Sponges (something about absorbtion)

When I was in fourth grade my family took a trip to Florida. We stopped in Tarpon Springs where I somehow acquired a sponge. It was not like the kind you find in the grocery store. It looked like a dried out version of the ones above. It smelled of salt and was so dried out I could never imagine how it would ever absorb water.

I started thinking about sponges because I’ve been thinking about self-absorbtion lately. The different levels of it and when is it appropriate. Then I started thinking about how people say, “He soaks everything up, he’s like a sponge.” Apparently, these metaphors indicate a human’s ability to retain information and that depending on the information it could be good or bad.

It seems like self-absorbtion has a negative connotation. What is self-absorbtion? Wanting to have things your own way? Not knowing what is going on around you? These are behaviors of a typical two year old. But, the reason we are born with this innate behavior is for self-preservation and survival. We are taught to move away from this biological need. Our parents teach us to share and to analyze situations where we should have been more caring. Perhaps they use tools, like, religion or books. For some of us, we do move to a more empathic state and it comes more naturally. However, we continue to have blind spots. The sponge is not entirely squeezed of the ‘self.’ We have not absorbed the ‘other.’

Some days, I feel like I have been entirely squeezed out of empathy. I do not want to answer another text, email, or phone call. But, then maybe I have absorbed too much of me because I don’t recognize that there is probably someone who feels exactly the same way about me texting or calling them.

I guess there is no way around it. If you are like a sponge in the photo, you are still alive. You have fish swimming around you and little things swimming in and out of you. It may become overwhelming, but it’s better than being a dried up sponge sold in Tarpon Springs.

Tarpon Springs is a city on central Florida’s Gulf Coast. Greek eateries line waterfront Dodecanese Boulevard, a legacy of the Greek sponge divers who settled here in the early 1900s. Along the water, the Historic Sponge Docks are a reminder of the once booming industry. The 1940s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has stained glass and a Grecian marble altar. Tarpon Springs Aquarium displays Gulf marine life. 

2 thoughts on “Sponges (something about absorbtion)

  1. This is such an insightful and clever post. I know it’s all about balance, which can be tricky. Love the ending!


  2. “Some days, I feel like I have been entirely squeezed out of empathy,” is visceral. We, the readers, can truly feel what you are writing.
    I loved your use of imagery.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: