The true heart of a Ninja
The other cats laughed at Kiya when she said she wanted to become a ninja. Born with too many toes on her right paw, she sometimes struggled to do normal things. But she was determined to succeed.
She worked harder than the other cats in her classes, mastering the forms and finding novel ways to wield the tools of her trade.
The laughter that had once been cruel became teasing and then friendly. Derision slid into respect and then wonder as Kiya excelled in her training, surpassing even her masters.
Today, as she stood before her new class of recruits, she spotted a kitten with a scarred face standing separate from the others, excluded. The kitten wore the same determined look Kiya had presented to the world all those years ago. Only Kiya understood how much she must hurt inside. This one she would take under her paw and nurture.
I almost rejected this image as I was creating Ninja animals. Some imperfections I can correct (like a couple of dogs with an extra leg), but this was beyond my meager skills.
The cat has a very abnormal right front paw. The back paw isn’t normal either, though it’s less obvious.
But it occurred to me that this was worthy of a story. We’re all imperfect. There are days the arthritis in my hands makes me drop things or unable to pick them up without pain. I decided to make Kiya’s abnormal paw something that inspired her to excel.
I try to take my imperfections in stride as much as possible. They’re growing in number as I age. But I use them to pivot and shift, finding new ways to grow and be creative. When one door closes, I find another and step through it.
What about you? Do you see your imperfections (and any disability that might attend those) as closed doors or doorways to something else?
Here are a few more Ninjas I created. Enjoy!