The nerve

The nerve

A recipe for pesto is super.

A “recipe for life” is a recipe for disaster.

Celsey is not so nervous.

But we scribble them down, don’t we, listing the intended ingredients and expected outcomes in spiral notebooks or Tumblr true confessions. We go so far as to recip-ize each other, pouring in sandstorms of sugar and good intentions, then preparing to photograph the beautiful results.

We’ve got a lotta nerve.

And it leaves us all nervous.

This much is beyond debate. But here’s where we can take a tip from the cats today: we don’t have to be nervous about being nervous.

Elsa is not the cheerful cookie we expected when the kitchen timer went “ding.” If she were a cake, she’d be a cake fail; if we were bakers, we’d be on Nailed It! (And we…well, wouldn’t have. But it would be great TV.)

Millie is not one milligram of nervous.

Elsa did not emerge from life’s furnace lightly golden browned. She did not combine the ingredients of a rather ordinary kittenhood and make a symmetrical cake. She is not her sisters Celsey or Millie, even though they all came from the same bakery, with the same list of ingredients, right down to their kombucha extract and manuka honey.

All three kittens had been rescued young, from a feral but loving mother. There was no known trauma in their tales, no evil ingredients in their autobiographies. If ever a kitten should be expected to be “easily socialized,” it was Elsa et al.

But where her sisters were sociable sprinkles, Elsa was an anxious grey gooseberry of a cat. Celsey would snooze peacefully in your presence or purr plentifully in your arms. Millie was so merry, she was adopted faster than you can burn a Pop-Tart.

Elsa…is nervous in the service.

Life hadn’t really burned her in any way, but still; Elsa was nervous.
Because being alive is fiery enough to fear you up when you’re small.
We’re all small.

Funny thing, though; Elsa was nervous but not frozen. There was none of that doubled up terror-guilt that exudes both fear and shame. She paused but did not hide; made her eyes pizza-pie-huge but did not snap; worried but did not wilt.

When one of us approached her Kitten Room cubby, Elsa would angst-up but not shut down. If you looked — and blinked, and waited, and sang in bad broken Italian — long enough, you could touch. And once you did, you’d find a naturally-anxious, naturally-perfect, sweet without Splenda soul who was exactly right, exactly as she is.

Like many admirable humans, Elsa may just be nervous for most of her rides around the sun. It may be the way she was mixed. It doesn’t mean she’s mixed-up, messed-up, or meant to be remolded into some jollier gelatin.

But awake, aware, awash in wonder.

She’s just Elsa. She’s exquisite. She finds the joy between the jumpy moments, and in them. That may be a more delicious victory than peace without pacing.

And speaking of victory, she’s already found her forever family.

So have mercy on your nerves, kittens. Whether or not your recipe makes any sort of sense, you are adorable exactly as you are. Fear not. And go have a cookie.

2 thoughts on “The nerve

  1. What a smile this brought to my face on a rainy afternoon!! Having a skittish kitty (since birth and now almost 12 years old) Chloe has come a long way but has that nervous gene just like Elsa. Thank you for the delightful story and so glad she has found her forever home!

  2. Yes, Angela. What a sweet story – and such a special ending – Elsa has been adopted. Her beautiful little timid face! We love those less than confident kitties – knowing that usually someday they will look you directly in the eyes and say “Thank you – for letting me be myself and blossom at my own speed.” Ours was called Squirt, and he lived more than 19 years as one of the world’s best cats.

Leave a Reply