Chasing Kitty

Updated: Jan 9

It’s probably cliche. I am sure its going to be a lot cringe (as the kids say), and it very well may be one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had.

And I have had a lot of bad ideas.

I decided that 2022 was going to be a year of tearing everything down and rebuilding a life I want. And I’m going to document that process here. I'm a writer. I write. So why not write about this?

Let me step back just a smidge.

Like everyone else living on the planet Earth, I’ve had a rough couple of years. 2020 seemed to be rock bottom with an actual pandemic, but somehow 2021 saw the bar set so low it was on the ground and brought out a shovel.

In the past two years, I’ve divorced from my husband of 21 years (amicably…we are still good friends), I learned to live by myself for the first time ever by myself during a lock down, which meant pretty much complete isolation for months. I started grad school, stopped grad school, started grad school again, bought a house, learned to drive my very own car (more on that later), and had both the best and worst therapy experience that saved my life and also nearly ruined it. I have battled major chronic depressive disorder, suicidal ideation (and folks, I’m gonna get real taking about that), generalized anxiety disorder, and a surprise PTSD diagnosis. In other words, ya girl’s mental health has taken some massive hit points.

I ended 2021 in a place I wasn’t expecting. There is a lot going on in my life that I would have never predicted. I’m happy and sad and straight pants-shitting terrified.

For months now, I’ve known that I was going to kick off this project in 2022. I just didn’t have the structure for it. Running in the woods on December 30th, the details came to me. I suck, and I mean suuuuccck, at listening to my intuition. Because anxiety disorder makes it unreliable, but for once, my gut said “Hey. This is fucking it.”

This coming week, I will be filing paperwork to change my name to Hannah Kitty O’Doom. Kitty O’Doom is my roller derby name.

Roller derby, if you aren’t familiar, is just about the most bad ass thing you can do. I’ve been totally and completely in love with the sport for over 15 years. It completely transformed me as a person.

One of the nods to old-school, campy derby is that most skaters pick a skating name. I picked Kitty O’Doom because I am a crazy AF cat lady, and the O’Doom to a nod to a partially Irish heritage and it just seemed kinda tough. (Hearing the crowd cheer O'Doooooommmmm is lots of fun.)

I was terrified to start roller derby. I was overweight, out of shape, and didn’t know how to roller skate. Not an auspicious start.

In my head, I told myself I could be Kitty on the track. Kitty is fearless, athletic, bold, badass, and just plain cool.

Flip to 2022. I'm divorced and decided I didn't want my married name or my madien name because, seriously, there is so much patriarchal ideology around both that it hurts my feminist heart. I didn't want a name given to me by a man (even though I loved both). Besides, this was the perfect opportunity to recreate myself.

When I created Kitty, I was trying to create a person that I hoped to be someday. In some ways I have become her, in other ways...well, sometimes I'm a bit of a mess.

But I decided that all those qualities of Kitty that I longed for, I’m going to adopt full-time. So long, Hannah Trusty, and hello, officially and legally, Hannah Kitty O’Doom.

The name change will be simple enough. A little paperwork, a small fee, a probably a few side eye glances from the clerk who thinks I’m joking, and it’s a done deal.

But I have no idea how to be Kitty full time. I actually think I’m brave enough. The past two years have taught me that. But in order to be my fully, most bad-assed self, I have to know what makes me happy. Happy is not something I’m intimately acquainted with. I’ve had plenty of happy in my years, don’t get me wrong, but actually knowing what makes me happy and fulfilled and doing that, it isn’t something I know how to do. Yet.

So here’s the plan. I’m chucking everything out the window. Burning it to the ground. Letting go. Staring from ground zero. And I’m going to devote as much time as I can in the next year to figuring out what “a life worth living” means to me and then chase that. I’m literally willing to risk everything I have to become this version of myself that I envisioned 15 years ago. I’m other words, I’m putting it all on the line to learn what it is to be happy, bold, and fully alive. I’m Chasing Kitty.

I invite readers along for the ride. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a real dumpster fire in places, funny at other times, and, if I do it right, hopefully an inspiration for others that are living a life that they find they can no longer tolerate to be bold in chasing their own happiness. Life is much too short to spend it playing it safe and only half living.

A quick overview of my plan thus far:

  • Get the name change

  • Do the blog thing

  • Sell my house

  • Quit my job and replace it with remote work (selling the house and getting a lower-level remote job will give me more free in my schedule for travel)

  • Find a very cheap apartment to act as “homebase” (a place to stash the kitties and hang with them between adventures)

  • Travel as much as possible

  • Do as many new things as possible

  • Meet as many new people as possible

  • Write, write, and write some more (this blog, freelance stuff, short stories, and two books I’ve had in my head for a while now)

  • Love myself like it’s my fucking job

That’s it for now. I have to go apply for more remote jobs. Hit me up if you have suggestions. Once I have that in place, I can sell the house and move somewhere with a cheap cost of living.

I’m also going to start a list of activities and places I want to include this year in my quest.

Wish me luck, y’all. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

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