If I had a cat’s nine lives...

If I had a cat’s nine lives...

A Chapter by PurpleMuse

If I had a cat’s nine lives, I would tell you that in the first I was a Disney princess. I had a good home and a calm happy family...


When I was nineteen, my sister died in my arms. She had been diagnosed with cancer just months after my eighteenth birthday, and rapidly wasted away before me. The tumor behind her eyes horribly disfigured her face, and turned a lovely blonde-haired, blue-eyed nine-year-old girl into something heart-wrenching to look at.

That spring, May of 2006, marked a low point in my life. My parents divorced. The fiancé I had lived with (yes, in sin) became an alcoholic who stole my money, crashed my car, tried to cheat on me with my next door neighbor and eventually walked out of my life…and I was so desperate at that point for any pillar to cling to that I begged him in tears to come back.

Times like those, your true friends stand out starkly against the black yawning pit of your life. It was my mother who picked me up off the ground and sent me on the most extraordinary journey of my life.

I moved to Mexico. Yes, the hateful, third-world-country of spicks and w******s…that awful place some say we should send “them” all back to.

I had a friend through our church whose mother ran a boarding house/family restaurant in Mexico City, and they took me in, though I spoke no Spanish, and for $200USD a week I had two meals a day and a comfortable furnished room.

Quickly I learned enough Spanish to get by. I could order food or ask my way around the city. I heeded the warnings from my friend and never took taxis alone, or stayed out past sunset.

Despite being an American woman alone in an infamous kidnapping zone, I never had any trouble. When men whistled or shouted compliments, I smiled and waved…then looked straight ahead and walked on. I never showed fear, even when I felt it.

In fact, the only time I was ever really fearful was when I passed by the police station. Officers in Mexico City are well-known for being corrupt, and it was eerie the way they eyed me…a cold chill snuck up my spine as though greed and vice had so drenched them it was coming out of their pores…

The rest of the time I got along quite well with “the natives”. I tipped generously, but not too generous - to show I was good-hearted but never display that I was wealthy by Mexican standards. I traveled a lot. I saw all the street art in Coyocan, visited the house of Cortez and Casa Azul (the home of Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera). I saw museums and festivals. I stayed away from drugs and the music scene.

The bright colors, rich foods, gleaming white smiles against dark skin - it all drove home to me that this was a different place; a new place…somewhere I could make a new beginning. And as my heart reawakened and began to heal from what it had lost…I created that new beginning.

It came with the urging of my friend from church, who volunteered at a mission in the heart of Coyocan. He urged me again and again to come, so at last I did. We handed out booklets of scripture to passersby, and although I did not speak enough of the language to tell people what wisdom was in that book, my friend soon learned the more shameful truth - I had never read it in English either.

“You’ve never read it??” His shocked face soon darkened further with turned down brows. “You must.”

His English was pidgin and my Spanish was worse, but we managed to argue over it all day. And the following morning, I enrolled in class at the mission, learning for the first time what my religion was REALLY even about. A discovery that changed the path I was on - and one that has shaped irrevocably the rest of my life.

If I had a cat’s nine lives, I would tell you that in the first I was a Disney princess. I had a good home and a calm happy family. I went to private schools, never was hungry except between meals; never cold except while making snow angels.

In my second life, I was a vacationer. I wandered without attachment throughout Mexico City - feasting with all five senses upon the innocent joy of life.

For my third life, I took up the ministry. It was mid-June 2008 when I flew back to the States, my mind and heart set with laser precise focus on accomplishing only one thing: becoming an ordained minister. 

© 2019 PurpleMuse

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Added on February 20, 2019
Last Updated on February 20, 2019
Tags: boho writo, memoir, American girl, Mexico



Portland, OR

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