If you follow my blog, you already know that I have a deep affection for turtles. My pet turtle, Shelvin, just turned 34 last month, and he’s still going strong. Yes, he has scars from a bad case of shell rot (He stayed at my brother’s place while I was homeless, and he didn’t know that you’re not supposed to keep a turtle in an area without light).
Turtles might not develop as unique and complex a personality as cats or dogs, but they still show individuality. Shelvin is different from other pet turtles. He has charisma. He watches me all the time and gets so excited when I walk by his tank that he pecks the tank to get my attention. She stares at my giant Godzilla toy. He doesn’t like to be touched or picked up by anyone but me. And he’s sneaky, trying to take advantage of my bad memory by begging for food.
(Shelvin with light from a prism shining on him)
What can I say? I like turtles.
But there’s more to it. I think that I like turtles because I secretly wish that I was one. A turtle can hide in his shell, and no one questions that. A turtle doesn’t need to deal with bullshit. A turtle is protected by armor, and even when vulnerable, he still has that shell to save him. A turtle doesn’t give a damn about your opinion.
I wish that I had that. I wish that I didn’t bounce between depression, anxiety, and mania. I wish I had a shell to hide in. I wish I had a tank to keep my suffering to myself.
All I want is to go through life without hurting anyone. A shell around me would do that.
Now if only it came with a mind eraser to forget all of my regrets. And there are many.