Hello Betta friends! It's been a while. You won't believe where I've been.
So I'm 22 now, still struggling to get through college without falling flat broke on my face again. Finances are still tight, but at least we're stable for the next few months.
"Where do betta fish come into all of this?" you must be wondering.
For starters, I've actually been deeply contemplating having a pico reef tank. You know, some zoas, mushrooms, maybe a yellow clown goby. A little setup that I can call my little desktop slice of the ocean. Because my family used to go to the beach when we were kids, and it was fun.
But now that it's been a year since my mom left my dad, I'm seeing it more as a pathetic attempt to cling on to a happiness that may not have been real all along.
So then I got to thinking, "well, pico reefs are generally cheaper to stock than a large reef, which is great, but they're still a pretty penny to set up, nevermind long-term maintenance".
Thus, I'm back right where I started: betta fish.
Now the thing with bettas is this: I always had wanted one when I was a kid. We had dogs, cats, hampsters, community fish tanks, chickens, ducks, etc when I was a kid. But they were more of a general family pet/effort. I never really had a pet of my own. I did have parakeets, but they were messy, noisy and kind of wild. I was also young and the complex needs of parakeets baffled me to no end.
So many years after that, I moved away from home and went to college. My first year was great and I kept myself busy with new friends, classes and late-night outings to a local restaurant and trying to catch stars, and love, on Capitol Hill. The second semester was a lonely one; things were on the go again (or what I thought was "on the go"; I know better now). And I decided to do the unthinkable, the absurd. I did something my mother never let me do.
I bought a Betta fish. And I named him TianTian.
And he was my best friend when I got into my car wreck and had to leave college. He was my best friend when there was none (or rather, he was my best friend on the side when I wasn't involved with a certain old flame of whom I've completely moved on from). I got into the betta craze and tried to keep Taco, but he was a tough rescue and he simply died. TianTian died (much later) from dropsy; he was full-grown when I got him. I don't know how old he was when he died. But he died in a real tank, and not a cup.
Filling the void, then, came Cinder. And for three very happy years, he was my moving buddy as we hopped from state to state, looking for a place to land and call home. And we finally found it. We found home. And I got a job and went back to school and things started looking like they'd be okay. I looked for a new relationship that would hopefully yield good things for me. For us.
Of course, dating didn't work out because I was overweight at the time and all the guys I dated were utter losers. My parents started having problems. Cinder got sick. And I watched, helpless, as my one true friend through all of this time slipped away from me. Cinder died and I was the only one who went to bury him. My mom moved out a few days later and the guy failed to text back or come to my choir concert after he promised he would.
At this point I stopped posting here on bettafish. After my mom left, leaving debts in her wake, I've lived out of a van, stuffed full of my family's belongings. I literally rode for 18 hours cramped like that with my knees tucked up to my chin. It was a very unfruitful moving trip and we came back to where we started: penniless, broke, without a home and stressed out so badly my hair was turning white. Also, I've lost 40 pounds.
From there, I said, "screw it, I wanna focus on helping someone else" and I went on a mission to Ecuador. And I loved it! The problem? I was in the hospital down there (4 DAYS) for an allergic reaction to-- wait for it--- DUST MITES. Seriously. Down on the coast, the country is hot, humid; perfect country for dust mites. So I got told I did a good job, was a great missionary, and got sent back home, after 5 months of being away, for medical reasons.
So I'm back to square one. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary that my mom left. She went back to the state that I came from, that I grew up in, where most of my friends still live. But I can't go back there. Not while she's there. And here, I have hardly any friends. My social circle is the people I work with, most of which are older, or dramatically younger, working in a glorified call center (so talking is little to none).
I'm actually looking to move one more time further north to a college that will give me the job skills I need to land a decent job after graduation. I'm finally almost done with my degree.
I'm not sure where a betta fish fits into all of this nonsense, but maybe it'll provide me with a sense of stability.
I'd buy a cube tank with an LED clip-on light, some driftwood, java moss, flat river stones, a ton of other live plants, some ghost shrimp and a betta. Maybe a halfmoon. I'd spend the extra $5. And I'd sit in my room at night and just talk to the one thing that will listen, that won't judge. That won't make decisions for me. My betta.
Until I get truly settled, I won't buy a betta (because I know how stressful moving was with Cinder). But the void is really killer. I keep looking at a spot on my current, borrowed, desk where I'd put his tank. I'd give him a cool name. Himeros. Or something in Spanish. Oracion.
I'm not sure where the heck I was going with this post, or what was the point, but someone with a bit of a head on their shoulders can interpret my nonsense, that'd be great. Cheers.