Crab Cares.

So its been a while since I’ve posted anything about animals or my hobbies. Life has a way of taking off with you. I admit my hobbies have mostly fallen to the past. I have no space for caterpillars however much I miss them. My jewelry and craft center has turned into piles of disorganized clutter thrown into boxes. I have acquired a few more additions to my living loves (a snake and a terrarium of carnivorous plants) but have little space and time to elaborate on them.

I’m trying. I know I need it. For my sanity and happiness.

I did mention a few blogs ago that I was going to start teach 2nd and 3rd graders about hermit crabs. My tank is pretty outrageous and still in progress. I made up a 20 gal and took 5 crabs from my large tank and have been teaching the kids with a portion of my colony, which is now about 25 crabs large (I say about because I rescued two in very bad health and am still seeing if they live). I was wary a bit about teaching children but this class has given me so much to look forward to during my week. And I’m so passionate and enthusiastic about these little critters that it brings me so much joy to find willing and happy listeners.

I also finally made time to catch up on my homemade food for my hermit crabs. The only things I buy for them pre-made are dried seafood and other things I can’t do myself. It really gives me so much happiness to do things for my animals. Eventually I even want to be making my own cat food.

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A Loving Change.

So I don’t think I’ve written about it but I recently switched working environments and made a change of mind. I didn’t feel respected at my last job. The food industry, even just working as a barista, is a terrible place for employees. Even excluding my agoraphobia and how hard it is to be around people in general, my coworkers and bosses on top of customers are all demeaning rude and hypercritical. I can take critique. I have no problem learning under pressuring circumstances and working towards perfect standards despite being intangible. But being treated like an idiot despite being under these impossible standards is not something I feel anyone should endure.

So I made the decision to leave my job as a barista and looked into another work outlet. I’ve always loved animals and wanted to work with them. I got a job at a small family owned pet resort for birds and cats. I adore cats, but I was a little more hesitant with birds. I’ve never had much experience with birds as pets besides chickens and ducks. I used to clean emu and owl cages as a child. I didn’t think I would enjoy the bird handling/cleaning as much as the cats. But after a few days I fell in love with the world of birds. There are of course, with any area, uncomfortable areas when working with them but the joy of them is overwhelming. They are delightful and interesting creatures. Curious and wild. I love my job. Which is playing and cleaning after animals all day. Minimal human customer contact. All my coworkers are delightful woman who love animals as well. It’s been a refreshing and lovely switch. I hope this job helps me get on a new work track with animal care instead of the food industry.

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I’m learning a lot about animals. And teaching a lot. The job required a bio about myself and the animals I own or have taken care of in the past. I mentioned the 16 hermit crabs I’ve rescued and it stuck in the mind of my bosses so much that they told all the employees who have been asking me questions about them. One of my bosses asked me many questions about care and containment, all the while holding a huge macaw on his shoulder.

Needless to say I love my new job and it’s environment. I’m delighted to finally get my first steps into the animal care profession!

Mindful.

Several years ago, on mothers day of May 2011, I tried for a second time to kill myself. I managed to get myself in a mental hospital. I needed help. I was down spiraling uncontrollably and wasn’t able to even myself out.

Through a long trail of meds, psychiatry and therapy I’ve been able to get to where I am. Unhinged from the grips of all that kept me locked under my mental illness I can now contemplate it and not get sucked back under. I have nightmares still of being lost in that place and not being able to see a way back. In reality I’m far and above it. I’ll neverb e cured of my fears and worries. But. I can continue to grow away from them.

I do not like to celebrate holidays other than birthdays. The hype and the need remind me of pressures and things that tie me down under obligation and expectancy. Feelings and people that make you feel and think certain ways. It’s things like this that get me caught under my own thoughts and worries and entangle me in my illness once more. Christmas, mothers day, fathers day, whatever day. I try to sculpt my thoughts into being grateful for where I am and how I got there in my own way, everyday. These days do not represent my values but the values of others. And the celebrations run empty for me.

Instead I show my thanks in my own way. A butterfly hatches, and in my hands she stays steadily. Before I release her, I get to have with this beautiful creature in my hand and in my presence. I get to give it back to nature with awe and love. I celebrate in those moments with gifts of cherished time and photos.

It’s moments like that they don’t make days for.

Cared.

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I’m a caretaker. I’m horrible at taking care of myself, but I replace that with caring immensely for something. For a long time I put all that energy into a person. My partner or best friend. But people are continuously disappointing. I started funneling that energy into animals. Lately my hermit crabs. Before them the chickens we fostered, and of course always my cats. The energy is so intense, however, that when I can’t do everything perfectly and give them the best life it’s extremely crushing. I fall so hard and so fast. I know it’s not healthy but the obsessiveness comes from my ocd. Its lessened over the years. But every now and again I feel weighed down.

I’ve taken to crocheting my hermit crabs nets. I haven’t made any jewelry in a while because I’ve picked up so many odd jobs it’s been hard to make time. But I feel an inkling.

Muddled.

