hiding out

via Daily Prompt: Hideout

Bee’s gone back to the US for the next month or so. J’s over there too for a few weeks (for unrelated reasons). There’s just me and Leaf in our house now, and with them gone and TJ-kitty no longer around, it feels so quiet and weird and wrong. And I’m still sick and my shoulder hurts and everything right now seems really overwhelming. Visa applications make my head hurt. Doing all the things I need to do seems like an impossible, Sisyphus-level task.

So I bought more games on Steam than I could really afford, and I’m hiding out playing them obsessively and watching Frozen Planet and petting our remaining cats. If I could reasonably build a blanket fort and hide in it, I would. Fuck this, I don’t want to be an adult right now. I’ll start again tomorrow.

escaping from real life via monster babies

In order to distract myself from pain, cat death, Bee’s impending return to the US, and the world generally falling apart on a daily basis, I have spent most of this month obsessively playing games. Seriously, I’ve racked up like 76 hours on The Binding Of Isaac alone since I bought it, which was, uh… not actually very long ago. Plus Spelunky, which is more like a personal challenge to see how many times I can die in the space of one minute, but I’m sure I’ll get better at it… someday?

I actually kind of really like the aesthetics of Binding of Isaac, which is weird really, because miscarriage and child abuse are pretty much the biggest AH NO STOP LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU triggers I have, and this is a game which revolves entirely around the concept of a terrified child locked in a basement trying to escape his mother, and which has not one but, like, five dead-fetus items you can collect as power-ups. One of which is straight-up called ‘Rainbow Baby’ (which is a cutesy name for a baby conceived after miscarriage or infant loss, for those who haven’t spent as much time eyerolling at pregnancy and miscarriage forums as I have). But, idk. I think I actually find things that are like ‘la la la, pregnancy and birth are beautiful and universal and nothing ever goes wrong!’ more upsetting. That makes me feel like I’m fucked up and broken, whereas this kind of thing is just like occasional ‘wow, they went there’.

But, yeah – I think the thing I like best is the way the player character changes more the longer you play. You start out as a scared, crying child in a basement filled with monsters, but as time goes on and you get better at fighting them… you start turning into a monster too. And I love that. I love how straight-up monstrous Isaac gets as you keep picking up and combining power-ups. I am super impatient to get better at it and get down to further and further levels to make myself even more fucked up.

(I mean, there’s also plenty of stuff in it that’s kind of terrible and/or squicky. And it’s pretty hatey towards fat people, and women, especially poor women, generally, I think; nothing’s said directly, this is a game with very little dialogue, but it’s clear we are supposed to be disgusted by Isaac’s mother, and not in the moral sense.)

… I was going to talk about Spelunky and Rogue Legacy also, but now I’m tired so I guess that’s enough nerdbabble for one day.

Just finally forced myself back into doing the tarot line job thing for the first time in a while (between cat death and a horrible cough I decided to take a week off) and my brain had apparently decided all over again that it was TERRIFYING. Actually, tbh, I tried to start last night but only made it about ten minutes before realising I was too panicky and also too sleepy to actually take any calls.

Anyway, it went… okay. She said so little I really couldn’t tell if what I was saying meant much to her, though she did say some of what I was talking about sounded accurate, and she wasn’t an asshole to me and didn’t cry or tell me anything that made me despair for humanity, so it definitely went better than it could’ve.

So yay me I guess. I did the thing even though it was scary. Now wine and internet and sleep.

did i mention fuck cancer?

Warning for fairly detailed discussion of pet death and illness in this post.

So this week my ancient beloved kittycat had to be put to sleep. It’s only been three days and I miss him so goddamn much.

He had cancer – a tumour behind his eye – and I knew it was inoperable and that he didn’t have long, but the end still came way too soon. And even though I really, really couldn’t stand the thought of him suffering, I still can’t help feeling guilty for ‘killing’ him by making the call at the end that it was time for him to go. He was still so lively, right up to the very end – he couldn’t close his eye or fully open his mouth and yet he was still wandering around, meowing, purring whenever I picked him up, eating as much as he could manage. He was never a remotely chill or peaceful cat, and I guess even terminal cancer couldn’t change that. On the last morning of his life he licked cream cheese off my fingers and made a good attempt at purring. I know he only had a few days or maybe a week left at best, and they wouldn’t have been pleasant days, but fuck, he was still so alive.

I can’t stop thinking about how he looked after the vet gave him the shot. He was so completely not there. It was distressing, and at the same time almost comforting, because it made it really easy to think that perhaps his… soul, mind, essential TJ-ness… had just left and gone off to cause chaos in the afterlife, or reincarnate as a kitten, or whatever. Like. It really didn’t look like him lying there. It looked like… an old cat basket, or collar, or some fur clippings. Something he just wasn’t using anymore.

Anyway, I’m sure a lot of people would think my grief is ridiculous, because he’s just a cat, right? But he was my friend and companion and he’d been keeping me company for ten years and I loved him. I clipped some of his fur and kept it in a little vial; Leaf kept his collar. It’s not the same, it’s not even vaguely approaching ‘the same’, obviously. But I am never going to forget him.