This I Believe

Erica - North Hollywood, California
Entered on June 19, 2006

I believe in the power of the nemesis. In fact, I have one myself. She’s not so much an arch-fiend as she is an arch-feline, however. My boyfriend has a cat named Daphne and quite frankly she wants me dead.

Gone are the days of the mustachioed villain or the dastardly mad scientist, my nemesis is a ten pound kitty with sleek gray fur, luminous green eyes and a penchant for vengeance. Ever since I started dating her owner, we’ve engaged in a heated game of cat and, well, mouse the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Sherlock Holmes first matched wits with the nefarious Professor Moriarty.

What did I do to deserve such a foe? Simple, I came, I saw, I stayed over. I walked into territory that was previously hers and hers alone. She’s a territorial kitty and she’s also a jealous one. The bottom line is that Daphne harbors a great deal of feline ardor for my boyfriend. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to disrupt this inter-species love affair and hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned.

She’s scratched me, she’s stalked me, and she’s peed on my bag. She’s even pretended to nuzzle me only to hiss at me once his back is turned. She is Lex Luthor to my Superman, Khan to my Captain Kirk. Lucky me, I have a cat for an arch-rival.

At first I found this whole nemesis thing a little embarrassing. I mean, it’s fine if you’re a superhero, but when you’re just an ordinary person who doesn’t fight crime in a cape and tights it’s difficult to justify. If you’ve managed in your life to provoke someone (or animal) to the point where they become your good, old-fashioned mustache-twirling foe, it could be considered a personal failing. In other words, having a nemesis may be proof that you don’t know how to get along with others.

However, there are times when your adversary chooses you through no fault of your own, and herein lies the power of the nemesis. She inspires you to be the bigger person. As catty as Daphne is, she inspires me to be more human in my understanding of her and of others. Our rivalry keeps me on my toes and keeps me attuned to occasions where compassion can displace antagonism. It’s not always easy taking the high road, but there’s nothing quite like a decent nemesis to spur you on to higher ground.

I live each day knowing that there’s a certain cat dogging my every step. But instead of letting that anger or immobilize me it helps me to rise above petty squabbles through my hard-won capacity to be magnanimous.

I strive to be the bigger person. I do my darnedest to avoid a cat fight.