She focused on commerce, not caring.

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Yoshi with a toy. Photo by author

What would you do to save a pet that you loved? If you’re like most people, you will do whatever you could, but sometimes some things prevent you from saving their lives.

When I say I loved my cat Yoshi more than anything in the world — it isn’t an exaggeration.

I’m not wealthy; I never made it in Hollywood. I’m not married or a mom, but I had a Yoshi. Not everybody gets a Yoshi, and I’m so grateful that I got to be his cat mom.

Yoshi made my life feel special.

For my boyfriend, Andy, and I, our lives centered around Yoshi. When he started to demand breakfast as well as dinner, an extra meal was added into the rotation; when he began to yowl at night, we tried leaving the light on to help calm him, and when that didn’t work, we lived with interrupted sleep and with the anxiety we had when his yowls sounded as if he was being tortured. …

Josie is Top Cat at our house, and she takes her job seriously.

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When Yoshi was Top Cat, he had a very claws- off approach and left everyone — including the humans to govern themselves. However, now that Josie is the boss of everyone, things have changed, and she’s a much more intense leader.

If someone doesn’t know she’s the household’s alpha cat, she lets them know fast. She has no problem giving someone a swat or biting them on the elbow to let them know they better hop to it.

Josie takes her job seriously.

Her governing body extends from the front door through the house (except for the bedroom where Allie lives) to the end of the house at our sliding doors. …

You’ve got to make an effort to stay creative.

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Photo by Christian Chomiak on Unsplash

Are you as creative now as you were as a child? The answer is probably not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a vivid imagination, see the world with wonder, and develop creative solutions for everyday challenges.

As we age, some of our talents, abilities, and how we do things changes or disappears. I can’t run up or down a flight of stairs. Now, I take one step at a time, holding on to the handrail to not slip. …

I’ve learned many lessons from the narcissists in my life.

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Photo by Patrick T'Kindt on Unsplash

I’m not a psychologist or a therapist, but I know a lot about narcissists. My expertise comes from the narcissists I’ve been involved with throughout my life.

My mother was my first narcissist, so you think I’d have trained myself on how to identify and avoid them, but that wasn’t the case. I’ve had narcissist friends, partners, dates, and even co-workers.

I’m apparently a slow learner when it comes to narcissistic people because I kept needing to learn the lesson that they were toxic over and over again. …

If you choose not to live with cats, you’ll miss out.

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Carlos in kitty condo. Photo by Christine Schoenwald

For almost my entire life, I’ve lived with cats. I almost said I had cats, which implies ownership, and that idea doesn’t fly with cats. Humans may believe they own cats, but the reality is, cats belong to themselves, not to us.

However, if you want to feed them, take care of their every need, and love them — that’s okay; they’ll allow you to do so.

Cats have a reputation for being self-centered, aloof, and unaffectionate, and some are. Still, even the most independent cats are constantly giving you gifts, even if those gifts aren’t obvious.

Since my mother is a huge animal lover, we were always taking care of at least two or three cats. …

What’s in a name? Just about everything.

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

We have many names over a lifetime: formal names, nicknames, married-names, legal names, and names of endearment. Sometimes a certain name will affect how we interact with someone, hold ourselves, or affect our mood.

When I look at my name and the names I had in the past, I see a picture of who I was then, who I am now, and who I’ll be in the future.

Your names tell your family history.

I was named after my two grandmothers, Christine and Margaret, but almost everyone called me Chris, even my parents, when I was growing up. …

14 Personality traits of a female-identifying narcissist.

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Photo by Anita Jankovic on Unsplash

You don’t know how it happened, but somehow you let down your guard, and a narcissist slipped into your life. You’ve been burned before, and you’re educated on their behavior. What threw you this time was that the narcissist was a woman.

Many people assume that narcissists are all men, but narcissism has no gender bias. Men, women, non-binary, intersex, transgender, and genderfluid — anyone can be a narcissist.

Narcissists are our mothers, sisters, aunts, bosses, co-workers, friends, spouses, and partners. …

Your pets have an afterlife too.

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Picture of Yoshi by Christine Schoenwald

“Yoshi and Ray are enjoying eating ice cream,” Frankie (not her real name) said. “Yoshi admits he never ate ice cream when he was alive, but in the afterlife, he can’t get enough of it,” Frankie* continued.

Yoshi was my cat who died the week before, Ray, another of our dearly departed pets, and Frankie, a pet-communicator (aka pet-psychic) I’d booked a telephone session with.

I was in full-on-grief-mode and thought hearing about Yoshi’s life after death would help. And it did somewhat.

I’m somebody who believes in psychics, empaths, and those with special abilities, but I’m not an idiot. I know some prey on vulnerable people to make a buck, and someone grieving over a cat is a prime mark. …

It took me decades to realize it wasn’t funny at all.

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Photo by Savannah Class on Unsplash

Trigger Warning: this article contains descriptions of sexual assault that may not be suitable for all readers. Fearless community, please read with care.

I was sexually assaulted in the middle of a sunny day, and no one, not even myself, took it seriously.

This was back when Hollywood was sketchy but full of interesting people (i.e., con artists, failed actors, prostitutes, pimps, and the mentally struggling). I worked at a bank on Hollywood Blvd, right in the middle of Hollywood’s inherent chaos.

I never felt as if my life was in danger, even when waiting for the early-evening bus in partial darkness though I held my purse old-lady-close to me and wore running shoes in case I needed to sprint to safety. …

It’s that thing you do!

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Photo by Krzysztof Maksimiuk on Unsplash

Do you know what your thing is? No, I’m not talking about a body-part or a character from The Addams Family; I’m referring to that thing you do, which is part of your personality and daily life and gives you purpose.

There’s a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire surrounding the emergency vet’s office, and sloping upward from the fence is a small hill that ends at the highway. There are a few scraggly trees, but it’s not a nature-friendly place, and yet, there are creatures that call that small patch of land home.

We were sitting in our car in the veterinary’s parking lot, waiting to hear about our cat’s diagnosis, when we noticed a possum perched on the fence a few cars down from us. …


Christine Schoenwald

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm.

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