Everything Got Easier After I Named My Cockroach
Charles the cockroach showed up while I was moving in...
In the midst of the hustle to move to my new city apartment last month, I turned around one night to view a (huge. HUGE!) palm-sized insect rapidly moving from the front gathering space to the back sleeping room.
At that moment I was ready to make an X-Men/Mystique like move somersaulting across the apartment to get away. You see to my eyes it looked like he was charging me. Booking at a Fast and Furious 7 like pace. And I was super freaked out. There's context, let me 'splain:
From about ages 5-15 I was a cold-hearted bug killer. Admittedly it was for family - for relatives that had been horribly traumatized and let's summarize it by saying that bugs were associated with those experiences. And [you can't make this stuff up] they couldn't get away from the insects as they lived in the basement of a house that was poorly sealed. Which made Stephanie the Bug Slayer a regular, if not daily, activity.
Having been a prolific and wildly effective insect killer for family as a younger, I've basically sworn off the practice. I'm now a live and let live kinda lady. As the Rastas (and shamans!) say, all God's creatures show up in The Book of Life. And there is a life force, an energy, that flows through all living things which is to be respected. Back to Charles -
Suffice to say when I saw his prodigious size and alarming speed I booked for the nearest stores and mustered all the equipment I could find to ensure that no bugs would become bunkmates. I felt terrible but I almost couldn't sleep after realizing I'd had visitors. The sense of panic and state of overwhelm continued for many days and I called several friends to review the situation, nearing a state of informal apoplexy.
(Side note: those of you that know me personally will understand how unusual this is - I simply take effective action on what shows up in my life. Sans drama. Sans consultation with 15 friends. With no need for situational post-mortems either.)
After about a week fraught with tension I somewhat miraculously found myself describing the situation to an acquaintance and started anthropomorphizing in the tale:
"Well, you see Charles the cockroach is actually a migrant. He came north from Alabama, headed for New York City to become a Broadway dancer. He got stuck in Baltimore - he caught up in the social sauce and didn't follow his dreams. Now he's a grandpa, that's why he's so big. And he just needs a life coach so he can remember to follow his heart, and pursue his passions. He's forgotten that's all. That's why it's perfect. I'm a life coach and he showed up at my door! I just need to help remind him of what he's forgotten. And encourage him to trust himself."
Lest you think there was a panick-y Steven King-like quality to this exchange, let me assure you I was lucid. And calmer than I had been in all of the preceding days.
You see, once I understood my role in the story I was completely at ease.
When it became clear to me the part that I had to play in the narrative, I was able to surrender to it and breathe deeply.
Needless to say the number of times that I've actually encountered Charles was quite small. And after I had my revelation he disappeared for several weeks. I woke up one morning to find him turned upside down in the kitchen. I called in backup and got support in safely moving him outside.
[You know, where he could effectively maneuver to the bus stop, or whatever transportation he needed to get North.]
I related the tale to my helper.
'No, I don't want to hurt him. No, he's alive. Yes, I just want him moved outside.'
This was received with gentle nods, and a degree of laughter. I share this with you to remind you of this vital teaching:
Take control of the narrative.
This is your life. You control the horizontal and the vertical. Just like The Outer Limits...
Recognize the incredible authority and agency you have in your journey here.
Oh, and one more thing. My helper sent me that pic below. Don't forget:
Connect with people who get you. Find your tribe.
They'll make the journey that much better.
With Love, Light and Laughter from Mythical HQ,