Lessons Learned from a Facehugger

My little reef is home to a pair of porcelain crabs, a large female named Ripley and a much smaller male who goes by the name of Facehugger.

13K30 crab on urchin

We brought Facehugger home first, and it’s probably obvious how he acquired his name.

13H10 new crab and scallop

When I saw the big female at the fish store, I knew I needed to bring her home, and her name seemed pretty obvious. Unfortunately, she’s taken it to heart.

Ripley doesn’t like Facehugger much. They don’t exactly fight, but she’s quick to assert her dominance over him every time they meet. In a recent confrontation, Ripley tore off Facehugger’s claw — at which point, Facehugger surrendered the fight and took refuge in a nearby coral.

13E07 porcelain crab feeding

Ripley moved on, and a few minutes later I noticed Facehugger emerging from his hiding place and searching for a new territory to claim. An hour later, he’d taken up residence in a cluster of green star polyps I recently added to the tank.

This is typical of Facehugger’s response to Ripley’s aggression, and an important lesson for all of us (and writers specifically) to take to heart.

Sometimes, when you live your life, trouble walks over and finds you. If you’re lucky, you can escape to safety relatively unscathed. If not, life sometimes rips off your claw and tosses it into the current. (Hopefully, this is figurative. If not…I hope you’re a crab and can re-grow it.)

But even then, hope isn’t lost.

Take some time to mourn that claw…or your dream…or whatever it is that life ripped off and hurled away. Hide in your den for a while if you need to do it. But sooner or later–and sooner is best–you need to come out and get back to living your life and chasing your dream. The world is too full of wonderful things…of dreams and sights and experiences…to waste your days in hiding.

It’s easy to let hardships crush your dreams and vanquish your spirit. It’s much harder to face the world, one-armed and determined. But if a little crab can do it, so can I … and so can you.

So raise that remaining claw, pick up your dreams, and get rolling.

14B06 Crab in Green polyps

Somewhere out there, your bed of stars is waiting.