When you are out of lives, the pussycat must die.

***

A couple of years ago, I realised I’d used up my nine lives. I had no more chances to mess around – and by this, I mean living the wrong life. Creating success in the wrong way. Not being myself.

Don’t get me wrong, my life was seemingly great – it’s just that it wasn’t the life for me. I was living some other woman’s life. I had always known I was unusual, weird, an alien, a misfit; highly intelligent and intuitive and insightful and destined for something great. But because I couldn’t see how to be this in a world that mostly wasn’t this, I decided I must be ‘wrong’, and that I had to join the masses on the conventional plane, on the conventional path to success.

So, I became a pussycat. I said what I thought should be said, I did what I thought should be done, I became what I thought I should be… purring for people so that they were more comfortable in my presence. Neat and preened and well-behaved so as not to get kicked out of the house.

Because of this diminishment of my true power, because I went on to do it for so long (about 20 years), I became a disjointed animal – a pussycat on the outside, and on the inside, a tiger pacing a cage, looking desperately for escape. House-trained… yet inherently feral.

Because I didn’t believe there was an escape (because you are yourself wherever you go; and if you don’t know how to be yourself, you are not yourself everywhere you go), the extraordinary energy that was meant to be channelled into being myself was instead channelled into anxiety, anger and addiction.

Sometimes something would give, and in an unguarded moment, the tiger would lash out. I’d get a slap on the paw from a society that didn’t like wildness of any kind – and because I still didn’t know how to own or control this power I had, I would retreat to lick my wounds.

Of course, this led to wave after wave of escalating mental and physical breakdowns (although no-one would have known it from the outside, because I was so successful and looked so together… oh, how prevalent this is among successful women). I overcame each, with increasing difficulty. My body, mind and spirit were literally telling me: enough. But I was not listening.

When the most recent breakdown happened, I knew it would be the last. This was my last chance to listen – if I did not, I knew that the next physical and mental wake-up call would be fatal. Either metaphorically fatal, extinguishing the last remaining flicker of the unusual transformational power within me, or literally fatal, as something exploded inside my brain or my heart.

But how to make the escape? Or, how to burn the shoulds, and emerge as myself? As that weird, intuitive, intellectual transformational leader I knew I was (and had known since I was seven)?

As terrifying as it was, I knew ¬– and had always known – what the answer was.

The only way was to kill the pussycat and unleash the tiger – let my true claws come out. Let my bite be my bite.

And it had to happen overnight. A quantum leap. A warrior move.

As painful as this would prove to be (my life did not get easier; it got infinitely harder… but it also got infinitely BETTER), I had reached the point of utter urgency where it had become far less painful to change than to stay where I was. A horrifying yet miraculous realisation. If you have reached this tipping point, you are one of the lucky ones; seize the chance for what it is – and step through the portal.

And oh, was it worth it. My unleashed tiger turned out to be a fire-breathing dragon, capable of extraordinary things.

Now, I do what I want, when I want; I say what I want, when I want. Now I am not afraid – of anything, least of all my own power. Now I have my own ‘agency’, my own authority. Now I make more in one week than I used to in a year, telling other trapped, successful women how to kill the pussycat. Showing them how to burn down their old brand so they can unleash the real one.

Only you know if you are out of lives. Extraordinary power is possible if you are prepared to step through the portal.

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