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The blue cat

A journey into herself

By Emmy BPublished 6 months ago Updated 6 months ago 7 min read
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It was disgusting really, that sticky black paste he made her drink. It was like licking the bottom of an ashtray.. but more mucus-y… She swallowed, her own thoughts turning her stomach. With a breath, she looked up into Niño’s eyes, soft and brown and set in a round face framed by messy waves of long, coarse hai. Her stomach settled a little as she remembered why she was here and why on earth she was drinking this revolting black tar. The soft chimes continued to hum in the background as he nodded at her to return to her spot.

She sat towards the front of her mattress and grabbed her blanket, decorated with pink and blue flowers, holes and missing threads. She really didn’t know what to expect. They looked beautiful at the front of the room, all dressed in white. There were small altars with smoke spiralling up in soft ringlets. And there, a single candle, drawing attention to the small black cup that held the liquid vine - their connection to their ancestors. Instruments she didn’t know the sounds of were sat all around: a small brown bowl in the shape of a bell, with beautiful carvings of waves and spots; a small string instrument, giving off a sense of softness and brightness all at the same time. Ah and one she almost recognised: three little drums attached to one another, with braided strings of beads softly swaying in the night time air, making clear open sounds every time they knocked against one another or the stretched skin of the drum.

What intention did she have in coming here? In doing this? A mix of desperation and hope, a deep desire that she would finally be revealed, finally understand who she was and who she could be. She had always been afraid to try this experience, afraid to face her inner demons and know that she had been living a lie. She was scared - a coward perhaps. Scared that this plant would confirm her worst fears about her. But that was then, and she had gotten better.

She remembered that moment like it was yesterday, that moment she vacillated, the thought that pierced through her mind: Today is the day I die. She had just single-handedly destroyed her relationship (well her and her addiction), and had seen everything she thought she was and was working for crumble before her. The months leading up to this she had countless times stared into that bathroom mirror, always slightly dirty with makeup smudges and the laziness of her cleaning routine. She remembered her eyes, previously so vibrant, now vacant, glassy, tepid.

She had so desperately wanted to be the fun one - she partied until she was the last one standing, speaking too loud, laughing too much, vibrating an intensity she thought would make people like her.

She had so desperately wanted to be the righteous one, the one with a deep sense of purpose. She dedicated her career to social work, deeply enjoying helping others but still somehow feeling empty inside. She was jealous of those who breathed and lived passion, and whilst she was a good worker, she knew would never be the activist she desperately wanted to be.

She had so desperately wanted to be the French one! She was French, but her years in the States had taken her accent and some ‘je ne sais quoi’ all French people seemed to possess.

She had so desperately wanted to be the queer and proud one. But in a heterosexual relationship, she had all but lost her touch to her community and part of who she was. Yet she made a point of always bringing it up. After all, it was a key part of her identity wasn’t it?

She had so desperately wanted to be so many things for so many people, eternally chasing an elusive feeling. This feeling, she knew she would recognise it when it came, and it would come.. or so she so desperately hoped. It was a feeling that would make her feel whole - that would make her feel at home in her own skin, in her own mind. That feeling that would just be a sense of rightness.. a feeling of “Oh, there I am…"

But she didn’t die - she wanted to live and so here she was - simple, right? After walking for over a month without stopping and finally making a deal with herself: No I don’t need anyone else to love me.. for me to love me.. but still the answer to who she was and what she was for kept escaping her. She wanted more than anything for this plant people had called miraculous to bring her face to face with herself. She was no longer scared for she loved herself, whoever that was. She was only scared of not finding out who it was she loved...

In the back of her mind she felt gentle, smoky tendrils grab her arms - it was pitch dark now, her eyes only picking up small lights that seemed to dance across the open roof of the platform she was on. She was surrounded by noises of multi-legged critters crawling under the floorboards, soft whispers of slithering reptiles in the grass. The rustle of the jungle, which had come alive in a different way as the sun disappeared. She could hear the vibrating wings of the flies, translucent membranes moving all around her with a frrrp frrrrp frrrp. Her body was thrumming with the tune of a million nighttime vibrations.

And then she saw it. It was lying across her chest, heavy and comforting at the same time. Her breath came shallower. It was not quite distinct, its shape blending and melting into the night, into her chest, into the air itself. But it was there - an imposing blue cat with eyes that glimmered like sapphires, looking straight into her. Ohhhh and that feeling of relaxation that came from looking into its face, as though she could finally let go of all of the expectations that had weighed on her.

The only thing she knew was why bother… she wanted to lie with her cat for the rest of her life, not move, not breathe, just accept and mourn. Its slightly transparent body shimmered and then she could see and taste what it carried within - the feelings of shame and guilt and disappointment, the heart squeezing agony of self-hatred. She choked on it and turned her head. But it wouldn’t let her - those tendrils that had seemed so soft and gentle holding her wrists were now grabbing her face, forcing her to look.

BUT I DON’T WANT TO HURT ANYMORE ! She screamed into her mind, her mouth open in a silent wail. The blue cat smiled and the emotions she had buried washed over her, wave after terrifying wave, bringing her back to every moment she wanted it all to end. I don't want to… It was dark. It was familiarly cruel. It was oppressive and warm and violent and embracing. I don’t want to. She could taste the salty tears of her acceptance. She was back in that bed she couldn’t leave for days at a time, eyes barely open as she stared at a moving screen. She was back in her bathroom, small shards of glass drawing red streaks on her inner thighs. She was back in her kitchen, watching the disappointment pouring out of her partner, anger simmering, shame overpowering her.

Tsss tsss frrrp. There was the fluttering again, this time in the form of a soft bright light - a fairy? A firefly? No definitely a fairy - and with her, her heart lifted. An unparalleled elation took over. It was as though a wave of undiluted sunshine had shot straight into her, filling her body, filling her soul. Her cheeks hurt from smiling, the tears left in her eyes now tumbling down with joy. Finally, finally. I couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to follow her, she could tell the fairy made of light was calling to her to follow. She didn’t know where but she knew wherever it was her heart would fill with fire. With an urge to live and explore, and laugh, and live. She started to follow, feeling herself lift from her body…

just...

a...

little...

bit...

further…..

No! Her fear slammed her back into her body. What if she could never find herself again if she followed? No - I can’t.. it’s too dangerous.. and she saw from the corner of her eye the blue cat smiling, welcoming her back as it always did. She always did come back to him, to the security the darkness inside provided, the ease of simply hiding and burying herself deep. She had found comfort in sadness. No - she had made a home in sadness.

And suddenly she saw it clearly - there as no right answer as to who she was, trying to find that one right way to be. She was all of the versions of her - a sister, daughter, French, pansexual, a fighter, a lover, an addict, a woman pushing for equity, a scared young girl, an angry teenager, a positive, vibrant patchwork of faces that both complemented and challenged one another.

She sobbed - her identity was a choice! And she could choose to be joy, she could choose to be sadness. There was no one right way to be her - she was the brightness and the dark, the fairy and the blue cat.

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About the Creator

Emmy B

I write some of my truths, and use words to weave stories and ideas together. Writing is a passion and an outlet for me and I hope to inspire, challenge, or simply be a reflection of others's experiences - to make people feel seen!

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