I find myself again at this maplewood bar, a tizzy and a thousand thoughts are teeming and telling me stories about who I am. The acoustics in the pub create a symphonic cacophony, and my ears are happy. Clinking glasses, chatter and laughter echo outward from the bar and stifle the trill voices of the young, drunk girls near the dart board.
The jovial man at the end of the bar speaks loudly with his hands then casts his attention lovingly toward his date. Their eyes have love in them. They are interested in one another. It's incredibly sweet to witness. It dawns on me, seeing them together, that what I want most is for a lover to find me deeply interesting. I want to find him interesting too. His very livelihood, his art of being, will inspire me. I want to do the same for him.
All this mushy revelation comes to an abrupt halt, and my next thought: I don't find myself interesting at the moment. How was I ever interesting? I danced, read books, climbed mountains, baked with applesauce in place of oil, and I kept a harmonica in my pocket. I am in a different place now, but I find myself mysteriously longing for these old attributes, ignoring the glaringly obvious gift in front of me. Everything is new. I've changed. I still climb mountains, but I make my cookies differently. My harmonica is in the key of C now, whereas before it was F. I don't want to be a shell of my former self.
What do hermit crabs do? They abandon their shells and move into new ones. They are still the same sentient being, still the same crab. They just look different, and their circumstances are different. I don't know how often they change shells, or why, or what the adjustment period is but I think it's neat to consider the metaphor. I am a hermit crab, sitting at the bar, loving the love that surrounds me, and sinking deeper into the colorful shell that I've acquired.
The skin I wear has not always been comfortable. I wore it crooked and inside out, wrinkled and sometimes backward. Every morning, I stepped into whatever integumentary armor I needed to walk through the valley of shadows. Forging the path of personal truth, I found myself in a seemingly perpetual purgatory. Limbo was a game to taunt and tantalize the better parts of me. There in the gray, I wistfully lingered albeit not without indomitability. Almost as if in an instant, like a flash, I became aroused by the sensual nature of existing in this space and this time. This skin, this guise of my soul, houses bones of valor, an essence of love, and these celestial cells which are teeming with life. It is ridiculously inconceivable to embrace the heart of darkness without acknowledging its dichotomous nature. Where there is darkness there has been a light removed. The skin is the external vessel to contain our souler spectrometer—the innate instrument by which we can discover and measure our luminosity. Life is a dance with light. This body—your body—no matter how big or small or short or tall or wild, is the cosmos’ way of exploring itself. All melts away in the radiance of pure light. All that remains is you, undisguised.
Art by DELA