Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

August 23, 2008

Stockholm Syndrome

I love hard. That's the best way I can think to say it. With love (for me), comes need. With need (for me again), comes a strange mix of confidence and insecurity. I feel confident to be my goofy, childish self while, at the same time, am in constant fear that the object of my love will disappear.

I suppose I am quick to give up the goofy, childish part of me (plenty of people I don't "Love" know this about me). But that fearful insecurity part? I save that for the special few. Aren't they lucky?

Within all that goofy, childish neediness is my secret inner Big Sister. The one that never got to express herself because she was stuck in the role as the youngest sibling. You know, that person who gets teased, cajoled, annoyed and generally messed with - all the while being slightly worshipful of her torturer. I admit it. Sometimes I feel comfortable enough to exercise those pent up Big Sister muscles with those that I love - people and pets.

Anyone who has ever seen me "love hard" on my cat AppleButt knows what I'm talking about first hand. I absolutely, madly love my cat. With that love comes my unrealistic confidence that she loves me for being me, so I can do anything I want to her.

And let's not forget the foreboding fear that she will just not come home one day. A coyote, a thief, or even just old age. Anything could get her. And I would be devastated.

So when I want to show my love, I do it so expressively, so desperately that I'm sure she hates every second of it. I hold her, cradle her, raise her in the air and declare my feelings. Kiss her belly, make her dance. All the stuff you can imagine a cat detesting.

See our holiday cards from the last two years below if you don't believe me (the backstory on that is here):










But AppleButt doesn't really fight my annoying attentions; and if you've ever had a cat, you should know that they generally don't put up with crap if they don't want to. A quick flick of the claw and a wiggly squirm and they are outta there. But not AppleButt. She takes it in with a calm stare that I insist to anyone looking on, who is invariably telling me to leave her the hell alone, "But she loves it. She loves me." And I begin again.

It wasn't until this happened with Wine Guy for the first time that I was introduced to another possibility. This was when Wine Guy replied to my "But she loves me" comment with this little joking retort, "She has to put up with it. She's basically your hostage. It's not love...it's Stockholm Syndrome."

I adopted AbbleButt when she was 2 months old. She knows nothing else but me. I am, as far as she knows, her entire world. Without me - no food, no shelter. So the option to just take off and find a better situation just wouldn't enter her mind. I've convinced her that I am, in fact, good for her. After a while, she starts to believe it and, voila - Stockholm Syndrome.

But I quickly put that thought out of my mind by dismissing Wine Guy's joke as just that - a silly joke. It remained out of my mind until recently - when we got the dog.

As many of you know, I've wanted a dog ferociously for years. So if you think I love hard on AppleButt, just wait until you see how I love on Luna. It was this hard loving that lead to Wine Guy's most recent Stockholm Syndrome reference.

Except this time I didn't dismiss it. In fact, I took it in quite deeply. He probably figured that out when I turned to look at him and said, "Oh my God. What if you don't love me. What if I'm really holding you hostage in this relationship and you've just become so used to it that you think it must be love?"

We both laughed at the idea. Ha, ha. What a silly joke. But that doesn't mean that I laughed it off. Oh no. I can already tell that my fearful side is just gonna let that one simmer for awhile. I suspect the thought will rear its ugly head again soon. And when that happens, I'm pretty sure I won't be laughing.

Better sign off now. Wine Guy is grilling some tasty-smelling chicken and I think it's almost done. (Oh, didn't I tell you that a good meal far outweighs my goofy, childish neediness?)

Dismissed.

2 comments:

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

That cat adores you. You can see it in her eyes.

mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city' said...

twitter comment:

don't cut yr hair TOO short!
it looks so good shoulder-length in yr cat-hanukah card.

how about just 3/4 inch to start?
(not that i have any idea what it looks like now, but i won't let that bother me).