Meet Mitzy, our sweet, beautiful cat. She’s sociable and likes to sit on your chest while you stroke her behind the ears. She is calming, warm, and as far as cats go, very bright.
She is also a ruthless killer.
She stalks small animals, pounces, then drags them into the house to be tortured for sport. Over the years she has dragged in and tortured mice, rats, moles, gophers, birds, lizards and snakes.
Sometimes we find them partly alive and rescue them to the outside where they may or may not survive. Often we find them bloodied, missing fur and feathers, and very, very dead.
This cat is one sick puppy. I was hating on her yesterday when I found the source of a profound funk, a desiccated mouse carcass, behind the china hutch. Moments later she came in with a live mouse between her jaws. She dropped it when she saw me and it scampered away to hide under the fridge. Why do you do this Mitzy? If only you didn’t drag rodents in to play Wild Kingdom in our living room you’d be a great pet.
Then I got to thinking. She’s actually very good at what she does – I just don’t appreciate her work. She’s made the most of her unique talent – six toes on each of her paws and an instinct for hunting. This, and a lot of practice, has made her an amazingly lethal performer.
It must be hard for her to be so good at something, trying so hard to please us, only to have us despise her work. Her genius and skill are completely taken for granted here. Her offerings of dead rodent are unwanted gifts.
Hmmm, maybe I can relate to her situation. For many years I felt the same way at work. It was hard for me to find the right place in corporate America. I was that round peg being pounded into the square hole. Though there were times my talent and abilities were appreciated and put to fairly good use, most of my days were spent like Mitzy – being ruthlessly good at something that people around me didn’t value. Giving my unwanted gifts.
Over the years I’ve gotten better at finding where to work. These days I seem to fit better into organizations, though not perfectly so. I’m more like a triangle peg being squished into a round hole – only my corners are being ground down. Most of the rest of me fits okay.
This seems to be the greatest need and difficulty for Manic Impressives in life – to find places and situations where their style and talents are appreciated. It hurts to present yourself to people who don’t get you. And nobody feels good when their hard work and talent go unrewarded. Yet there we are, in the wrong places, giving our unwanted gifts. Just like Mitzy.
I hope this isn’t happening to you right now. But if it is, please make a plan to find a better place to offer your gifts. Either way, maybe I should start cutting Mitzy a little more slack.