Have you ever heard the story of the cat that did not know she was a cat? I heard a story once of a cat that lived its life not knowing it was a cat. It was born in the wild this beautiful Cat with shades of black, white, and brown all around her. She was born in the wild, this beautiful cat that did not know it was a cat.
She was born in the most strange of circumstances having been born somehow from a different species altogether. This beautiful cat was born to a community of dogs or so she thought.
Having never told she’s a cat, she was raised by dogs. The sad but beautiful the cat tried for so many years to bark when all she could do was meow. She tried to be the way a dog is but she could not help herself. She had to have boundaries which dogs rarely have. She valued her privacy, and liked keeping to herself. But she tried.
She tried so hard to be something she is not: she tried to be a dog because she was raised believing there was something wrong with her.
Until one day her community has attacked by a bobcat. And the bobcat takes one look at her smiles and let her be. She sees her entire world fall apart now. What was she to do? Suddenly she became aware of how much freedom she had and she did not know what to do.
This beautiful bewildered cat. This beautiful melancholy cat. She remembered though, that the bobcat she saw seemed to move similarly to her. It moved its tail the same way that she does when hunting for prey. It twitched its ears the same way she did when sensing and listening for different sounds. It had eyes just like hers and never stuck its tongue out when it was happy. She was in love. She was in love but she knew it was wrong because she was taught that the right thing to do was to bark and not to meow and not to purr.
The bobcat was male, and quite apprehensive to speak to her, much less explain or teach her the ways of being a cat, much less a domesticated cat, at that.
The melancholy cast called herself Sylvia. Poor Sylvia, she tried to be the thing the only people she knew wanted her to be. She wanted to please them. She wanted them to be proud of her. But they hated cats: they hated who she was and so she hid it. She hid that part of herself and hated herself in the process.
Years passed. One day she ran into the quiet and demure bobcat who carried himself with such grace and strength. She wanted to be that way: that strong and confident animal that knows who they are and does not hide it for anyone.
Teach me your ways, she asks him.
“I cannot teach you who you are, stupid cat. You must teach yourself to not care about the opinions of animals that do not know who you are.” Says the cat, as he swishes his tail.
I’ve tried, she says to herself.
I’ve tried to be someone I do not think I am.
I like dogs, but…I have this meow. And I have this purr and my tail moves differently than a dog.
And I like how my tail moves, and I like my meow and I think it is time find my voice and not apologize for my meow and my purr and my tail that swishes and curls up.
So I will be this, now. And maybe one day, I’ll stop apologizing for my meow.