tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

30Apr/132

#CatWatch2013 – Update!

I thought I'd post a quick update as to how the cats are doing. I think most of you follow me on Twitter and will know some of this, but just in case.

For those just tuning in, my cats, Ender and Bean, spent most of the first week hiding from me, usually in the basement, occasionally in my box spring. I did my best to feed them, draw them out when I could, and generally support them in any way I can. I worried about them a lot but, eventually, they've come out, and no essentially own the house.

It's been funny to watch their personalities come out more and more. Ender, who was the first one to come out, is now the calmer of the two. She demands attention less, tends to hang back, and seems more relaxed in general. She'll have moments where she will be constantly on me (particularly when I'm on my laptop) and seems to love to headbutt my head in a loving manner which just MELTS MY HEART. She's quieter overall, less of a talker, but is often out and about, just less…frantic. She's very sweet overall, though, but I try to make sure and give her extra attention, as she's nowhere near as demanding as her sister. And she's definitely the more subservient one, to Bean, the dominant one. 

Bean, the one who hid and never came out for a week, has now become the most social, affectionate, people driven cat you could ever hope to meet. She will almost always come and greet me when I walk in the door and tends to follow me around the house. She will regularly jump up on my laptop, and likes to hang out on the kitchen table. Every morning when I open my bedroom door (kitties do not get to sleep with me) she will rush in, meowing a greeting at me, and jump on my bed, often rolling over and asking for a belly rub. She likes to hide behind my (sheer) curtains sometimes, and will always meow at me and jump up when I'm doling out food, desperately trying to eat out of the can. I wondered for a while if I was under-feeding them, but I think they just like the wet food (they have plenty of kibble all day). Bean is usually the one to jump in my lap, and will do this adorable thing where she will stand on her hind legs when you're petting her and pull your hand away, trying to get as much pets as humanly possible. She's definitely the talker of the two, and if I do close her out of my room I will hear about it for a few minutes after.

It's been interesting watching their interactions with Buddy, a cat I'm looking after for my parents right now. He's a big old tomcat, easy going, but a talkative one, and a little demanding of attention. They've slowly accepted him and seem to still be working out a pecking order (which will be shot when he leaves in a week or two) but it's been interesting watching him integrate with them. In the mornings, now, when I open the door the three of them will come in, Bean running in and hopping on the bed, Ender and Buddy wandering in as if saying "Oh, hey, s'up?" They do much the same thing at night, now, trying to rush in before I close the door, wanting to hop onto the bed and try and attack my feet under the covers. I've taken to shaking a bag of treats and dropping a few outside to lure them out. Which is probably a bad precedent to set. But, eh.

I love these cats, and they warm my heart, and I am SO glad to have them in my life.

I do still want a dog, though. But these guys are my companions, so it'll have to be a dog who likes cats. Just saying.

28Apr/134

How I am a Sim

Sometimes I find it's helpful to think of myself like a Sim.

You know, like in the game The Sims? I have bars that need filling. Hunger. Energy. Bladder (well, that one needs emptying).

The one that's always been a little off for me, though, is Social.

In the Sims, you fill the Social bar of a Sim by having them talk to people outside of work. Usually this means inviting a friend over for dinner, but in later games you could fill this bar, very slowly and inefficiently, by chatting online with someone, or talking on the phone.

In later games, you could develop Sims with different personalities. Some had very easy to fill social, or energy, or hunger bars. Some were more difficult to fill.

What I've come to realize, is that my social bar is very, very easy to fill. Moreso than most, in fact. I'm quite happy to have a friendship or relationship based 95% on text messages. I don't feel a great need to talk to someone on the phone or on Skype, or even in person, pretty much ever. It's not that I don't see the appeal. But just that it's not…necessary for me. I feel connected to people quite nicely online, through tweets and texts and Facebook messages and the like.

It's been a slow and odd realization, though, that not everyone is like that. Looking at my life, at my relationships, I've realized I need to be more proactive about these things. Others need that communication, that attention, and when I don't reach out and make that connection, it's not great. It makes people feel like I don't care, I think, or like I'm not interested. 

I am. I am interested. But voice chats stress me out. I don't have time to think about the right things to say. When I'm talking to someone face to face I have to pay close attention to my appearance, to where I sit and stand and how I act. 

(For those playing along at home all this, of course, ties into the theme that I'm not interesting/deserving of love/attention and that I have to watch VERY CAREFULLY what I say and do or else someone is going to reject me as a friend.)

Text is so much easier. I control when and how I reply. I can think about what I say, and if I want to take a break, I can. But I have to recognize the world doesn't work through text. And if I don't overcome those fears, if I don't recognize that others have different needs, and make efforts to see and talk to people, I may end up only having texting friends, and that's not ideal.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my Hunger bar is getting a little low.

16Apr/131

Stepping Up

You know when you have something in your head and you seem to see it everywhere?

For me, lately, that's been the idea of stepping up and asking for what you want. I seem to see references to the idea everywhere I go, on TV shows (HIMYM last night with the jacket), articles on reddit, blog posts, conversations with others. And not just asking for what you want, but asking to be included, organizing things yourself, and asking to come along when you see others doing something cool.

I've always avoided this partly out of a sense of humility. Am I asking too much? Am I being impertinent (a cardinal sin!)? What if I'm not wanted? Is there going to be that awkward silence when I ask and everyone looks at each other going "what do we say?" I can still recount for you so many, many times that's happened, and that fucking HURT. Of course there are many times someone has said "sure!" but those stick in the mind of someone with self-esteem issues far less. They don't reinforce the belief system that I'm worthless, you see, so why remember them?

That lack of self-confidence is a big part of it too, of course. It's a big part of so many aspects of my life, sadly. 

So what I've relied on in the past is for people to read my mind and know what I want.  I feel like I read people pretty well and I assume people do the same. I'm also the type to try to include everyone and so I have a tendency to invite everyone along, to try and bring as many people as possible in, to try and make sure no one feels left out. Not everyone's like that, and people read people differently. Someone could see from a few refusals to hang out on my part that I don't want to, and not that I'm just going through a bit of an introvert phase. When I think someone is cool and want to hang out, I assume they'll ask me when they want to, not that they'll wait for me. They're busy, I'm sure, and I don't wanna bug them.

I think it was a reddit post where someone said "You can't expect people to be psychics." And it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I can't. And I've been assuming people know what I want, the things I want to do, the people I want to hang out with.

So I'm trying to step up a bit more. Not just in saying "Hey, can I come along?" but saying "Hey, let's hang out." "Hey, come over to my place!" (Seriously, so nice to be able to say that). I'm realizing if I don't do that I will end up a hermit, as there's some part of me that would be very happy just hiding in my house every evening and weekend, and that doesn't really further anything other than saving on cab fare or gas money.

The tough part is that some people will say no still. I'll still get that awkward look from some people when I ask to be included. There will still be people who I'll try to include, and I'll get nothing back from. Developing the thicker skin to handle that is the real challenge. Asking about people, trying to reach out and include them, that's easy. Dealing with rejection is hard.

In other news, sun rises and dogs and cats continue their feud.