Obsessing About Tigers

I've been obsessing about this song:

The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child by Kate Miller-Heidke
Wade in the rising waterWalk in the sinking sand Crawl through the shadow valley To try to understand I climbed a Jacob's Ladder I fell down holy stairs I found Siddartha's templeNo answer anywhereThe minute you think you know you got it Is the minute you know it's gone for good The second you pause his claws are on it The tiger inside will eat the child Oh, oh I saw a hall of mirrors I saw a burning wheel I saw a rain of arrows I lost the way to feel I saw a million faces Stare at a fallen star I saw the last horizon The end of time The minute you think you know you got it Is the minute you know it's gone for good The second you pause his claws are on it The tiger inside will eat the child Oh, oh, oh, oh Speaking in quiet whispers  You hear it everywhere It leaves as you're arriving Arrives and you're still there You drink, the cup is empty You pour, the cup is full You'll never get to hold it It's always holding you It's always holding you It's always... The minute you think you know you got it Is the minute you know it's gone for good The second you pause his claws are on it The tiger inside will eat the child Oh, oh, oh, oh

This video is of Kate singing the song at TEDxSydney:

I love what she says about the "cannibal tiger"!

There are two versions of the song. The first is on Kate's album Nightflight. This version is sung in a style similar to most of her music - her voice is absolutely incredible and she does really interesting things with it. She does this neat thing like a screechy-tweety-something with her hand over her mouth - just before the "whisper" part.

The video for it is animated with cute characters and kind of hints at the idea of animal totems and inner beasts.

The second version is on her album Liberty Bell, (Fatty Gets a Stylist) and if you didn't know it was the same singer - you'd never guess. Her voice is so much deeper and edgier. The song feels so much harsher and... in your face.

I have quite a few of her albums and adore her music. It's so strange - the subject matter and her amazing opera-singer voice. But after I got the Liberty Bell album and heard the more disturbing version of Tiger Inside..., it started haunting me. When Lilah woke me at 2am last night - there was a tiger in my dreams. When she woke me at 7am, the song was playing in my head. And when I stood in the shower, it just kept going around and around...

There are two parts to this that started gelling in my head. The first, like the first version of the song, is the sadder, more normal interpretation. I have been stamping my feet and screaming "It's not fair" for quite a few years now. Various events (that I cannot write about here) that happened this summer (some good, some bad) left me feeling like I was spinning around in circles, gasping for breath, wondering what rabbit hole I had fallen down? "It's not fair!" morphed into "I don't understand?" When I felt I couldn't possibly get any more confused - and asked the Universe to at least give me a CLUE, if not a road map... I stumbled upon an online class that is basically like archaeology of your brain. Dig down, clean up the mess, build some new inner scaffolding, and do some redecorating.

Yes. I'm ready for a new story. A new interpretation.
I love the sweet, sad version of Tiger Inside... but I am so intrigued by the idea that this woman (Kate Miller-Heidke) is so confident in her abilities and her vision and her place (in this rabbit hole), that she can make up a new identity, a new band, a new voice, and just put it out there - and yet still be herself.

I want to know how that works.

The second part to the thoughts in my head - what is rattling around from the second version of Tiger Inside... (Rattling is definitely the word for it). Obsessing... I'm not sure I want to think of Obsessive Compulsive as a "Disorder" anymore. It's always been very useful to have labels on all my drawers. ;-) And isn't that an oxymoron anyway to put the word "disorder" together with two words associated with "total order"? My OC-ness has mostly been seen as problematic because it's thought-based. In other words, if someone gets upset at me, their words will spin around "obsessively" in my head inflicting pain over and over and over... until something pushes them out. Usually some other thought. I have no way of stopping or preventing this - and I guess that's what makes it a disorder.

It's not always "bad" stuff that goes around and around. My great ideas work the same way. I've tried to explain it as my head is full of ping pong balls. They are ricocheting at super sonic speeds and it can be dangerous in there! Makes it hard to focus, communicate, or sleep! But it's just the way it is.

The Tiger Inside Will Eat the Child, put some faces onto those ping pong balls. (There's an interesting image...) and the constant spinning of the song in my head, started to create some order to the images. If the Child is the inner child, innocence, playfulness, creativity - all that, and the Tiger is that other stuff... maybe the adult part, the real world, wisdom...? They are both inside us - constantly at battle. There is always the threat that we will destroy ourselves if we let our guard down for even one second. I love the animated interpretation of the song - when the girl finally wears herself out, gives in, and is practically drowning - the tiger actually saves her and carries her to safer ground. She's no longer under attack and no longer alone. How do we find a way to cooperate with ourselves?

Now the ping pong image is changing into more of a rainstick analogy. Have you seen those things? There are multiple levels inside with different size holes in each level and different sized tiny metal balls. As the rainstick tips over and the balls make their way through the levels, it sounds like a downpour. Very soothing. From the outside.

On the inside it is crazy chaos as the balls try to sort themselves out and rush downward. So, inside my head, in my crazy rabbit hole... the tiny balls are spinning around incredibly fast until they find the right hole to fall through. Some ideas, thoughts, balls... rush around for a very long time. The ones that find their way disappear from sight - and out of mind. These are the successes, problems dealt with, or things dismissed. Unsolved mysteries, what if's?, unresolved conflicts, things to do, overwhelming obligations, other people's problems... etc.... those keep spinning around and around...

Have I completely lost you? I've been told I am "scary". Apologies. I know - rainstick - tigers - tiny metal balls - what the heck is this girl on?!

Just one bit more, OK? If you follow the image of the rainstick - the ideas and successes fall through their correct holes and are - gone. So it looks like I am holding on to the bad stuff, right? And not celebrating my successes? And I have no self-worth? In the song, she says:

The minute you think you know you got it
Is the minute you know it's gone for good

As soon as I am successful, on any scale, or level - the "ball" drops out of sight. It goes through the right hole and disappears down the rainstick. Likewise, if I solve a problem, deal with a medical issue, resolve a conflict, it also drops through. Gone. And from the outside (to the rest of the world) it looks like a beautiful waterfall and sounds like a lovely rainstorm. Inside, it's just...empty. So maybe this upending of my world, (every few months!) - the feeling that I'm falling down the rabbit hole - is the Universe's way of tipping my rainstick over so it starts again. The awful stuff, yes, but also all the amazing stuff too.

Maybe the "tipping" is my Tiger? And what I need to do is find a way to co-exist with the imbalance, prepare for the next free-fall, and just give in to the illogic and magic of living in Wonderland?