Friday, October 31, 2008

Back when Sarah Palin first hit the national scene, I realized that the catty in Cathy had been turned loose. Some people have that affect on me, so the cat in me came out with claws splayed.
It's not my best trait, it can be very hurtful; I've wounded many a friend, sent unfriendly acquaintances scurrying for safety beyond earshot, and gotten myself into trouble with numerous authority figures. Sarcasm is an easy defense mechanism I use when I feel threatened, unattractive though it is. Something about the Alaskan governor immediately scared me. My therapist and I have had more than one conversation about this shadow aspect of my personality.
The cat is an image I've identified with as long as I can remember, and my father is the one I credit for that, he planted that idea in my head at an early age. Not all of my cat-like qualities are negatives, some have served me well. Some of the things I've heard my dad say about the cat in me:
“She’s like a cat. No matter how you throw her, she lands on her feet." That's proved to be a very affirming image when life "throws" me.
"She can climb a tree faster than anyone." He frequently coaxed me down with, "Here, kitty, kitty."
"She loves to curl up on the floor like a cat in front of the fire and go to sleep. She would spend the entire night there if I didn't wake her up and make her go to bed."
"Don‘t pick a fight with her. She‘s not afraid to use her claws.”
But the earliest encouragement I got from him to be cat-like was in the song he sang sometimes as he rocked me to sleep. I doubt that Irving Berlin wrote it for a lullaby, but Daddy used that way.
The girl that I marry will have to be
As soft and sweet as a nursery
A girl to call my own
She’ll wear satin and laces and
Smell of cologne.
Her nails will be polished and in her hair
She’ll wear a gardenia and I’ll be there,
‘Stead of knittin’, she’ll be sittin’,
By my side and she’ll purr like a kitten.
A girl I can carry,
The girl that I marry must be.


And may any cats who
cross your path
be cool cats.

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