A small, feral cat lives in a space near my house. As a cat lover, it breaks my heart that it could be cold, hungry, and lonely.
But this was a cat I had caught and brought into my home. It was warm. It was fed. It was protected.
But what it wasn’t was free. It surprised me that the feral cat wanted out, but I appreciated the deeper lesson that sometimes things don’t want to be ‘saved’. They want to be free, accepting all the risks freedom entails.
And though others might not understand my decision, I felt I had to release it back outside while it still had its habits.
From my parents’ view, ‘freedom’ was a little moment of time only in childhood. Or the freedom to be hungry, or homeless.
But I saw freedom as the ability to live as myself without having to change, fit or become something fake.
Over the years and failures in my own attempts to find the elusive Steady Job, I began to associate the requirements of a regular job with being in a golden cage.
And over years of trying to change, fit, and become ‘less’ to be an acceptable employee, I lost the ‘edge’ of my instincts, and became uncertain, cautious and way too dependent on others.
The cat living outside reminds me that maybe I do not need a Steady Job.
What I do need is my wits to be sharp for the winter. To have the skills to be able to get what I need for myself and my family. To make a sheltering home from my own ingenuity and effort.
To be guided by the real me.
And to be free.