Freeplaylife Challenge:: Week 19!

July is the month of inspiration here at freeplaylife! I’ve noticed that the more I surround myself with the words/music/friends/knickknacks that inspire me, the better my day seems to go. And I’ve just spent the last 14 days neck deep in moving everything into storage, (which makes for some craptacular days!) so I don’t say that lightly. Even moving goes better with some kick ass dance music, great food (tacos!) and drink (banana bread beer!) on breaks, and supportive friends (facebook!) cheering me on.

Last week’s challenge was to inspire yourself in some way. And you guys killed it. Some people chopped their hair off, others did some crazy extreme sports, some went back and found pictures of things they’d done in the past that inspired them even today. If you haven’t already, find a photo of you being badass and make it your facebook profile picture! I’ve loved seeing them all.

This week we’re going to find our inspirational animal. Animal guide, animal totem, whatevs you want to call it. There are two kinds of animal guides…the ones that choose you and the ones that you choose. My animal totem the octopus chose me. But it was a process and it took, like, 6 months for it to make an appearance. Since we don’t have that much time, you’re going to choose an animal that inspires you for some reason(s).

Even though I already have an octopus to remind me daily about lots of things that octopi totems signify, I have another animal that I’ve chosen to admire and emulate. And even though I’ve made her nickname “Fucker!”, that animal is my kitty Honey Badger. Remember her?! She doesn’t give a shit.

Like, literally, she. doesn’t. care. No fucks are given with this one. I am now one of those people that spend time looking at lolcat memes and laughing till I cry. Before, when I had a dog, I didn’t get it. Now that I have a cat, I get it. Cat ownership is a totally different thing than dog ownership.

Honey Badger likes to hide on top or under things and then attack us furiously when we pass by.
She howls at the door till we let her out or in.
She howls at her food dish till we fill it.
She walks away if we touch her without her permission.
She forces her way under our hands if we don’t touch her and she wants us to.
She pretty much has the run of the house.
She looks for neither approval or permission in anything she does.
She gets her own needs met.
She knows what makes her happy.
She is very clear about her emotional state.

It was hard to go from a people pleasing dog to a self pleasing cat, I’m not going to lie. Cats do whatever the fuck they want. If a dog did half the shit cats do, he’d be euthanized as a menace.It was a tough transition for me, and I wasn’t really sure I liked her (aside from being the cutest thing on the planet!). I wanted her to know I was in charge. I wanted her to show me some appreciation and respect by doing what I wanted. I expected her to be happy if I was happy. I was beside my self when I realized you don’t teach cats to “heel”, “drop it”, “down”, “sit”, or “stay”. Cats do whatever the fuck they want.

I had a moment of clarity about it one day when she was glaring at me unabashedly.

I actually said what my parent’s would say to me when I was little.

“Wipe that look off your face!”

omg omg omg omg

It clicked.

Everything I hated about this cat were actually things that I always wanted to do but couldn’t. I was taught to be nice, be quiet, be still, be obedient, be polite, be pleasing, be submissive. I was taught, through school/church/family/society at large, to give lots of fucks about all that shit. And here I have a kitten who at 6 months is more self advocating than I ever was.

She became my hero.

She inspires me every day.

Every day I come across situations where I think, “What Would Honey Badger Do?” and it’s made my life so AWESOME! Honey Badger has no guilt, shame, or obligation…but she has plenty of decency, dignity, love, and fun.

When I grow up I want to be her.

What animal inspires you? What do you connect to? A free song bird? A playful puppy? A serious owl? Why do you connect to it? What do you learn from it? How can you incorporate it into your life more…through jewelry, or a permanent marker doodle on your knee, or pictures on your wall? Make that animal very prominent this week. Emulate what it is you love, admire and appreciate about it. Let me know how it goes!

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5 Comments

  1. Brittany Dubya /

    Wow, yes! I love your clarity. I love your clicks. It makes me really want to dig in and make some contact with a totem who chooses ME. For now, I totally choose the killer whale (preferred to calling it an orca). There is this Neko Case song where she sings, “you know, they call them ‘killer whales,’ but you seem surprised when they pen you down to the bottom of the tank. They took half your legs and both your lungs.” The name, the smile, the black and white, the friendly appearance… and the power.

  2. My animal totem chose me… I always loved animals like dolphins and butterflies, but got chosen by a dragon ;) It told me it was time to connect to the power within me & stop looking for others to fill the empty holes… powerful shit. I’m up for the challenge… which is an important way I’ve inspired myself lately… by stepping up.

  3. I chose Mama Grizzly one day in therapy, and she has let me know since that she was always there, just waiting and helping and watching. I work with her a lot. I think of her a lot. I journey with her always. She has been steadfast. Blue Heron seems to be hunting me down lately every time I turn around. Seriously. She and I have some work to do evidently.

    :)
    Jen

  4. So I’ve given it thought like I said I would, and I still think my totem is the Wolf. :) I first noticed I was drawn to wolves when I was about 15 or 16…I even got one of those woven throw blankets with wolves on it for my 16th birthday. High school and college got tough and I pretty much forgot about it all until I met my now-husband, who likewise loved wolves. He had actually done a process to discover his totem as well, found the wolf, and totally came to own it: he wore a wolf belt buckle, ‘Wolf’ was part of the name he used on the Internet, he had lots of posters and such of wolves. They were important to him. It really does define him well–fiercely loyal and dedicated, he’ll fight to defend whatever he holds dear. After he proposed, I bought him an engagement gift: a nice pocket watch that I had a wolf’s head engraved on. He started a photography company named for the wolf. It’s now become our family totem, such that when our family room had to be renovated because of extensive water damage, we redecorated and dubbed it the “Wolf Den”. It’s filled with all of the wolf-stuff we have between us, including a wall hanging tapestry and a feathered mandala depicting a mated couple and their pups. The wolf in general has just become a big part of our lives together…hence even the name of my blog and my handle. *L* :)

  5. Leah Burke /

    Ever since my baby girl was born (now 5!) I have a love for butterflies. They are so amazing in how they can turn from a creepy little caterpillar into something so beautiful. Not only are they full of beauty in appearance but I love to watch them dance in a way that is completely free. They are light and not bogged down by the trials of life…they just live, or so it seems.