so a cat sweater walks into a bar

By Laura D. Testino

Some days you feel inadequate. You’re excited about the future, so you look at your possibilities, and you see the successes of other people and you feel like you maybe could compete with the lint in their bellybutton (which probably doesn’t exist, because why would successful people not take care of that?).

But you do know that you at least exist so you begin to look back on how you’ve filled your spaces. And life becomes not so ominous.

Two years ago I revamped this blog from an introductory journalism course assignment into a place where I could write for myself and display for others all the ways I’ve filled my spaces – usually with words or pliés or puppies. To commemorate two years of this space, I looked back on my first post, where I talked about the Southern Snowpocalypse of 2014 and finding my first grey hair. At the time, I wrote that I was wearing my cat sweater.

I probably chose to bring the thing back to school with me after Christmas because how cool am I, at 19, if I’m too independent for any man (boy?) and also a cynical writer who wants to grow old all alone with all her cats and has a sweater to prove and advertise that sad, sad, bitter fact? (Ice cold.)


But then I laughed, as you do when you remember that life is unpredictable and full of surprises, like a wonderful serious boyfriend who lives in New York. So maybe my deepest, inner soul wants to be a cynical writer one day, but living with cats just isn’t my scene any more.

Although, apparently, the cat sweater still is my scene, because I wore it to my first New York party at a whiskey bar near Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve.

And let me tell you, nothing is more liberating than wearing a cat sweater and jeans when everyone around you is Spanx’d into a 12-dollar pleather mini skirt from Forever 21 that they bought to wear once on New Year’s Eve before drunkenly cutting themselves out of it and hurrying to attend to their sequined-scratched armpits during the first dawn of the new year.

Try it once, then you can go back to the Spanx and pleather without any judgment (as I probably will do).

But I digress.

I wore my mother’s cat sweater and still felt independent. Independent and courageous enough, even, to introduce myself and schedule a tour at a magazine company for the next Monday.

Which was a grand ol’ time (although not a cat-sweater-wearing event) and motivating and full of real-life advice and many other opportunities.

So thank you, cat sweater, for sticking by me through and through. For giving me courage and independence. For always making me feel a little bit more adequate.