now, and like every night for the past 14 years, I'm not taking it for granted. 

05 January 2013

Things I've Learned from Living in Extreme Poverty

Here I am facing the possibility of living on the streets again. Tuesday's rent day and I'm nowhere near close to having enough. I've been trying to remain hopeful toward the new year, but I won't lie, on days like today, depression begins to seep through the cracks in my resolve. I even have thoughts of suicide. Not in a morose, dwelling-on-it kind of way. More of a fleeting thought,  a back-up plan, "If things get bad enough, I can always..."

But giving up isn't like me. It isn't what I want to do. I've been through way too much already, so in times like these, I give a little thought to what I've learned from my experiences: