Hermit Crabs


Amy my youngest daughter turns 21 in a few weeks. I had lunch yesterday with her. She is outgoing and very personable, loves to spend time with friends and meet new people. She’s working as a nanny and working towards her teaching degree.

Yesterday as she was visiting with me I thought about how different we are in personality.  She is extroverted and me an introvert. Once we were looking around in Hobby Lobby and she was relaying a tale of her recent adventure when she stopped and said, you know Mom, you remind me of a hermit crab. You don’t go out much, you don’t have many friends and yeah, you’re like a hermit crab.

I thought on that, it stayed with me quite a while. First I felt unsettled that my daughter saw me as that, then I began to realize how astute the observation was.

I am highly sensitive, too much sensory stimulation and I’m overwhelmed. Crowds are uncomfortable, I enjoy visiting with one or two people, three and I break out in hives. It’s been called social anxiety, but later in life I came to understand that my particular sensitivity was more. I feel the emotions of others, sometimes it’s a mood I pick up, other times it’s a physical sensation, and it’s the subtle changes in my environment, a hypersensitivity, as a result I became a hermit crab, because as you might imagine feeling waves of this is overwhelming at times.

When you really consider the little crustaceans you begin to see them as remarkable. They take what they are given and work with it. They don’t produce shells of their own, so they use what others have had, maybe a shell from a little snail. The hermit crab isn’t a solitary creature. It lives in large colonies of 100 or more animals. Really they work with nature, and though they might not swim in a school, they are social beings living in community.

I work with what’s been given to me. I choose my environments carefully and I do have community, a few likeminded souls.

Who is crabby? Me… and contented to be so. May we all be happy in our skins and see each other as the miracles we are.