As someone who finds their space often too dark to handle, having a space buddy is mandatory for life. Sure, I could make a countless list of people who love and support me, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I still feel alone.
This is basically an appreciation post for my space buddy, Leo. I have been blessed with this cat. Some of you may not even like cats, because in one important way they aren’t like dogs: they don’t attach to just anyone. You don’t have him straining on a leash to meet other people. In fact, unless I haven’t been home for hours, Leo will run and hide from the initial contact of company.
However, there are some stark similarities with dogs that you may not have known about some cats. These are specific to Leo:
- Greets me at the door
- Plays fetch
- Loves cuddles
- Follows me around everywhere I go
- Licks my face
- Loves to play
- Guards me from the invisible
- Slays intruders (mainly bugs)
Some people may need a space buddy who is far more dependent on them, like a dog. One that they need to take on walks, and let outside. However, I find that this would be troublesome, and I would worry a lot more about the state of my apartment if I left for a weekend. With Leo, his dependence really only shows when I need it most.
When you have thoughts of suicide, some people think that simply making a list of all the people who care about you will help that go away. However, when the space is so dark, you feel like you are going through spaghettification (definitely a technical term for the stretching process scientists propose we would go through while being sucked into a black hole). It can be hard for that list to be a comfort, especially when 99% of them live so far away. The 1%, who lives closer, have lives, and you don’t feel like you can call upon them to save you all of the time. I know how exhausting it is when a person relies on you to save them, and I often don’t reach out because of that.
Here’s when Leo comes in. As my space buddy, he follows me around my apartment. More often than not, when I’m in the dark he will be there with me. Even when he’s in a different room taking care of his needs, I know that I cannot act on those thoughts. Why?Because of his basic level of dependence upon me.
Who would take care of him? Who will make sure he has enough food and water? Who will clean out his litter box? How traumatizing would it be for him to find me not alive? When he meows, who will meow back?
Now, I’m not saying that people loving and supporting me are any less valuable than my cat. I am saying that I don’t have to worry about that because I have him as my first line of defense against those thoughts. Even now, he has just interrupted my writing by meowing, which I can only assume is him reassuring himself of where I was by waiting for me to meow back. After my response, he promptly showed himself in my doorway, hopped onto my bed, and is now attempting to share my lap space with my laptop.
He’s there when I fall asleep and if I wake up from a nightmare. He’s there when I’m cooking dinner, when I come back home, and when I am working out. He’s my space buddy.
So now I ask, who’s your space buddy? It may be your roommate, your significant other, human or nonhuman. It may even be an inanimate object that grounds you when you are having a bad day, like a good book, a game, your journal. Whatever it may be, hold onto it tightly. For the space is dark and full of terror, but it isn’t so bad when you have a buddy.