Daily Prompt: The Kitten


I come from a family that doesn’t acknowledge the existence of mental illness.  My teenage years were tumultuous.  They were filled with depression and the angst of searching for myself and my spirituality.  I quit college in my junior year, at 19 years of age, and eventually found my way to Daytona Beach, Florida.

In Florida I found a job at a Chinese restaurant for 30 cents an hour.  Tips averaged a quarter to 50 cents.  I remember the owners of the restaurant instructing the dishwasher that one sink was for soapy water and one sink was for rinsing.  The next day he was to use the rinse water as the soapy water.  Dinner rolls that weren’t eaten were taken off of dirty dishes and recycled to other customers.

I rented a room in a boarding house just next door to the restaurant.  The room had plastic curtains that were so flimsy they blew around with the breeze.  One window faced the window of a room occupied by an old man in the house next door.  The old man would sit in front of his window watching me through my plastic curtains.

Two old men lived in the boarding house with me.  When I went to the bathroom, one of them would sneak to the door and watch me through the keyhole.

When you flipped the light on in my room, millions of cockroaches (called palmetto bugs in Florida) would scatter.  They crawled on me in bed at night.  They crawled up my leg when I was sitting on the toilet.  I had to pick them out of my food when they dropped into it from the ceiling.

One day there was a woman outside with a box of kittens.  I adored them, and she gave me a cute gray kitten with the promise that if I changed my mind, I should return him back to her.

But I was too involved with trying to keep my own life afloat to take care of anything else.  I went out every night and partied, picking up bikers in bars and spending the night with them.  I forgot all about the kitten.

One day I came home and discovered the kitten had turned feral.  The tiny thing hissed at me hatefully.  I hadn’t bothered to feed it for days.  It had probably been living off of hunting palmetto bugs.  I returned it to the lady.  My life was so far gone, it never occurred to me to feel badly about it.

Later on that year I found myself living with a man who took out his frustrations by using my face as a punching bag.  I woke up one night in an ambulance having seizures from an overdose of pills and alcohol.  This would be my second attempt at suicide.  The nurse in the ER told me I was disgusting and should be ashamed of myself for trying to commit suicide.

Years later, after straightening out my life and completing college, what I did to that kitten was one of the dreams that haunted me regularly.

Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you’d fix it today.
Set It To Rights

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Daily Prompt: The Kitten

17 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: The Kitten

  1. I know that feeling. I had a friend that I used to be really close with. We drifted a bit and I never answered any of his comments or mails idk why. I wish I knew, I wish I could change it, but I lost a wonderful friend cause I didn’t care for the friendship and now it’s gone. I hate to think of how bad I must have made him feel. I feel bad about this incident a lot. I should have been a better friend and spent less time thinking of myself. I think the moral of the story is that we must learn to forgive ourselves. We all have times when we’re inconsiderate or selfish. We’re human. We make mistakes, sometimes big one. We must forgive ourselves and move on.

    I know how it tortures me a lot. Can’t let it go. I wish I knew how.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “The nurse in the ER told me I was disgusting and should be ashamed of myself for trying to commit suicide.”

    There are plenty of good nurses, but I frequently get the bad ones. At the end of a 36-hour labor and four shift changes, I had a nurse who forcefully admonished me with, “Women have babies every day, stop that crying!”

    Admitting to an attempted suicide is very brave. I hope letting it out made you feel a little bit better. That nurse was wrong, of course — don’t let her beliefs and this episode make you feel guilty or ashamed. Even if you think you’re passed it — just make sure that you have let go of all the shame. (I’m sure cannabis helps with that.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Would you believe that my current illness is not the worst thing that has happened in my life?
    When I hit my bottom it saved my life. To this day I am grateful for falling apart, being able to see myself from that angle and realizing that I had to ask for help.
    Asking for help is still hard for me but my illness is another chance for me to work on that spiritual lesson. Finding your blog is definitely a part of the teaching I need.

    Liked by 2 people

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