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CELEBRATING CREATIVE EXPRESSION AT BAYLOR SINCE 1966

Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 53
Issue 2

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
I Believe in Jellyfish
Sophie Shea
 
I Believe in Jellyfish

I believe in dedicating a few moments of my day to living life like a jellyfish. Now, I don't mean literally acting like a jellyfish; jellyfish don't have brains, but they have neurological impulses that allow them to sense their surroundings and environment. The fact that jellyfish don't have brains, to me, means that their lives are composed of simple existence, and they perform the most basic of tasks for survival. I believe in drawing one simple thing from these beautiful creatures: whether you are the most complex organism or the simplest, the fact that you are conscious, alive, and existing is miraculous, and these characteristics are worth taking a few moments to appreciate. I remember one particular night when I was just feeling overwhelmed with everything on my mind. I was eating dinner with my mom, but I was actually thinking about a million other things. With schoolwork, extracurriculars, and friends, my calendar was overflowing with things to worry about. My mom was trying to talk to me, but I was completely in my own head. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her about how busy and overwhelmed I felt. My mom said, "Sophie, go outside and sit for ten minutes. I promise you'll feel better afterward." Of course I didn't believe her; I didn't think sitting in complacency would help my situation at all. Regardless of what I thought, I listened to my mom and went outside. At first I didn't really see how I could possibly be doing myself any good. But then, I began to look around. I looked up at the sky and saw a beautiful sunset, and I remember sitting and thinking about nothing but what was surrounding me. Honestly, I wasn't even really thinking as much as I was simply appreciating my environment. I looked at the trees in my front porch; I thought about how trees don't move or think, but trees just grow. I thought about how those trees, never moving or really doing anything but growing, will outlive me by many lifetimes. I saw seagulls flying in the sky above me, and I thought about how they will travel a further distance in a single night than I probably will all week. I thought about how insignificant I was, yet I also thought about how enormously significant I had the opportunity to be. Looking back, the time I spent that night reminds me of taking a really huge breath after being submerged in water. Taking a minute to remove myself from my own little world gave me perspective, and I realized in the quietness and simplicity of just sitting, breathing, and existing that there is so much outside of my own agenda that is important. Those moments of mental silence also gave me the chance to realize where I had to go from where I was, and in the peacefulness I was able to create a plan instead of only dwelling over how worried I was. Now, whenever I get caught up in a whirlwind of my own thoughts about school, activities, or other people, I believe in just taking a moment to sit down and simply be; I appreciate how amazing everything around me is, and even the simple fact that I am conscious, breathing, and existing is a miracle. Jellyfish aren't affected by stress, worry, or drama; I believe jellyfish live their own happy lives, and I would like to do the same. I believe Jean Arp, a German artist, words my belief of living like a jellyfish most eloquently. He said, "Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation." I believe jellyfish embody the essence of the most simplistic way of living life, and there is value in humans doing the same.