Life as a Chameleon

Sofie - San Diego, California
Entered on January 31, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Depending on where I am, or who’s around, I adapt. I adapt to my surroundings like a chameleon. I believe this is true for everyone. Depending on the situation, whether the circumstance is pleasant or devastating, I adapt. I find a way to get by, unharmed, alive. I change the colors of my skin, reevaluate my thoughts, and come to terms. I believe we are all chameleons and life is something we must learn to naturally adapt to.

Recently, a close relative passed away. I’ve never had anyone so close to me die. He was only 22, two years older than me; we were close. I received the news and thought it was a joke. The next day was April fool’s day after all. After coming home and seeing the expression on everyone’s face, I realized it wasn’t a joke. It was true. The looks on our faces were contagious, but feeling sad and looking sad was okay. It was our way of adapting, to each other, to the situation. Of course life will never be the same after losing someone we loved, but we get by.

We get by.

Just like with any other circumstance, I find a way some how to adapt.

I live in sunny San Diego and my girlfriend lives in cold, gloomy Anchorage, Alaska. We’ve been together for about three years. Back and forth we go, whenever we have the chance, to see each other. Sometimes it’s only for three days, sometimes for months, regardless of the length of time, when we’re together or apart, it’s the same situation. We adapt to being together, then to being apart. It takes a major toll on the heart, I tell ya, but I’m okay. We’re okay. I’m very thankful for having her and even being able to see her as often as I do. I could be very bitter, pessimistic, and just quit, but that’s not how I roll.

I just cry the last couple of nights I have left with her, when we’re lying in bed together. I start to think these things like, “I’m not going to be able to kiss her good night tomorrow…” and “I hate being so far away from her.” But that’s the truth, that’s reality. I’m not going to be able to kiss her good night or hold her tomorrow. I think these things to help myself prepare for what’s ahead, to let my mind realize that I’m really leaving. It’s my way of adapting, each time, to being without her. I just have to face it, head on. I hate being away from her, but I get by.

Renee and I get by.

It’s really that simple. I just make it work, somehow, whether it’s a death or the pain of being away from her. It’s like waking up in the morning, turning on the bathroom light and shielding my eyes. Eventually, it’s not so bright anymore. Eventually, the pain isn’t so vivid.

My skill of adapting is used most at work. I use it every single day. I work in a classroom with eight children who have autism. Every day I’m assigned to work with a different child or sometimes two. Each child has their own uniqueness. Jack is fixated with fire extinguishers, Peter scratches like a wildcat and Sarah will really eat anything, meaning she’ll chew her crayons or dig out of the trash and eat things. Depending on whom I’m working with, I have to be aware of the certain things they might do. I’m extra tense and careful, when I work with Peter. I walk on the right side of Jack, so that he can’t run into classrooms, as we’re walking down the hall, to grab their fire extinguishers. I keep a close eye on Sarah, so she won’t eat anything she’s not supposed to.

Adjusting to new things is probably the hardest thing for these kids, whether it be wearing a different outfit or being around new people. There skill of adapting is the greatest. It may not be as quick for them, as it is for you and me, but it sure is possible. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve seen the changes, the improvements, it’s truly inspirational.

These kids, they get by. With time, they get by.

Each day at my job is different, just like every day of my life. I’m not trying to say that something spectacular happens to me every single day, but every day really isn’t the same. For me, or for anybody. Different things flow through my mind, and around me, and whatever that may be, I adjust myself for what’s appropriate. I dress according to the day’s temperature; I tap my foot when I really need to pee; I run to class when I’m late. The list goes on.

For me adapting, being a chameleon, is every day. I believe it’s a skill we all have. Some just use it more often than others; some have to, to survive, like me. I do things to make my life easier; I find a way to adapt, to get by.

I always get by, always.