Hi! My name is Rosie, and I’m what you call a fish out of water.
I grocery shop with you, we take our kids to the same school, and I laugh at your jokes. We’ve even had little get togethers and it’s been fun. But the more you get to know me, the more you realize something seems a little off-not wrong, just….unfinished. We eventually lose the WiFi signal that brought us together, and we part ways. I’m not offended, just a little sad. I know what’s going on… I’m a fish, learning how to be human. When you’re with me, I’m learning your language and implementing your culture. Further in, you notice I’m on a different treadmill trying to run the same speed. It’s fun and novel at first, but it takes work to stick around. I need you, will you stick around?
I grew up somewhat secluded and because of that, I hold different experiences, behaviors, and social cues. Your world looks different, behaves different and speaks different than the one I’m used to, and I’m uncomfortable. I’m not quite sure how I fit in, and I often question if I made the right decision to leave my old life. What would it be like to go back with the new experiences I’ve had? Could I ever fit back into the old mold?
Any fish who chooses to jump out of their water has to choose 1 of 3 options- to jump back in, to die, or to evolve. I’ve seen the failures of the other fish. Will I successfully evolve?
Those questions make me cry.
But on other days, I laugh at the wonder and newness of your world. You have so much freedom and joy- and you have power to be who you want. I watch you, and I’m inspired to keep going.
What’s it like to be a fish out of water? I am glad you asked, because I need you to know-
I desire to belong in a new community, and yet I fear connection.
I get lonely and miss my old lake.
I grieve the old fish, even though they are very much alive and well.
I experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.
I make intentional decisions to move forward, but what I really wanna do is freeze.
I tend to ask odd questions and make weird statements. I know I’m doing it.
I miss social cues and beat myself up afterwards.
I bring different perspectives and feel loved when others want to know my opinion.
I encourage myself that I will learn eventually, it just takes time and teachers.
I’m grateful for the (willing) teachers, and the ones who stick around.
Are you a fish out of water? You are not alone in your feelings, your wonderings, and your doubts. I see you, because I am one too.