(image courtesy of Google images)
Are you feeling like a fish out of water lately? Or, maybe all of the time? How about, ever?
“A fish out of water” – a phrase used to explain someone who is in a situation they are unsuited to (phrasefinder.org); a person in unfamiliar, and often uncomfortable, surroundings (Wiktionary.org)
This phrase came up in conversation with my KS a few times the other day. We were sharing our reflections on life and, when I caught myself using this term at several points in our conversation, I thought it might make a great topic.
Some of us may experience times, moments, incidents where we feel out of our realm. We may feel inept to deal with issues presented before us whether they are work related or just things that need to be handled. We may be out of our comfort zone, our choice or not, and we may struggle with how to deal in this “out of water” situation.
There are moments when I feel like I’m out of whack with everyone and everything. Nothing I attempt seems to go right and I struggle to find the right words to say. I feel like a train wreck which I am unable to disentangle myself or even look away from or an unwilling participant in The Gong Show in which no one will take pity and gong me to get off of the stage. Some people believe that this unharmonious discordance with the universe has something to do with the planets not being aligned properly or something like that, but I’m not sure about those theories. All I know is that there are days where I feel “off” and definitely like I’m a fish floundering out of water.
There are also times when we may feel like a fish out of water because of things imposed on us. We may find ourselves in a situation where we don’t feel like we belong because of our abilities or lack thereof. Maybe we have even been “left out” of some event or placed in a position where the intention is that we will feel uncomfortable or awkward. We may feel that others have done their best to keep us “out of water” so to speak in an attempt to render us feeling inferior or inadequate in order to make themselves feel better. We continue to deal with bullying and exclusion in our schools and in our community, but these issues happen over social media and in adult social circles as well. It’s not a great feeling to be “left out”, even as a grown adult.
In some cases, we may opt to take ourselves “out of the water” intentionally. When I began this blog almost a year and a half ago, I knew that I was taking a leap out of my comfort zone, out of my own fish bowl in a sense. By creating this blog and opening up my thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on life for people to read, I was stepping out of what was comfortable in my world and into the zone of the unknown. I have not regretted my decision to open up my writing to others, but at many times I have felt like the proverbial fish out of water for sure. One doesn’t have to look far to find success stories of people of who have “made it” in the writing world. Just opening up my Twitter feed reminds me of how many of us out there call ourselves writers. I am more often than not overwhelmed when I think of trying to compete in a realm where so many people seem confident and successful in their own abilities and have done something with them! So, while I may have jumped out of my own fish bowl, I still struggle every day with whether I can find success out of water or if I’m simply floundering.
While it can be uncomfortable, unsettling, and make us feel vulnerable, feeling like a fish out of water can be a positive thing in many ways. I think we all need to experience the out of water feeling from time to time to be perfectly honest. Being a fish out of water can offer a reminder to us to be humble, to not think we are “bigger than our britches”. It also gives us some perspective as to how others might feel when they are “out of water” and allow us to empathize with them. Being out of water can remind us to be kind to others, that everyone we meet is fighting some sort of battle, and even to step out of our comfort zones once in a while. “Out of the water” can offer us an opportunity to be brave, to try something new, to dig deep within ourselves, or even to find a place to belong. “Out of the water” we may even find people like us, people who are searching for their own understandings, or that someone who just listens, really listens, to what we have to say.
Being a fish out of water may not always be pleasant, but it’s important to remember that life can also be so much bigger than the bowl.
(image courtesy of Google images)