I’m inside Tom’s head these days, struggling with Book Three and how it will conclude, but I keep returning to one thought, failure.
Tom fails. He fails spectacularly at lots of things. And to his mind he’s even failed at being a cat. When he and Zachariah are in the Orphanage Tom mentions about prospective parents rejecting them both repeatedly because of the colour of their fur, ginger in Tom’s case, black in Zachariah’s. The very essence of himself, the colour of his fur, something that neither of them can control, is rejected. If they are failing at even being cats, what hope is there for them.
But that’s how we all feel sometimes, failures. Even the most confident, focused go-getting extrovert sometimes feels like they are a failure, it’s part of being human (and cat).
What can we (and Tom) do about it? Accept it, embrace the humanness of failing and know it will happen again and again. As soon as you put your ears above the parapet of your safe place then you’re likely to be shot down. It might not happen immediately, you can achieve relative success before failure sneaks up, and it will never be in the way that you imagine, but it will always be there. As long as you live life and experience new things then failure will be present.
What should we do about that gut clenching, hackle rising, tail fluffing emotion? Accept it. Accept that sometimes we will look the fool, be scared and want to run home and put our heads back under the blanket where we feel safe, and sometimes that’s all you can do, for a moment, but then once that moments past you just have to pick up your paws, dust down your tail and get on with it.
So, my advice, if it’s worth anything, is be more cat. Fail and fail again. Try to make that leap, and if you miss it and fall, get back up and try again, it’s what every cat would do. And have fun doing it.