Summer of 1976. I was four. I had a kitten we named Spirit of 1976. We called her Spirit for short. She was such a cute black, white, and gray kitty cat.
She and I were walking home one afternoon from my next door neighbor friend’s house. I suddenly had an idea to teach Spirit to sit on my shoulder. I picked her up and placed her on my shoulder. She jumped down.
I thought no problem, I’ll just spank her to help her learn. I put her back on my shoulder and she immediately jumped down again. I spanked her again and continued the training.
Spirit continued to jump down and I continued to spank her. I grew frustrated. I began spanking her more and harder. Spirit jumped down more frantically. I spanked more violently.
As I got down on my knees and began spanking her the last time I used both hands. I was beating something I hated. I was being spanked with hatred at home and it poured out of me into my little baby kitty cat.
When Spirit finally stopped moving and began convulsions finally stopped too. I sat dazed watching blood trickle out the corners of Spirit’s mouth and nose. I watched as white foam bubbled out on top of the blood. I watched her eyes roll up and back out of sight. I watched her die. I beat my kitty cat to death. I was horrified and shocked.
Tears erupted as I realized the devastating results of the power of my hits. I realized I had just destroyed the life of my kitty cat, Spirit. I cried in agony at what I had done. I was confused, distraught, afraid, and ashamed.
My first conclusion was my hitting was not right and I was repeating what was happening to me. I concluded the hitting I was receiving was not right. At the end of summer I started kindergarten. That September I turned five.
This experience has been with me my entire life and shapes my values.
I continue to learn from thinking about it in as much context as I can continue to pour into it.
The experience teaches me as much as I invest myself into searching for understanding.