A popular Tumblr presents a series of “Rules of Ladies.”
These pithy instructions in ladylikeness include good advice like “Always have faith in yourself,” and “Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life,” and “You can be a formidable woman and still wear Alice-in-Wonderland bows in your hair at age 31.” OK, that last one is a Rule of Angela. But I digress.
Still, Tumblr, Miss Manners and the Queen Mum combined can’t top the tips from a certain feline lady.
It’s no secret that it’s hard being a girl in the 21st-century, from New Jersey to New Delhi. The “rules” are legion: Be strong! Be delicate! Be sparkly! Don’t be too sparkly! Be unique! Don’t stand out! Be beautiful! Don’t act like you think you’re beautiful! Bring home the vegan bacon! Fry it up in a pan!
Be, be, be, do, do, do.
The “rules of ladies” change from generation to generation, but the list grows ever longer. It is a rare and lion-hearted girl who can avoid the angst of reaching for perfection. I have yet to meet that girl…among humans.
When it comes to cats, however, confidence is queen – and the lessons are legion.
Our etiquette coach today is one of the ladylikest ladies of all. (No, that is not a word. No, I do not care.) You know Lacey is a lady from the moment you lay eyes on her. She’s a torbie: that’s tortie over tabby – kind of a Monet swirl of siennas and reds and russets. Due to some fun genetic tricks, torbies, torties and calicos are only male in rare and awesome cases (1 in 3,000, to be precise).
But it’s not just the torbitude that makes Lacey a lady. Our moon-faced mademoiselle wears her womanhood like a cloak of many colors. With a perfectly round mug and an ever-present Mona Lisa smile, Lacey exudes a loveliness to put Princess Diana, Princess Kate and even Princess Zelda to shame. It has little to do with her looks and everything to do with her essence: a grace, a warmth, and a contentment in all circumstances.
And lest you think Lacey’s ladylikeness comes easily, she’s seen her share of “circumstances.” Honestly, Lacey’s seen an entire sorority’s worth of stinky circumstances. No cat should have to endure all our gracious girl has seen.
First came The Injury. We don’t know exactly where it happened in Lacey’s past, or how it all went down, but something – something very, very bad – befell our girl years before her Tabby’s Place time. The Injury left Lace with a funny gait, partial incontinence, and chronic, painful constipation.
Adding insult to The Injury, Lacey was left to recover outside and alone. While it’s not impossible she was a stray, her people-centric sweetness suggests she’d known love before…and lost it. By the time she wandered into the life of a Caring Human affiliated with a shelter, our lovely girl was marked by both The Injury and the shame of having been “loved” (I use that term very loosely here), hurt, and hurtled out as a punishment for changes she never chose.
It’s enough to make a girl seal off her heart forevermore. But that’s not the way of a lady. It’s certainly not the way of Lacey.
Through a blessed series of events, Lacey made the journey to Tabby’s Place. As Denise’s faithful friend in our veterinary office, Lace is a more loving companion than any Disney princess’ macaw or monkey or mole rat could ever be. (Eat your hearts out, all you Cinderella birds and mousies. And, if any Disney producers are reading this: please create an animated movie about a great mole rat.) Despite having loved and lost, despite the indignities of enemas and litterbox discomfort, Lacey is determined to enjoy her life. She seeks love with a heart wide open.
Our torbie lady has learned the secret of contentment in all circumstances. Her sweet, unsinkable spirit offers lessons in grace for any ladies – and lad – with a heart to hear.
Seek, and you will find. Ask, and it shall be given. And, sometimes, the only “ask” you have to extend is an open heart that expects the best even after the worst.
Who you are is not what you do. Who you are is more than enough.
And always wear your crown…even if it happens to be an Alice-in-Wonderland bow.
*Thanks to one of our favorite PWhAM (People Who Aren’t Me), uber-volunteer Jessica, for these beautiful Lacey photos.