The Red-headed Cat (or What’s Your Life’s Metaphor)

In his book, Turning Pro, Mr. Steven Pressfield (The War of Art, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Do The Work) shares a story from his younger years about this particular cat that used to stare him down when he had his dinner at this rundown rental he used to live in.

Almost every night, as he sat by the cinderblock steps out back, this red-headed cat would come out from his side of the woods where he lived and just sit and stare at Steve, as if to give the vital message of how pathetic his life had become. At this point in his hero’s journey, Steve had come to terms with his hiding and avoiding his true calling: writing books.  He knew he was making up excuses and BS ones at that.  He’s been a trucker, an apple picker, a taxi driver among many other odd jobs, divorced, and was basically watching his life swirl slowly down the great metaphorical drain one miserable year at a time.

Redhead (let’s name him that for now) he recalls, would not even take the dinner scraps that he would toss out across the distance to him. “He was nobody’s pet.” and made sure he knew it.  In this staring contest, Steve continues, they both who was boss. Both knew who was in control of their lives and who was not. Both knew who had the upper hand.

Redhead sat there there, staring, daring SP to do it already.

Redhead was Steve’s life metaphor.  He says,

“I miss that cat. I missed him nights he didn’t show up.  I miss him now.”

So, as I was making the kids’ third (and 458th) chicken/bacon sandwich for the school lunches, after frying four eggs – two sunny side, the usual for Joshim and two scrambled, Oona’s special request; as I just finished wiping down the breakfast table and by chance, glanced out the sliding glass door of my kitchen, as I looked across the crab grass and weeds growing in our backyard, I had the sweetest sight of my morning :  a shock of bright red-orange against deep, dark green. 

Redhead.   My Redhead was right there.  This time he was facing away, back towards me, and immediately I knew it was him.

And this time with a message for me: “I’m here. And I’m watching you.”

As I opened the sliding door as gently and quietly as I could, he turned his big, round head and faced me and just as he did with Steve, stared at me for a full minute unmoving as if in a dare:

What now, Chiquita?

I knew. At that very moment, with Steve’s words and all of the 94 chapters of the book, MY book, Turning Pro still ringing in my ears, I knew.

My own life metaphor was staring me in the face.

Like Steve, and I imagine like you, we’ve all had my very own version of “slow-swirl”.  Thanfully mine hasn’t been Steve’s version of miserable.  Though you know what I mean when I say there’s that empty, hollow feeling, almost like a hole in your heart from all the hiding and feeling self-doubt and shame.  There were years of not singing a single song, all because I was…what?  Afraid of trying again.  I felt and allowed the fear to take over. I’ve had my own share of making excuses. And now…

My Redhead. He’s watching me.

Of course I took a photo:

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And I didn’t wait another minute and shared it with Steve. Yes, we’re definitely on first-name basis now.

Wild

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As I Iistened to the last line of my present and possibly all-time favorite novel, Wild by Cheryl Strayed (CS), a single, unexpected tear formed in my left eye. Right there at the breakfast table while I was having my bacon, Canadian, of course, left-over cremini mushrooms sauteed in garlic butter and two handfuls of greens with homemade vinaigrette dressing.

I don’t want it to end. Too soon, it’s too soon.

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The Pleasure Revolution

Pleasure

Pleasure (Photo credit: velo_city)

There was the Feminists’ Revolution in the 60’s.

Then came the Fitness Revolution in the 70’s.

Here we are in the midst of…wait for it…*drum roll*…The Pleasure Revolution.

Pero teka, teka…

Important Note: Pleasure is not Sex.  Sex is sex.  Pleasure can be sex but it’s NOT just sex.

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Bada** Badlands!

Bada** Badlands!

I can’t stop talking about it. These wavy, smooth-then-jagged rock formations! And soil and shale and stones and red earth.

I fell in love with the Cheltenham Badlands the first time I saw it on a photographer’s website. She used it as a backdrop for the bride and groom’s shoot. It looked so exotic and dynamic and so red!

Yesterday, I finally had the boiling desire spurred by my pickled and prunned-out feelings – generated by Staycation Fever to just get up and go already!

There were a few objections. Ok, there was a chorus of it, one of those expected Tween City sounds you’ll get used to hopefully sooner than later. This made me all yelly. A few escaped BUT I caught the rest of it just as I was filling the water bottles.

“Ok, Holy Spirit, help me out here. I want this for them as much as I want it for me. We need to get some air. Fresh, natural un-conditioned air. Oh, and sunlight while we’re at it. Grant me patience, please and thank You.”

Within half an hour we were there and it was breathtaking…and yes, fresh air breath, too! It was really as red as the photographer’s images showed and those contours and jagged hills made me stay in my spot taking more photos instead of hopping around in my runners that felt slippery risking plummeting into the crevices. The kids were, of course, much braver than me. They were on the other side of the main cluster of earth in a few minutes. No, the drops were not deep so the most you’d probably risk is a broken bone or two. With the right footwear and a jolly jumping monkey’s attitude, you’re good to go!

Definitely coming back to you, you beautiful Badlands!