Rock Lobster: Finding home

Ever since I can remember really, I’ve felt a deep sadness when passing seafood tanks full of crab and lobster in the supermarkets. The way they’re piled in on one another with their claws drawn shut, robbed of their dignity and eventually their lives, bothers me. Deeply, profoundly, seeing them treated that way has always felt so inhumane to me, so close somehow. Often times I will tear up.

I’ve wondered why it only consistently bothers me at this level with those species, as opposed to the other fish and living things. I mean, it’s not as if they’re cute, or as if they’ve ever been a significant part of my life. I’ve come to realize of late why I relate to them so much (even though they’re like, totally ugly and gross.).

In my recent leveling experience, one of the many things I’ve evolved about is my understanding and internal relationship with what I used to think of as my armor (which I now see as My Protector).

I’ve been thinking about, even though armor is meant to be versatile and removable, why it is, that when I work to strip it away, especially at the encouragement of becoming closer to someone else, it’s so utterly painful and uncomfortable and wrong feeling, and ultimately it doesn’t work.

It’s because what I’ve been thinking of as part of my armor isn’t my armor at all. It’s my shell.

Lobsters and crabs live in hard shells and must molt periodically in order to grow. They grow in spurts, much like I do, in an excruciating and all encompassing process which includes swelling themselves with seawater to the point that their shell splits and separates from their little sternums.

They then spend all their time and energy hiding in their burrows, writhing their way out, and once free of their old shells are completely fucking vulnerable until they grow and calcify their new, bigger shell, in part by eating what they’ve just discarded to nourish the process.

It takes all they have and more, as well as having the ability and instinct to create a hospitable and safe environment, to be able to live through this agonizing and dangerous growth process. And, you can imagine how painful and inefficient trying to peel their shell away at any other time might be.

Each time I’ve embarked on a dark night transformation life transition doohicky thing like what I’ve just experienced, this is what has been happening to my emotional body. It is utterly traumatic, incredibly painful, and encompasses all my resources to achieve.

I thought, when I first realized the distinction between a shell and armor a few weeks ago, that I would relate more to the Nautilus, which is a creature that moves to bigger and bigger shells over the span of its life, living inside of them, making them their home. Plus, you know, beautiful, and all that – and they get HUGE, which is something I relate to – some day I am going to be larger than life if I keep this up.

But, as it turns out, once again the universe shows me that not everything about me is pretty – and my shell is not my home, which is why trying to make it my home has failed me so.

I need to make myself a burrow. Someplace truly safe, that is mine, where I can go through these processes in peace. I understand now why I yearn so, so much for a house, a safehaven, a place I can belong, a place where I can grow and molt and suffer these tides in unabashed dignity. I thought it was about family and connection – it’s not. It’s about taking care of me.

It’s time to prioritize taking care of me. I want to build myself a tiny house, on a trailer.

It feels like the rightest thing I’ve considered doing in a long, long time – since December of 2006 when I decided to go to massage school and leave my marriage. It’s small, which caters to the part of me that enjoys working with little, and having a small footprint. It’s portable, which caters to, well, just about everything about me. And it’s cheap, which caters to my life situation.

Funny, how this shit seems to so frequently happen in Nov/December. Though it looks different depending on how I’m expressing it, I am fucking peeling apart my protective layers and literally growing out of myself almost every year when the weather turns cold. No wonder these months are always so hard for me.

P.S. Honk if you ended up with the B-52’s earwig from the title.

*HONK*!



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