Becoming a Chameleon

Big, beady eyes. Scaly, rigid body. Minute, stealthy movements. All to keep hidden in plain sight and remain unnoticed, surviving with comfort. Don’t we all wish (at some point in our lives) that we could be a chameleon?

If there is one thing I have noticed in transitions in life, it’s that we all wish for the easiest way out — to blend and adapt with ease, unnoticed, undetected, and invulnerable. The simple fact is that there is nothing commendable in being a chameleon, and we should aim to aspire for more than that.

Change is never easy to adapt to, even in the smallest of situations (i.e. when the announcement arrives that recess will no longer be 50 minutes but only half an hour). Small changes have somewhat of an effect on how we approach a day or a week, but these small changes seldom reach the extent of the greater picture in our lives. When a bright flower is placed right next to a chameleon, it doesn’t change its strategy to camouflage; it simply waits for the irregularity to be removed. The thing is, it will now go its whole life not knowing what it felt like adapting to that bright color. Why ignore sudden small changes when we can strive to embrace the change they present us with? You never know; it might end up impacting a much larger change than anticipated. For instance, because you are no longer taking your time in the cafeteria due to the shortened break, you might bump into someone who could become an acquaintance and perhaps even more.

If we look at change on a bigger scale — impacting your life for a few months, maybe even a year — it becomes more difficult to adopt, adapt, and embrace the hurdles it presents. Getting a bad score on a test, or realizing that your friends might be less interested in you as you initially thought, shouldn’t alter your personality or your core being. Instead, allow it to inspire you! Take more time to study, and find friends that love you for exactly who you are. The worst decision you can make is trying to be a chameleon and blend in. Chameleons simply get washed away in the flood of their surroundings and remain uncertain of who they are in the long run.

It only worsens when you come face-to-face with long term change — change that alters your life and that you most commonly have no control over (i.e. receiving the news of a new family member or moving to a different state, country, or continent). When a chameleon is removed from its natural habitat and is forced to adapt to a new environment, we so often yearn to have its ability to change with ease. Why? Why not allow hurdles to be planted? Why not embrace the differences and use the hurdle as a step? So often we forget that change is one of the greatest gifts life has to offer. It encourages us to step outside the boxed walls we create and to reach toward others who no longer know how to open the doors to the walls they have built. It gives us the keys to unlock not only our own potential but also our relationships with others. It hands us confidence and strength on a golden platter and simply waits for us to reach out a hand and collect the promise.

While a chameleon’s abilities are admirable and undeniably fascinating, I stand firm in my belief that it is not something we should yearn for. Embrace change for what it is and what it could become. The glass is never empty but rather half full of liquid and half full of air. Everybody can be content regardless of their situation; we must simply choose to look at the silver lining.

Zéandri Rautenbach is a high school graduate with her adulthood staring her in the face. Even though her name is hard to pronounce even in her own country, South Africa, she wears it with pride. When she isn’t releasing her emotions in a book, she’s showering them out on paper. Nothing brings her more joy than supporting people through her stories, and she hopes that this will one day amount to becoming a novelist. Other than literature: antiques, classical music, and hysterical puns (even though she can’t make them) are her fuel. She can be reached on Facebook or Instagram: @zeandrirautenbach

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