This is my brain "on" blogging . . .

The largest and most obvious change in my life since starting Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat involves the massive amount of time it takes me to perfect posts here and on Momma Kat's Facebook page (writing the post goes quickly, agonizing and adjusting does not). While I expected this to occur, especially with my perfectionistic tendencies, it has eaten into the time Bear and I get to snuggle. So we've found other ways to spend time together (when I'm working: he'll come over, I pick him up, and hold/pet him until he's had enough). All of this makes me more conscious and thoughtful of the time I'm giving Bear - and might have even increased our together time in general. However, some consequences of starting the blog were not exactly as I expected. These unexpected consequences of blogging include:

1) In planning posts and recounting Bear's shenanigans, I appreciate him even more than I did before.
For the last couple years, I've been good at not taking him for granted, but dedicating time to think about him and his personality takes it to another level. I see all the bad and good and love him so much just the way he is. When I was facing his possibly malignant tumor, I realized the blog would stand as a testament to this amazing cat and chronicle my memories and experiences that I could treasure forever even if something does happen to him (it will eventually anyway).

2) You find support from some people you weren't expecting, little support from some you did - but in general, friends are awesome either way.
Mostly, I expected interest along the lines of cat people vs. non-cat people, but this hasn't proven true at all. I'm glad the audience is more diverse than I was expecting. As I said above, the value of the blog (for me) goes beyond my audience - it also changes and enriches my life, even if no one reads the blog. But I love and appreciate my readers and supporters too! Without you, none of this would have happened.

3) I started taking pictures again - including some of Bear and I together.
My pictures never turn out right - and I hate pictures of myself - so that combined caused me to give up even trying. But I know people like pictures - so I've forced myself to try again. Some surprisingly good shots - but also some major fails. The point is I'm at least trying again and documenting Bear (and his antics) in pictures - which often have value beyond words. Plus, I didn't have any pictures of Bear and I together after my ex-husband stopped taking them (a few months after we got Bear); I'm glad I now have some more recent expressions of our affectionate relationship.

4) An increase in insecurity.
I always doubt people really care about what I have to say - but blogging requires you to present yourself as having confidence that someone does care and wants to hear all these little tidbits of your life. I'm working on convincing myself of this. When blogging, you really put yourself out there and expose parts of yourself that can be uncomfortable. Or worse, you might offend someone or open yourself up to ridicule and rejection. This is another thing I am working on - but mostly, I just make myself post without over-thinking the message (even if I still over-think the details).
I also worry a lot more about whether people get my sense of humor. Sure, many of my posts seem like I'm complaining or annoyed (especially on Facebook) - but 98% of the time, that's not the case at all. I love my cat and I appreciate him and wouldn't change a thing about him. But, just like with men, cats are easy targets for humor just because of their personalities. Normally laughing at Bear (with appreciation, not mockingly), puts me in a better mood and draws me closer to him (again, appreciation of his individuality). And humor is my #1 coping mechanism for dealing with things beyond my control (otherwise known as "cat").
I also worry about labels - namely - being thought of as a cat lady: not only do I have a cat, but I find him interesting enough to write a blog about. We've all met people who told us more than we care to know; I don't want to be that person. I tell myself that I shouldn't be ashamed that I share my life with and love my cat. He doesn't replace or substitute for children or significant others - he adds to my life in his own right. I have enough love for all of the above - and frankly, if people thought more about the animals we share this planet with, the world would be a better place. There's more to animals than what they can do for us or the impact (good and bad) they have on us. I don't see Bear in terms of what I get out of the relationship - but instead value what I can provide for him (which in turn enriches my life).

Do I have any regrets on starting a blog? No. I'm very glad I did. Much like I'm very glad I took a chance on a little homeless kitten that stole my heart before I even knew I had one :)

One instance of the new "get all the love you care to take" dynamic - which involves Momma stopping whatever she is doing and picking Bear up for loves, for as long as he wants.

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