Am I A Cat?

Pretty sure I’m on my 9th life.

So I have been reading I am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki for nearly 8 months because it was just so fucking boring good that I wanted to enjoy it for as long a I could. I just kept wondering why I had chosen such a dreadful book when there were plenty others I actually wanted to read first. Well, that’s cos I am a shallow asshole love cats and I saw one beautifully drawn on the cover, so, yeah… that just proves I’m a blond at heart. I judged the book by its cover, and life didn’t miss the chance to teach me a lesson on it. That bitch.

So 640 pages later, I finally got to the ending. I was elated at the mere thought of finally being done with this book. Only thing is, I didn’t know what was in store for me: Turns out that the cat dies, and this wasn’t shocking just because it was the only relevant thing that happened in the entire book, oh, no! It was shocking because I could actually relate to it, and that fucking sucked.

I would put a warning about the massive spoilers ahead but no one reads this blog anyway, so fuck that shit.

So the cat drinks some alcohol, decides to go for a walk and falls into a clay jar from which it can’t get out. The cat describes its desperation and frustration while struggling to save its hairy ass from certain death. In the end the cat says something along the lines of:

I’m only in agony because I want to escape from the jar. Now, much as I’d like to get out, it’s obvious that I can’t. Accordingly, since it’s blindingly clear that I can’t get out, it’s equally clear that it’s senseless to persist in my efforts to do so. Only my own senseless persistence is causing my ghastly suffering. How very stupid. How very, very stupid to deliberately prolong the agonies of the torture.

I’d better stop. I just don’t care what happens next. I’ve had quite enough, thank you. I give up and relax. Gradually I begin to feel at ease.

Natsume Sōseki. I Am A Cat. 1905.

And so the cat gives up and drowns.

So what’s so shocking about this ending? Well, I nearly died once in a very similar fashion. The only difference is that, once I gave up and began drifting away, I decided to fight for my life one last time. If you haven’t figured it out already: I survived, barely.

Fast forward to many years later: What the fuck am I doing with my life? What am I expecting from it? Why am I still working at a place I loathe? Why am I pursuing an MBA? Why am I trying so hard to leave my current life behind? Why do I even bother at all? Why? Why? I feel desperate, frustrated, anxious…

Am I like the cat, just trapped in a clay jar, struggling to get out but knowing that I’ll grow tired eventually and let myself die?

Should I give up?

Yes, perhaps I should, but I missed that chance. I decided to fight back then. Whatever went through my mind at that moment, it was strong enough for me to move again, to swim upstream, to get out and live to tell the tale. Yes, I survived.

I’m a survivor.

No matter what I go through tomorrow, in the following weeks, in a couple of months, next year, in a decade from now, I’m a survivor. Nothing will ever change that. Now I just need to start acting like one.

Why couldn’t I relate more to Garfield instead?

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