Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Hermit Crab.

I like hermit crabs. I am one. Scuttling here and there. When it's time to move to another shell you look out hesitantly both ways and then RUN FOR YOUR LIFE towards another shell. A bigger shell, a different shell ... one you've decided (after much agonising) that you'll just be better off in.

Imagine all those poor hermit crabs who are just too scared to change. They stay stuck in the same shell for the rest of their lives. They grow so big that the shell becomes a part of them or they become a part of the shell it's too hard to even know by now. Too late. They're so wedged stuck they'll just die in that shell unless they complete an angry-hulk-smash hermit crab move and rear up and break the entire shell with its whole body. Change is hard, we usually have to be so sick and tired of something until we change. All those complacent, playing it safe hermit crabs out there. Days and years pass while it tells itself it's ok, it is MUCH safer to stick it out with what you know you think you can do these things Nemo but you can't.

Recently I made the biggest hermit crab nudie run of my life. It's a brand new year now but last year after the safety of living in one house for many years I busted out and lived in five separate houses. One of those was a hotel for a while when I was technically homeless, living it up like Lindsay at the Chateau Marmont except without the booze and drugs. It was uncertain and terrifying but there was a free buffet breakfast every day and I took my regular table for one near the window and drank two coffees each morning followed by a chaser of bacon so crispy I almost felt ok about living in a hotel.

Change is painful and daunting. Sometimes I ache to go back to my own familiar shell with my familiar people and cook familiar roast chicken and watch familiar tv and go to my familiar bed with the familiar beautiful sheets I picked out and just live the rest of my life out like that. Nothing wrong with that. It would have been easier. But it's too late to go back now. Zed's dead, baby.

For a multitude of reasons I followed my instinct and busted out. Scuttled across town to a new shell, a new life, a new beginning! Wow. For about two months I was doing great .. but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such bad stuff happened I wanted my old shell back please god can I go back to my old shell. I don't like it here. It was so lonely and dark in that shell I can't even describe. The only person I could tell was my brother and he packed up all his shells for good. He don't even need no shell now.

Japanese artist Aki Inomata sympathised with the crabs who get forced out of their homes. Competition for the perfect suitable shell in Hermitcrabland is rife. Every crab needs a shell to hang their teeny crab-hat. Cook up a few Krabbie patties. Light a few crab cigars .. watch crabporn unhindered.

So Aki made the crabs some shells herself, using 3D printers, all crystalline-like. Aki made crabs their own shells. Tiny magical castles, buildings, structures modelled after cities from all over the world.

Isn't that one of the most magnificent, creative, beautiful, and deeply moving things ever?

Aki sees a connection between " .. not only moving shells in personal circumstances, but the crab's plight being similar to migrants and refugees changing their nationalities and the places where they live." A timely art piece considering half of the worlds population is on the move right now to escape war, poverty, murder, rape, genocide.

On a personal level, I'm finally happy with my new shell. It overlooks the beautiful part of town, I'm five minutes from the big smoke of Katoomba, I love my art deco fittings and the fact that I feel like I live in a hotel now because you sort of do when you live in a block of apartments. Good and rich and fulfilling things ONLY are to happen here. My key unlocks my own door, now. I'm very grateful and lucky and yes, even blessed. It's taken me a while to find a suitable shell but here it was all along. And here am I, living in it.

I'm a hermit crab and a moth and a caterpillar and a butterfly all at once. Taking risks and changing big things. It's been freakily scary and I don't want to be scared anymore.

So I'm not.

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