Why I Speak To Cats In Russian

illustration by Gemma Correll

illustration by Gemma Correll

I speak to cats in Russian.  I know, right?  Weird. Why would a girl from Texas do that?

During the ages of 11-13 I lived in Irkutsk, Russia with my family. So much of my life has been shaped by those years. When there is a bowl of soup in front of me, you can bet I will put sour cream in it. The smell of dill is synonymous with summer in my mind. I believe that eating ice cream in freezing temperatures will keep you warm and I draw a line through my ” 7 ” s and ” Z ” s.

Also, I still speak to cats in Russian. I’m not sure why, it is just one of those things that stuck with me. I wish it was a more useful skill that remained from my time there, like knowing how to tell which berries can be eaten in the woods. That would be helpful to remember. Instead it is the cat quirk that has stayed with me.

In high school I tried to be cool and keep the cat thing under wraps. I was a closet Russian-cat-speaker. I moonlighted as an average American teenager. Pretending to be angsty about life and acting like platform sandals really looked cool. ( they didn’t. The NEVER were cool. )

And I was accepted. I was accepted for the perception of myself I put out there. The bummer was that the acceptance felt really limited to me. My peers weren’t accepting the Russian speaking, politically driven, and senior citizen loving teenager that I really was.

In college it all came out. Time had taught me to embrace some of the cross-cultural traits I had picked up. I developed my friendships differently – high outer walls and low inner walls. I made factual statements in question form and tended to clap in unison with the person next to me.

I stopped hiding all the little things I was so insecure about before. Shout out to hipsters for making quirky cool I guess. I wasn’t afraid of who I was anymore. Encouragements were breathed in deep and owned because they were spoken to the real me.

When we are honest about who we really are, we can be loved for who we really are. And we all need to be loved. —> click to tweet

Sure, I am still quirky. I’d like to think it is charming in a Zoe Deschanel kind of way, but it probably isn’t. And it doesn’t matter really because it is who I am.

So many of us are surrounded by people who care about us, but we still don’t feel loved. Perhaps it is because we aren’t being honest and showing them our true selves. The cat thing is a funny example, but there are more serious things we keep hidden.

Our sins, our weaknesses, past failures or deeply rooted insecurities. Maybe you struggle with depression and are afraid people will misunderstand you. Perhaps you think your religious beliefs will be judged or maybe you are afraid your personality isn’t right.

I believe we were all made to be loved. By God and by others. So be yourself – insecurities and all – and be loved for it. And if you speak to cats in Russian too, let me know. We could start a club.

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Filed under Faith, Funny, Global, My Life Thus Far, Uncategorized, Whimsy

8 responses to “Why I Speak To Cats In Russian

  1. This was cute,and certainly unique and no….un-fortunately I don’t talk to cats.I do how-ever talk to my damn self occasionally,( you get to hear what YOU want to hear more often),does that count? lol

  2. I can mimic a cats meowing to the point people think there is a cat in the room and cat stare at me or meow back poor dogs have a melt down being doing it since i were a kid

  3. Well, that was exactly what I needed to read right now, having fallen into a bit of a vicious thought-circle over the last couple hours. So thank you very much!

    I don’t speak much Russian ( not yet anyways … it’s on my list), but I promise that once I learn a bit more, I will start speaking it to cats.

  4. “Our sins, our weaknesses, past failures or deeply rooted insecurities. Maybe you struggle with depression and are afraid people will misunderstand you.”
    I feel that way all the time. I just don’t know how to be myself 100% around some people. It’s like learning a new language to me, but where do I even start?
    I’m a big believer in being who you are and not giving a damn what others think, but some things I just don’t want people thinking less of me for. I don’t know how to translate it without them taking it the wrong way.

    Talking to cats in Russian sounds extremely cool. If you’d gone to high school with me, I would’ve shouted your awesomeness from the table tops. 😉

  5. I agree with you.

    Colleen van Heerden

  6. Reblogged this on Kaleidoscope of notes and commented:
    i don’t speak Russian but i like the point made here that we have to be what we are and let others love us for who we are while we walk on growing into what God wants us to be.. Always being considerate of others in their weaknesses and sensitivities as i be myself..

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