My cat Abigail looks like a bowling ball with legs. She’s very active and the vet says she’s in good health, but I doubt she will ever be waspish.

She doesn’t care.  Abigail owns any room she enters, whether she rolls in or walks in. Abigail would give the Honey Badger a run for his money in terms of number of f**ks given. You want call her fat? Bring it, because Abigail simply does not care what you think.

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“Is there a problem? Because I can give you a problem.”

I think we could all learn something from Miss Abigail. I’ll never hear her asking if her tortoiseshell coat makes her butt look big. When the food comes out she doesn’t run down a list of trendy eating rules and turn it down because it’s not Paleo, or raw or carb-free. She loves food so she tucks in.

When she’s not eating she’s sunning herself on the porch, or fighting my feet for space on the ottoman, or scratching her back on the gravel in the driveway or running in those crazy circles that cats run in for no reason that we can comprehend. In other words, she is enjoying life, and not wasting any of it feeling badly about herself.

We’re blessed and cursed with the ability to be self-reflective. I think it’s positive when it helps us be the best we can be, but sometimes it’s damaging – when we flagellate ourselves and create catalogs of defects that aren’t really defects, they’re just ways in which we fail to conform to a subjective ideal.

Vitality and kindness are beautiful, but more importantly, when you’re immersed in living, you are not seeing yourself from outside yourself. You’re not thinking about whether or not you look good, you are seeing the world from inside yourself. What you look like fades in importance to how you are experiencing your life.

Life as humans is pretty amazing if only we could get out of our own way. I’m as prone as the next person to fall into the trap from time to time … to find fault with what I see in the mirror (even though looking in the mirror is such a minor part of daily existence), instead of celebrating and improving upon what I can do. Doing is exactly what existing consists of.

So, next time I am tempted to feel badly about a new wrinkle, or my upper arms, or the size of my feet, I’m going to ask myself – what would Abigail do?

Acknowledgements to Geneen Roth who first introduced me to the idea of cats and body image.

Posted by lesherjennifer

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