May 31, 2021 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Are you a cat or a possum?

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Despite all my rage I am still just a possum in a kitchen with the lights on.

People are afraid of who they really are.

This is something I see all the time. People get so locked up and defensive trying to be this and that.

They invent an image of themselves that they want to (or more likely, feel that they should) present to the world, and then trim themselves to fit.

And they don’t want to dig beneath the surface because they’re afraid of what they might find there.

They’re afraid of that animal lurking in the shadows of their psyche. They’re afraid of what might happen if they let it out.

Where would all that emotion and anger and rage and shame and lust all go?

No no no. Nothing good can come of that. Lock it away. Lock it away.

The way I see it, we all need to get a bit more wild. We need to let our animal out more.

And I’m comfortable saying that because we have gone so far in the other direction, that we can ease it off a bit and still have a decade’s worth of therapy left.

And there’s a really interesting question here. Why are we so afraid of getting wild? Why are we so afraid of our animal natures?

Why are we so scared of that? What do we think is going to happen?

If you say it to most people – something like, “he went wild” or “she really let her animal out,” what do we imagine that means?

For most people, they imagine something like a possum in a kitchen with the lights on.

Have you ever had this experience? Maybe it’s a Queenslander thing. It doesn’t happen so much now, but in one place I used to live in, possums would get in the house all the time (because my kids didn’t know how to operate a door!)

And you’d hear them shuffling about in the night, and then you go out and flick on the light and find a scared and blinded possum with a half eaten apple on the kitchen table. And then when you try to catch them, they run about all over the place and climb up on the curtains and cause all sorts of havoc.

They go ‘wild’.

And this is sort of what we think ‘wild’ means. Crazy and causing havoc.

But what we’re imagining there is an animal in a very specific situation. Most times when we engage with animals, we’re the big scary human with opposable thumbs and weapons, and they’re scared and close to panic.

And so when we imagine a ‘wild’ animal, we imagine something scared and panicked.

But this isn’t how most wild animals spend much of their time. Probably very little actually.

Most of their time is probably spent like cats – just chilling out and flopping around, waiting for the next feeding round.

A cat on a cushion – that’s what ‘wild’ is really like.

But when we imagine letting our own animal out – the part of ourselves that feels deep authentic emotion – that seems scary.


Because the emotions we are locking away are exactly the ones that can cause havoc – grief and rage and so on.

When we look to see what animal is lurking in our psyche we see a terrified possum, blind and under attack.

But that’s not our fate.

If we have the courage to do the work and begin to feel what we actually feel, then we can move past possum in a kitchen, to cat on a cushion.

And once we’re in cat-on-a-cushion mode, we’re able to access a much deeper, natural source of power.

So this is my thought for the day.

Don’t be afraid of your wild. Don’t be afraid of your animal.

Deep down, you’re much more relaxed and chill than you think you are.