From the love of a kitten to the birth of a CatShop.
From the moment I left teaching, to now, I have been (am) a little bit terrified. I was fearful of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘when’ and ‘how will I?’ etc. etc. in terms of the shop, my life, my everything. As a precocious 14 year old, gorging on quotes-that-will-change-your-life-but-don’t-yet-mean-anything-to-a-child-with-no-actual-life-experience, I remember pondering on the one about how ‘anticipating death is worse than death itself.’ OK, so it’s not quite the same – BUT, the limbo stage in life – for anyone – is a pretty grim time, whether it’s because you have no direction, are feeling aimless or waiting for an answer or for something to kick-start your life into action… Irrespective of what that is, it’s a pretty lonely process.
I had no direction when I left – in fact, I was ill (let’s call them ‘duvet days’), so I really wasn’t thinking of an alternative other than the life and reality I was comfortable with and knew. But, coming out of that life and dealing with a shrinking world (that was so unbelievably hard) and grieving over the loss of identity (harder still), I knew it couldn’t (and was hoping it wouldn’t), carry on forever.
But, as these things happen – from falling in love with my cat (you know, to look at, he’s just an ordinary-run-of-the-mill-moggy, BUT HE HAS A LOVE HEART IN HIS MOUTH..?! (So not so ordinary)), to running a shop, based wholly on my cat and his likes, it’s all just been a *little bit of a scary process (ahem, *very).
Over that period of time, I needed to do one thing that was necessary, one thing that was routine and one thing that was enjoyable. Needless to say, I bought a lot for my cat and my house (oh and for me too) and this was all part of a justifiable ‘therapy.’ Frustrated by having to go to a million different shops for my cat’s food, toys (known to any cat-lover as essentials) and general cat-stuff, I drove past a fabulous dog shop, Betty & Butch. It was like an epiphany; as far as I knew, there was no cat-equivalent – and that was what I was going to do. I’d discovered my ‘out-of-jail’ card and immediately I felt giddy at the thought of a potential remedy. Serendipity. SuperDude and his magic powers struck again (let’s call him Renaissance-Cat, for this bit)!
And that was it. I now had a purpose; a re-birth and having visualised the end product, all I needed to do was understand the process. Obviously, that was easier said than done; I knew nothing about running a business, but I was keen to kick-start the idea to life. I was going to be a student again and the desire to take on a conventional sit-behind-a-desk-and-learn was a very exciting prospect! (I know as teachers, we’re always learning, often in unconventional and unpredictable ways, but this very black and white method of learning seemed to invigorate me). My thirst for knowledge was keen and excitable. I was going to learn and live again.