I am not a wolf.
For as long as I can remember, I spend a lot of time alone. I’ve always liked quiet, individual activities, like reading, writing, and drawing. Even with sports, the ones I like to both watch and participate in are mostly solo endeavors (swimming, track/cross country, cycling, judo, etc.). Growing up, I always liked coming home to an empty house. I live alone. In my mind, I go through life like this:
However, this may be more accurate:
Like a feral kitten, I talk a big game about independence and resourcefulness. I think I can catch a mouse for dinner and then skillfully avoid animal control after tearing the heck out of your vegetable garden. I think I can chase that opossum, who is three times my size, out from under your car so I can claim that space as my own. However, I’m just a kitten–tiny in size, limited in life skills and experience.
On a day like today, I forgot about my kittenhood and believed I was a wolf. I was not having a great day. Among other unawesome occurrences, I got a rejection letter from a job which I interviewed for and I was genuinely hoping to get. Sure, I can rationalize my disappointment by telling myself that the position was only for 15 hours week, but it was an agency I like and a model of care that I interests me. I know not to take it personally, but it still feels personal. So I started to take this rejection, coupled with some other sucky life stuff, and do what I usually do, which is to push it away and pretend that my unmatched fierceness cannot stop me from moving forward.
Today, that wasn’t working. As I get older, I find more often than not that my lone wolf ways are not that effective. I sat alone in my little nook of a kitchen, wondering if/when/how things would change. I wanted to someone to talk to. My immediate thought was, “I really, really want to call my brother.” Of course, I can’t call my brother. Since he died 14 years ago, that takes him out of the running. I sighed. I stared out the window. Then, with my elbows propped on the kitchen table, pressing my forehead in my hands, I swallowed my wolfie pride and called my, friend, Leydy.
I met Leydy through the Cuba program I participated in this summer. We were roommates on the trip, but we might as well have been partners for kindergarten field day. We clicked like that–one of those rare connections when making a new buddy where you’re so comfortable with that person, it feels like you’ve known each other since you were five years old. Or in our case, you feel so comfortable around each other that you might act like you’re five years old. Leydy has been in Chile for an internship since July, so it’s been a while since we talked. But we got on Skype and chatted for two hours. We talked about silly things, like boys and how stupid they are, and serious things, like the presidential election and the state of humanity. We made plans to visit when she gets back to the states. We waved goodbye. I felt better.
The life of a feral kitten usually does not end well. There may be a hit and run involved, or a one way trip to animal control. And of course, there’s rabies. Running around on my own all the time doesn’t show me much about dealing with what’s in front of me and weighing the possible outcomes. The only perspective I have is my own, and that perspective isn’t always reliable.
Even wolves run in packs.