There’s always something. Today this beautiful giant swallowtail was born and released. After taking photos and admiring the beauty of life and nature and my place in it all in the moment I took it outside to free it and as some community members and I were watching sore higher and higher, a mockingbird swooped through the air and grabbed it. Everyone felt the power in the action and it didn’t sting me as much until our weekly meeting right after.

Most of my life has been about compromise and give. I’ve spent a large majority of my life feeling worthless and unsuitable for things deserved or for a life I could want to live. I still struggle vehemently with suicidal thoughts, though I don’t feel as urged to enact upon them. I still struggle with the idea that something, somewhere has to be worth all this fucking trouble.

At our meeting tonight we struggled with the continual compromise of always bending to ones will who doesn’t want to put any effort towards working with us. We have bent and strained over him because of the talents and knowledge he brings and it reminds me that we feel compelled to worship those with visible, actionable talents instead of helping those feel empowered to find their own worth. Why to we spend so much time trying to pinpoint what is capitalizing instead of what makes us fucking feel good. I spend so much time avoiding happiness because I’ve been made to feel like it’s a waste of my time when most people work their whole lives just to have a small amount of years where they just do what makes them happy. I feel like now I’ve been given a space and an environment that supports happiness and self, and deters  from the common laws we grew up with, that I should take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

I’m looking for another job because, though my current job makes me enough money to sustain me, I don’t benefit from my coworkers or the environment. I hate the food industry and food prep. I do not understand the idea that everything must be quick and perfect AND completely made in front of you. Go to McDonalds if you want 5 sec food. If you want real food, take the 10min or so it takes to make and enjoy it instead of giving bad attitudes and grief that you didn’t get it fast enough. I hate our expectations of customer service and our attitudes associated. When once my dream was to own my own coffee shop or cart I now feel like I want as little direct contact with customers and their harshness for the world. I can’t even make a necklace to sell without feeling like it will never be good enough for someone. All I want to do at this point is be the background and support for other businesses who will appreciate the time and effort I put into helping them.

I’m tired of feeling like my life is meant to be kissing ass to all those who feel like they don’t NEED my service. If you don’t need it, don’t use it, but don’t belittle the work that’s done to bring you this service.

Whirl-winded.

Things have been all over the place. Our last remaining non-community living house was vacated. We were working on fixing it up for new community members to move in but it was left in a gross shamble. One of the communities members found an aquarium tank outside the house which still had dirt and wood pieces for a habitat. It looked like it had been very recently inhabited and it was weird that they would take the inhabitant and not the tank. Or I assumed maybe the inhabitant had died recently. My partner helped me tank the tank to our room where I discovered two sad jumbo hermit crabs huddled underneath a log. It had been cold and rainy for days and they’d been left out in it for who knows how long. I was stricken with anger and sadness but immediately began researching care for these animals.

I have fallen in love with these little creatures. So cute and active. I have slowly given them a whole new environment. Researched every need and care detail. Given them a balanced and rather spoiling diet. I just want to do everything I can for these little guys. I even will be adopting two more from a friend of a community member who has been looking to get rid of hers for a while.

Their tank is still not quite done but this is it so far.

Other than the crabs I’ve been working a ton. Making money but its starting to weigh on me. I’ve been having really bad anxiety. A lot of my ptsd symptoms are increasing. Sleeping has become very hard. And despite have time, sometimes, and more money to work on jewelry or costuming, I ache and am usually too tired to work on any of it. I’m starting to not feel at home in my community anymore. The one person I was closest too is leaving because of similar problems I’m having. The two founders are not really familiar or accepting of anxiety and emotional problems. Sometimes it seems like because they don’t understand that they don’t care. And its beginning to feel like a work camp. It seems they want people who push and work as hard as they do, but for most normal human beings its not possible to be consistently that way. They push until they’re in pain most of the time. I don’t want to work til I’m in pain and then keep working. I also couldn’t even match their energy level if I tried. But remarks and attitudes they give makes it seem like nothing is ever enough. It tolls on me but I feel like speaking up won’t be understood. How do you explain anxiety to someone who has never felt it? Sometimes they seem like robots.

I am the Swallowtail.

I love bugs. I tend worm farms and frequently dig for grubs in the gardens and compost. I love looking up species I’ve seen in the gardens and picking up dead bugs to possible use in jewelry.

I’ve mentioned before that I capture and release caterpillars. I particularly love caterpillars, moths and butterflies. I love their journey. Watching their amazing process. I find the caterpillars, keep them until they turn to butterflies, then let them go. I’ve kept mostly Swallowtail varieties. Black Swallowtails being the most common and my favorite. I’d found a few Monarchs a while back but they unfortunately contracted a common bacterial infection in Monarchs and none of them survived.

I’ve been wanting to work with the shells of the pupas left behind. I love the idea of mixing nature with mechanical aspects. Plus the caterpillars bring me such joy. I want to be able to delve into the joy and expand it.

After I told my community about my pregnancy and my decision to terminate, we had a regular meeting. We were introduced to a potential roommate, who was delightful. My spirits were lightened by the warmth and acceptance of my community. The support is something I’ve needed and wanted for a long time. At the end of the meeting I went to my butterfly box and discovered a butterfly had hatched. I had a wonderful community release.