Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Excellent Judge of Character

Puckett is an excellent judge of character.  I have mentioned before that she is more reserved with bestowing her good opinion than any of my other pets, and therefore hers is more worth the earning.  She is not one of those cats who hates everyone and prefers complete solitude.  She definitely likes people and other animals.  She just reserves her praise and love for people she deems extremely worthy.

People that come over to my house generally ignore Puckett, mostly because she hides in the bedroom or downstairs in the living room.  Occasionally she will join me and my company just to see what is going on.  Meanwhile Tess is under the table on my feet, Willow is trying to climb into some unsuspecting guest's lap, and Percy is parading around the kitchen, his chest puffed out, as if he wants everyone to applaud.

Tess, Percy, and Willow are attention whores.  Puckett is too sure of herself and has too much dignity to ingratiate herself to others beneath her notice.

That is only until she meets someone that she really likes.  Then she behaves like any other lovesick school girl, giving her crush big mushy eyes and purring so loud it sounds like a 747 coming in for a landing.

Case in point, besides me, the Cowboy is Puckett's favorite person.  This could be because he feeds her when I'm gone, and also he was a fixture in the house for three years so she had to accept him.  Of course the Cowboy is of wonderful character so I doubt Puckett would have allowed his presence in the house for so long if she didn't like him.  In truth had she made a habit of never showing her face in three years, I would have rethought my relationship with him.  Even now when he comes over she will come greet him with haughtiness as if to say, yes I still like you, but you left and I refuse to be hurt again.

Another interesting example.  A few weeks ago I had a little bout of serendipity as my twenty-three year old from last August has been weighing on my mind.  The fact that Puckett was involved doesn't really surprise me. Like my witch kitty, Mindi, Puckett appears to have mystical abilities at times.  I didn't handle things well when I ran August off last summer, mostly because I wanted him to leave town and go live his life away from here, but still, my actions and how I treated him have bothered me.  I got my chance to make things right recently when I nearly tripped over him at a bar where he was having drinks with his parents.  A few months ago I would have slunk out of there with my tail between my legs and my good friend, the Paleontologist - who always seems to witness these run-ins with exes - chasing after me, waving a glass of wine.  This time I walked up to August, fully expecting him to tell me where I could stick it, but he was, as usual, perfectly lovely, and I was able to apologize and explain my behavior.  The incident was so serendipitous because, as I said, I've been thinking about him a lot.  I had a dream not too long ago where I got the chance to apologize to him, and then Saturday before running into him, I had noticed that Netflix had just added the Minions to their queue so of course I had to watch it.  That was our first date.

Puckett enters the scene later when he and I had a longer conversation than at the bar.  He stopped by and we sat on my couch, talking about everything. Apparently he missed me too.  Puckett jumped up on the arm of the couch and proceeded to make a complete ass of herself.  I have never seen her behave so unapologetically affectionate towards someone she didn't know.  Her behavior mirrored mine in that she was completely emotionally available, almost like she had sympathy pains for what I went through earlier that evening.  It's an interesting feeling, sort of a mix between an adrenaline rush at seeing him after all this time, and wanting to toss my cookies all over the floor.  On the one hand, it's thrilling to grab hold of a chance I thought was gone forever, but on the other hand there was the very real risk that the chance would end up dumping me right off a cliff.

Meanwhile Puckett continued to embarrass herself.  She practically slipped into his lap and purred so loud I wondered if a Harley was cruising by.  They shared a moment, her rubbing against him and gazing at him with her big mushy eyes, and him scratching her behind the ears and snuggling her.  Puckett may have done that once with the Cowboy, but otherwise I am the only person she snuggles that way. Usually she would just use the Cowboy has a bridge to get to my lap and quite possibly assumed he deserved a quick snuggle for his cooperation.

I have to admit, I was almost a little jealous.  Of August? Of Puckett? I can't really say.  Puckett's my baby and I'm the only one she is completely open with, and yet, I've definitely missed him and I wouldn't mind giving him a snuggle.

As I said, Puckett is an excellent judge of character.  I got a lot of flack for August last summer.  I got a lot of opinions and comments against any kind of real friendship with him just because of our age difference.  And like an idiot, I bought right into them.  I knew I saw something in him, and I'm wondering now, along with emulating Puckett's confidence, if I shouldn't also listen to her when it comes to judging the character of others.  Not only does she reserve her good opinion for those with the best character, but she also reserves judgment for most people until she's gotten a better feel for them.  She's not going to jump all over someone right off the bat like the other pets do unless she is absolutely sure they are amazing inside and out.  It really shouldn't be that hard to accept that Puckett judges character well.  After all, she picked me. When I approached her at the animal shelter, sick and bald and depressed, she still managed to raise her head, rub against my hand and purr, letting me know that she judged me as someone special.

Self-love, self-esteem, and self-confidence are all things we struggle with.  We second guess ourselves because we don't deem ourselves as smart or as insightful as the next person.  We don't trust our own instincts.  We don't listen to our gut feelings when others are squawking around us, telling us we are wrong.  We are always looking within for our faults, and therefore, when others put doubts in our minds we listen to them, because how can we possibly know what we are talking about?  I will be the first to admit that I struggle with trusting myself and believing in myself.  Rationally I know I'm not an idiot.  I have some pretty awesome friends so my judge of character is pretty sound.  We all make mistakes, but my true people are solid people.  Sometimes even when it looks strange to everyone else and the odds are stacked against me, maybe the bravest thing to do is to stand up for myself and say, "Yes, I think this is good.  I appreciate your thoughts, feelings, and concerns, but I trust my judgment on this."

I wish I could say all's well that end's well, but while Puckett and I both left August in no doubt of our feelings, he still has a few stars and rainbows to catch of his own.  I hope we can remain friends.  Only time will tell.  Whatever happens, I believe he is of sound character even if he doesn't quite believe it yet himself.  Perhaps he needs a Puckett of his own to help him through some of life's greater challenges.

Once again Puckett has taught me a valuable lesson about life.  Once again she has demonstrated a quality that is worth cultivating.  Self-esteem and self-confidence don't mean that one is a narcissistic asshole.  It only means that one thinks enough of oneself to let the world know they are worthy of demanding respect.  After all if you don't respect or love yourself no one else can.

Puckett has conquered the bear.

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