One of my favourite cartoons when I was a kid was Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. Each members of two groups, the good knights and the bad knights, yielded special powers and could transform themselves into an animal. Lion, dolphin, wolf, eagle, lizard, and shark were some of the animals they could turn into. As a young kid, I thought it was pretty cool and wondered what animal I would choose. But I never really got to picking one because I wanted to be many. I wanted to become all.
Us humans like the symbolism of becoming or choosing an animal. This applies to several instances in life such as the choice of pet between a dog or a cat, animal mascots for a product (think Tony the Tiger for Kellogg's), animals in the logos of sports teams, the different houses in Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series, and even the expanding Pokemon franchise. Associating an animal with our identity has an underlying psychological effect I do not fully understand. What I know is that picking an animal to represent me makes me re-evaluate my personality and traits. If I was in Hogwarts, would I want to be sorted to Slytherin symbolised by a snake? We associate the snake with negative ideas so of course I would not want to be placed there. Would I want to be put in Ravenclaw symbolised by an eagle? I would have no objection.
If I am an animal, what do I choose to be?
I am a tiger.
Solitary. Independence and self-reliance are two of my core values. I'm not anti-social. I am an introvert. I learned through reflection and introspection that most of my creative moments and ideas came to me when I embraced my independence and relied on myself. In fact, back in Preparatory school, my teacher awarded me the "Most Independent" ribbon at the end of the school year. I possessed the trait since way, way back.
Nocturnal. I find the quiet of the night mystical and energetic. My mental and emotional state go in sync when everybody in the house is asleep, including my cats, and I can revel alone in the steady, humming energy pulsating throughout the household. I could cry while writing a poem in the night. I could pull out crazy scenarios to put my characters under. I could edit my own ramblings better under the watchful eyes of the moon and the stars.
Richard Parker, the true star of Yann Martel's Life of Pi. Regal, dangerous, strong, lovable, and mysterious. Did I just describe the Bengal tiger as lovable? He was, for me. How could you not love a carnivore you spent many days together with on a boat out at sea that could've turned you into a meal but chose not to? When Richard Parker leaped off the boat to finally disappear from Pi's life, I felt a great sadness. I was saying goodbye to one of the best characters in literature yet I still wanted to know more about him. At rare times, I call myself Richard Parker. I haven't completely gotten over him.
If I am an animal, I am a tiger. Solitary. Nocturnal. Richard Parker. If you are an animal, what are you?
Featured image: Tiger by Sascha Kohlmann