My subconscious mind seems to be revealing the most to me lately through dreams.
In my last therapy session, I was asked what my true self was really like. I wasn’t able to answer very well. I felt like I had to make things up. Chair Girl is so elusive, and only comes out intermittently. I know she’s shy and has the potential to be very loving, but sometimes it’s hard for me to capture her essence, who SHE is.
Last night, I had another beautiful dream that answered this for me.
I owned a strange object. It was a cat made out of black stone. But it wasn’t actually black stone. The person who gave it to me explained that this object had once been a real cat, who had been killed during a plane crash (but whose body somehow remained intact) and whose owner, a man from China, had the cat’s body cryogenically frozen and sealed, much like those services that do taxidermy on dead pets and send your pet back to you stuffed and fitted with glass eyes. But this cat wasn’t stuffed and it didn’t have glass eyes. It was hard as a rock, heavy, and shone like stone. Its eyes were sealed shut, forever sleeping.
I loved the cat anyway, and felt sad over what had happened to it. I liked to just sit with it and pet it, even though it was no more than an object and could never respond or give back any love. I sometimes wondered what he had been like, and I named him Max.
One day something very strange happened. I knew Max had been dead for years. But on this one day, while I was holding it in my arms, pretending it was a real cat, I heard a small mew. I looked down and saw that Max was trying to open his eyes. I almost dropped him in shock, but instead set him down gently on a chair and watched in amazement. I wasn’t sure what to do. This was scaring me. But I was frozen in place. I couldn’t stop watching.
Max began to transform. His cold stone body became a beautiful coat of reddish brown tabby fur, and his eyes, now opened, turned from black to brilliant blue. He started to breathe. He looked up at me and meowed loudly. It occurred to me he must be part Siamese, with those blue eyes and loud, raspy voice.
I asked him if he was hungry, and he immediately jumped down and walked regally toward the kitchen, as if he understood what I was asking him. He kept looking back at me, meowing. I happened to have some cat food and he ate as if he’d been starving. My shock having worn off, I felt love overflowing for this tiny animal. I picked Max up and held him and listened to him purr contentedly. He was so tiny but so beautiful and I realized that somehow, it was my love that had woken him up and transformed him back into a living, breathing, loving cat.
One of my favorite stories as a child was The Velveteen Rabbit, and I think it’s because of the universal truth in that story: that being loved is how one becomes real.
Max is the real me. By learning self-love and self-empathy, she’s waking up and making herself known. She’s becoming real.