When I was a little girl, I used to read comic books and on the back of the comic there was always an ad for something called Sea Monkeys. It showed these cute little alien monkey looking creatures hanging out and doing human things together and I was totally fascinated. I wanted them so badly that I would relentlessly beg my parents to order them for me. I pictured these little “monkeys” doing all sorts of things together while I watch. Literally, I daydreamed about them playing hide and seek, playing tennis, water skiing, playing all sorts of games and doing anything we humans can do. After all, that was what the ad suggested by the pictures. They were tiny little monkey families, mommy, daddy, baby, all wearing smiles and hanging out, arms around each other, grinning from ear to ear and looking at each other with complete love and contentment. That’s what the picture showed anyway. So, being a little girl with a huge imagination, I took this and created my own little Sea Monkey fairytale.
My parents finally relented and ordered them for me on some special occasion and I was beyond thrilled. I would have my own little sea monkey family and we were going to have so much fun. I was going to teach them all kinds of things, play games with them, and I was so excited to get them I could barely stand it. Like I said, I had a very big imagination. The day came when my perfect little family arrived and I was so excited with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to open the package and wondered if they could even breathe in there. My mom opened the package for me and what I ended up receiving were tiny microscopic shrimp. I was heartbroken. Devastated. Little shrimp? Really? They didn’t have arms and legs and smiles. There had to be some kind of mistake. Of course, there wasn’t. I’d been had. I remember being so sad and mad at the injustice of it all that after I cried with big disappointment, I got mad and wrote the company a letter. I don’t remember what I said, as I was a little girl, but something along the righteous lines of how could you do this? How can you lie to innocent children? I wrote it on behalf children everywhere who’d had their hearts broken over the Sea Monkey fallacy. I doubt my parents ever sent the letter for me, but I felt better giving them a piece of my young, but very determined and pissed off little mind.
Life is like that. You think you’re going to get one thing and then you wake up one day and realize you got something completely different. Often, it’s not a bad thing, just different than what you may have dreamed up for yourself, the story you told yourself. For me, I often wake up and wonder how I got where I am today. Single and working eleven hour days lately to make ends meet. While I have to believe I’m on the right road for me, oftentimes it doesn’t feel that way and I want to write a letter to someone to complain. I want to say to someone, “Fix it, this is not what I was promised.” But who promised me anything? No one. I had dreamed up my perfect little life, my perfect little family, complete with arms, legs and smiles, playing games together, and it hadn’t turned out that way. Because there is no such thing as a perfect life, a perfect family. Because life is full of disappointments. The only person I could write a letter to was myself to debunk the story I’d dreamed up in my heart and in my head. Nothing is perfect and it isn’t supposed to be. You can spend your life focusing on disappointment if you choose. Or you can choose to focus on the good, not perfect things, and find joy there in the real story, the one that’s happening right now.