“Writing, for me, is always about truth, and I didn’t want to tell my truth.” – Taura Stinson
Fiction. Based on a True Plush Tiger.
by The Lily Maiden
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
|Let’s play a game. I’ll give you three facts about me, and you get to decide which one’s the lie. Ready?
1. I use Herbal Essence shampoo
2. I have three cats
3. I’m a Wiccan Priestess
I’ll give you a hint. I only have two cats.
If you haven’t already noticed, I like to diffuse pain with humor. It’s a coping skill I’ve learned from my dad. In fact, it’s probably the most effective life-skill my dad has taught me, and some of the best parenting he’s ever done.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, and I love my mom. That doesn’t mean I like them. They’re not bad people, they’re just not great parents, and that’s fine. The truth is that all parents fuck up their children in some shape or form.
My current dad-person in my life is my High Priest, and my mom-person is one of my fellow Wiccan Seminary students. I highly doubt they know that’s how I think of them. Sometimes I want to tell them, but I don’t. That’s my personal truth, but it’s not theirs.
My Archpriestess teaches her students that truth is relative. No two realities are ever the same. No one who is actively trying to change the world sees them self as a villain. Frequently though, those of us who are trying to change ourselves think we’re the enemy that needs to be vanquished. Or perhaps it’s the monster inside us that we despise.
It’s often difficult to distinguish between the demons within us and our whole selves, but if we are able to separate the two, it’s much easier to fight.
I often think about The Life of Pi. In particular, I think of the scene in which the tiger hangs off the boat. Pushing the tiger into the sea to drown would have been so simple, and the story would have ended there. Yet without the tiger, Pi would have been alone. Being constantly at risk of being eaten was more bearable than being alone in the ocean.
There is nothing I understand more than that.
My relative truth is that I have a tiger within me, that I can dispel from my brain at any time, if I truly wanted to. But I don’t.
Now, the tiger naps, its furry head tucked under clawed paws. I watch it sometimes. Occasionally I want to curl up next to it. But I don’t.
When storms crash overhead, the tiger stirs. Its tale twitches and its ears perk. In the last three years though, it’s remained asleep, and that’s what matters.
Those months at a time when the tiger roamed free, slaughtering all in its path, I’d sit on the floor inside my head and listen. The tiger whispered to me, each of its statements horrendous lies. I believed them, because back then, that was my relative truth.
Today, I have a life-size tiger that lounges on my couch. Its eyes are silent and still. Compared to my inner tiger, it’s entirely tame. Often, it beckons me to curl up next to and sleep.