Happy Valentines Day (if that's your thing).
Today IS indeed Valentines Day. This holiday certainly has some sketchy (and apparently bloody!), beginnings, yet it's morphed into a retailers dream (or a consumer's nightmare, depending which side of things you're on).
I've never been a fan of this holiday. I sometimes was alone and made to feel lonely, that perhaps I was damaged or broken since I was not sharing my life (or even a pizza) with someone on February the 14th. Not all years were like that, and now I feel happy to help make special memories for people who come here to celebrate the ordinary, the extra-ordinary and holidays in their lives.
But, where am I going with all this? To a love story, of course.
Love comes in many forms, and creeps up when least expected. What, and who, we devote ourselves to is the single most personal choice we will make in our lives (I think). It may change though the years with who we are with, or what we allow ourselves to grow into, but love stories will always exist.
It has been said that animals do not love us, they fall IN love with us. I believe it. I also think it's reciprocated more than humans will admit, that we too fall in love with our animals.
I have shared my life with animals since I was pretty small. The first cat I remember as a pet was a tiny black cat named Ely. I don't remember much about Ely, he used to hide under our house by crawling into an access hole under a porch. He would come out for dinner, but he didn't really want to be around me, or anyone else. In spite of all that, I adored him, and was completely infatuated with him. He was one of a laundry list of animals that have come and gone in and out of my life.
In 2014, I fell in love with a speck of fur now famously known as Princess Glitter FancyPants. I have written about how she showed up here one night almost exactly 1 year ago. How she was howling so loudly that her cries woke me up in the middle of the night (she outside, me inside). I wrote about how when I went outside to see what was wrong, why was a cat crying in the middle of the night, how she jumped off the ground into my arms (no easy feat considering how tiny she is) and how she was so gnarled with matted fur my first thought was that she was covered in tumors. Underweight. Filthy. Crying. Hungry. Thirsty. Desperate. That's how I found her. What I thought would only be a bowl of food and some comfort has turned out to be another of the great loves in my life.
Princess was thrown away. I know it, the other happy vegan knows it, our vet knows it, and the person who did it knows it. How horrible that people do such terrible deeds to the innocents of the world. She probably endured some pretty big hardships and has some pretty big secrets. Despite this, she was quick to trust me, and fall in love with me. Both she and I were in deep, all too quickly.
She is smart, quick witted, agile, determined, loving, comforting, curious, funny and kind. She is one of the most stubborn cats I've ever known. She has one of the softest coats on any animal I've ever felt, and is the first cat with long hair I've ever known too. It's hilarious watching her as she grooms, her fur is so long she tries to back up from it as she cleans.
That little speck of fur has changed my life and over the last 11 months been a driving force in my life as I continue to evaluate how is the best way for me to be an advocate for animals.
With this little speck of fur, I have surrendered to complete unconditional love. I am very patient with her, and I do my best to imagine what goes through her head to understand her complicated little self. If I could harness just a fraction of the patience, tolerance and love that I feel for Princess towards human beings, I know I could move mountains. For some reason, I am unable to really do the same completely with human beings. I am frustrated and impatient with society and the world, but not with animals. I am completely and totally at peace when animals are involved and I think I have more clarity as well. Is it possible that they are giving me this as a gift, I don't know, maybe.
My love story is about the animals. It's my whole life. I have been privileged to share my life with them, so far, for almost all my years on Earth. I cannot imagine a day without animals around me. Without animals in the world, things wouldn't mean the same to me, I wouldn't work as hard as I do to make the world better, and I might be a very hopeless person. Instead, everyday I receive a gift of love, hope, compassion, joy, laughter, sometimes pain and so much more, all from the animals.
I think if there ever was a worthy love, and worthy story, in my life, its only because of the animals.
Happy Valentines Day.
PS: to the other happy vegan, my dear one, yes I love you too... but I also know you understand me about the animals. For that I love you.