A Study in Perseverance

Blog Post created by Giulia Champion on Jun 13, 2020

We have two cats.  One spends most of it's time inside, but does enjoy some outdoor activity especially if we're out there with her.  She's a bit of a scaredy cat.  Interestingly she was born and raised outside before we rescued her.  Her hunting abilities are limited to butterflies and small lizards.


Our other cat was a pampered indoor cat we rescued.  She is the killer.  She takes down squirrels.  She's the one that would prefer to spend all of her time outside.  Her name is Pillow.  Because - aside from when she's killing things - she's the most loving, gentle, soft create you could ever put your hands on.


Miss ingenuous genius has now figured out how to open the cat door from inside when it's locked.  You can lock either side (separately or together) so they can't push their way through.  It's handy at night when one is in and the other out for a late night mole snack.  Or if you're mopping the floor and want to keep them both out.  Eventually the outer one decides to come in late for a bit of R&R and then they're both locked in for the night.  Safe and sound.  That's our aim at least.  HA!


In this case Pillow was in and locked in.  I went out to the hammock for a 1 am soaking up of the eternity.  The glorious coolness of the night with it's attendant whisperings, croaks, rustlings and exquisite mockingbird's nightly solo symphony of a hundred different songs.  And at some point I was nudged.  By Pillow.  "How odd," I said to myself.  I thought she had been locked in for the night.  So I picked her up and brought her into the house.  That was the end of my respite, but I was ready to come in anyway.


But not quite ready for bed.  And I was in the kitchen doing some last minute clean up and hear her banging the cat door trying to exit.  Which I've heard before and wondered about, but never paid any attention to.  Until now.  And so I watch.
This lady is usually very vocal in her frustrations with not being allowed to go out.  Much yowling.  For a LONG ANNOYING TIME!  Not on this occasion.  I watched as she kept attempting to pull the cat door IN, because that's the only way it was set to swing.  She couldn't push it out with her head the way she normally does.  So she figured out another way.  And she kept at it until she DID.  She managed to pull it in enough to get a foot under.  And then an arm and then when it was wide enough open for her body she glanced back at me with a look I'll never forget.  It was a grin with a bit of an FU and a wink attached.  It was a glorious expression and moment.    She KNEW I could have stopped her at any time.  I didn't have to stand there and watch, I could have just admonished her and scooted her away.  And as she disappeared into the night - I just marveled and chuckled. 


I knew she'd eventually figure it out because I'd heard her at it for months.  Just had never watched the process.  And suddenly I realized I wasn't crazy after all.  She HAD been locked in when I went out to the hammock.  And so she'd figured out how to escape twice.  And now, of course I know she's an escape artist.


This isn't quite a shaggy cat tail story.  It does have a point.  I saw her determination and thought of my own - when I quit.  And the point is - perseverance, determination and ingenuity.  And that's exactly what we need to have when we undergo this quitting process.  We have to keep at it until we achieve it.  And if one method doesn't work, then we have to try another, and another and another.  We need that kind of determination, that kind of perseverance and that kind of ingenuity.  If cold turkey hasn't worked, nor an NRT,  we need to find another way.  If turning to vaping hasn't worked, then we need to find another way.  There IS a way out of this addiction.  Really there is.


One of those ways - is a support group.  Like this community on EX.  People who have been through it.  All of it.  All aspects of it.  Who have failed and returned to conquer.  Their wisdom is invaluable.  


But also, you need persistence and perseverance.  They're not the same.  I like this particular definition of the two:  "Persistence:  firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty...."  "Perseverance:  steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success."  (emphasis mine)


Both of them speak of "in spite of difficulty" but there's a subtle difference.  I think we need one or the other (though both wouldn't hurt!) as a necessary ingredient in our quitting program ingredient mix. 


Find your way out of the cat door.  Doesn't matter how.  Just figure it out.  And be free.  Persevere.