If cats could take Buzzfeed quizzes, they wouldn’t.
Amy has no need to know which Disney princess she would be, nor whether or not Timothée Chalamet would like her mixtape.
A hunger to hammer down — and holler out — an identity seems a peculiarly human concern. We yearn to change; we are terrified of change; we’re scared that everyone is looking at us and even more afraid that no one is looking at us. We can’t accept that we can’t understand ourselves, so we shout slivers of our secrets, revealed by others, into the sky.
If you think I’m being hard on humanity, hear my confession: I have seen the navel-gazers, and they are me. I’ve self-assessed to stupid and back, enough to tell you tales that tell you nothing: I’m an Enneagram 2. I’m an INFJ. If I were on Downton Abbey, I’d be Anna. If I were a Little Woman, I’d be Beth. If I were a piece of bread I’d be marble rye, which I think means I have a lot of personal growth to do. I have self-obsessed my way to the same place I started: just me. Aching to be understood and terrified to be seen.
And then there’s Amy.
If she were in Little Women, Amy would be Amy. If she were an organic soup, Amy would be Amy’s. But Amy doesn’t give a flying Funyun about that. Even in a species that is serenely immune to scrupulosity and self-scrutiny, Amy is unusually unconcerned with assessing herself. She is far too busy simply being herself, in all her contradictions, regardless of the results and ruckus she may cause.
Amy is no stranger to causing a ruckus.
The ruckus that first rocked Amy’s world — and ours — was no fault of her own, or anyone else’s. This was simply one of those rare and tragic cases in which a beloved human’s medical condition made it inescapably necessary to re-home Amy. Some stories are especially searing, and such was the case in this case. With tears and more suffering than any soul should have to bear, Amy’s family loved her to the utmost, even as they had to say goodbye.
In all her (8+) years of being adored, Amy never had to question or scrutinize or analyze herself. Loved without wavering, Amy did not need to chart her stars or her spirit or her sense of place in the world. Amy simply existed, expecting life’s lilting routine to continue, expecting to be loved and accepted however and whoever the heck she was.
She did not expect the holy heck that was Tabby’s Place.
We, to be honest, did not expect Amy’s full Amyness. Her wonderful family — and I use “wonderful” as an understatement for these deeply kind people — mentioned that Amy could have a short fuse at times, but she spent the great majority of her life loving. If she were a Taylor Swift song, she’d be “Love Story.”
Amy re-took that quiz upon entry to Tabby’s Place. The answer was now “Bad Blood.”
Amy was enraged. She was a roiling cauldron of over-spiced organic butternut soup. She was not the Amy she’d always been.
Amy, like each of us, is entirely entitled to change a thousand times a lifetime. But Amy, utterly unlike the likes of us, does not sweat it. In her sorrow and confusion over going from home to “huh?”, Amy owned every inch of her anger. She did not question her essential Amiability. Being a cat, she simply trusted that her self was intact under changing skies.
I’m convinced it’s that solid, sassy sense of self that carried Amy through the chaos. (As for us, many Band-Aids and seas of self-pity carried us through the chaos/violence. And singing — always singing. We sang “You Need to Calm Down;” Amy answered with “Look What You Made Me Do.” We sang “I Knew You Were Trouble;” Amy crooned “ME!”)
If Amy had stopped to self-assess, she may have fallen into the abyss that eats us whole: who am I? Am I changing? Was the older me the better me? Am I more Millennial or Gen Z?
Instead, Amy just progressed, mood through mood. Her essence was never in question. And neither, of course, was our love.
Amy rampaged through anger and grief to cautious acceptance, furtive love, and finally the kind of peace that was always her birthright. She no longer slashes and lashes us (much) now; she has lost the title of Most Frightening Cat in the Building (although once held, such a crown brings lifelong honor). She is back to herself…not that she ever truly left.
In the swirling, splendid soup of Amy, there is room for all the colors and flavors and changes and ranges. Her glorious self is not static; her self-confidence is not shaky.
Would that we should all be nourished by Amy’s brilliant blend.
And if you’re wondering what Amy’s song should be these days, it’s “Lover.”