The Catalyst for Changing My Life
I’m in the audience of a theatrical production in Los Angeles when I remember the soft, round, Calico kitten. I don’t know what the show is or how it’s possible the audience of strangers can laugh when I’ve left the kitten outside in a downpour.
How could I forget she was my responsibility?
Suddenly I’m in my front yard, buffeted by rain. I scramble on hands and knees searching for the kitten, mud seeping between my fingers, blackening my pants, clogging my shoes. Then I see her. She’s an inert white and orange lump under a hedge. Shame grabs me by the throat and squeezes. In slow motion I reach for her.
Why is it taking so long? Why can’t my arms move faster?
Touching her is the worst part. She’s still warm. Her limp body is a rebuke as I press it to my chest, trying to comfort and revive her.
A bottle of milk appears. I try to feed the kitten as my heart beats frantically in time with the words in my head, please don’t die, please don’t die, please don’t die.
But, it’s too late. She’s gone. I deny my pain by replacing the kitten with a skinny, high-strung cat that looks nothing like her. It’s obvious this cat’s an imposter.
Suddenly I waken. Thank God! It was only a dream! Then why can’t I stop the tears sliding down my cheeks, or dislodge this core-deep sadness that sits on my chest like a rock?
Never mind. I’m twenty-three years old and I know everything.
I bury the dream with the soft, round kitten and carry on with my life as the anxious, imposter cat. Of late I’m giving my body to a man who doesn’t love me. He lies to me, disrespects me and, although I’ve never caught him, I know he’s unfaithful.
I don’t yet understand that I am the kitten I left in the rain. That I’ve abandoned myself as I act out an emotional-cycle-of-abuse.
My conscious mind is too busy defending my choices to listen to dreams and intuition. It has reasoned that, post-feminism, it’s my right to have sex with whomever I choose.
After all, I’m tough, thick-skinned. I’m not weak or vulnerable when I offer my body to a man who doesn’t value me.
Yes, maybe he is using me, but I’m using him too. I can be just like him and stand a short distance from my body as it takes its pleasure. The dream about the kitten who died works on me, nonetheless.
Interpret my Dream
One night, when my lover kisses me, I feel repelled. As if he’s intruding into a sacred space.
I determinedly ignore the feeling. Soon the discomfort becomes pleasure and then wanting.
But, why does it feel like I’m hurting myself?
That night, as I sleep beside this man, I dream we’re making love. A part of me detaches from the scene and floats above our bodies, watching.
She notices that my most sensitive, intimate female part has become a fragile, beautiful flower that my lover heedlessly destroys.
The scene no longer looks romantic. It becomes clear that I’m allowing my most private self – my true self – to be violated. The detached part of me doesn’t watch anymore. She becomes a Viking warrior who grabs the man and flings him outside, slamming the door shut behind him.
Now, I am the warrior.
Turning toward the bed I see the plundered woman has transformed not into the kitten, but into a soft, round infant that represents her. I have a second chance! I wrap the baby in a blanket and clutch her fiercely to my chest.
I’m ready to protect her. I’m ready to be an adult. I’m ready to love this child before any person or compulsion.
As I waken I want to remember this feeling, have it tattooed on the sacred vessel that is my body, because it is the unmitigated truth that vibrates eternally at the core of my being, if only I’m willing to own and defend it.
That night, I’m in the audience of a theatrical production in Los Angeles. This one isn’t a dream. It’s real. It’s a one-act play I’ve written called, But That Wasn’t Sex.
A character I’ve created named Jean takes center stage under a spotlight. She speaks words I’ve written and didn’t understand at the time I wrote them. It’s as if she’s speaking them directly to me. She says:
“No matter what has happened to me, Love is unbroken; like Truth.
“It exists on a continuum which I ride above. And when I can peer into the deep mirror that is my soul, reach my hands down into the Love and bring the nectar of it to my lips to drink, I nourish myself, I nourish the child within me, I nourish the world.
“Drink mother, sister, woman, child. Drink the Love.”
That moment was a catalyst for profound change and because of it I now have two feisty, beautiful, well-loved daughters with the man I’ve been married to for sixteen years.
He lovingly parents our girls, showing them what it is to be valued by a gentleman. And he husbands me. Which means he not only loves, supports, respects and protects me, but also inspires me to be a better person every single day.