Why the Lobster?

In high school, one of my English teachers picked out weekly quotes for our class to memorize and analyze. My favorite quote which resonated with me greatly was by Anaïs Nin who said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I easily connected with that quote because my entire life I have lived carefully and in fear of making mistakes or taking risks. My own fears and doubts have often kept me from pursing goals and ambitions that I feel are too grand for me to ever accomplish, but I have since then concluded that I have made it this far to college and that in itself is a great feat.

Still I see other students around me who live their lives in a fun, social, and freeing manner and I refuse to interact. I alienate myself from others more often than I approach them out of fear of rejection. The idea is silly as I write it, but it is a genuine struggle I have and that I am trying to change. When talking to a friend about my fears he used a beautiful metaphor about a lobster to explain how it is okay to feel uneasy and step out of my “comfort zone”. He explained how lobsters have to crack out of their shells in order to grow (also known as molting), and for a short amount of time the new shell is soft and vulnerable and the lobster is at risk of being hurt. What my friend was trying to convey is that I should be more like a lobster. It is impossible to grow without allowing oneself to be exposed to new things even if doing so seems daunting. At some point you become sick of being tight in a bud or you cannot stand being cooped up in your shell when you were meant to be far greater. The lobster is not only a cool sea creature that has the potential to live for hundreds of years, it is also a symbol of something I aspire to be. It is a reminder that no matter how afraid I am of change or social interactions, this is a feeling that will pass and I will grow out of.

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