An Explanation of Human Chameleons

cha⋅me⋅le⋅on

[kuhmee-lee-uhn, meel-yuhn]

–noun

1. any of numerous Old World lizards of the family Chamaeleontidae, characterized by the ability to change the color of their skin, very slow locomotion, and a projectile tongue.
2. any of several American lizards capable of changing the color of the skin, esp. Anolis carolinensis (American chameleon), of the southeastern U.S.
3. a changeable, fickle, or inconstant person.
4. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. Chamaeleon.

Origin:
1300–50; var. of chamaeleon < L < Gk chamailéōn, equiv. to chamaí on the ground, dwarf (akin to humus ) + léōn lion; r. ME camelion < MF < L, as above
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Please direct your attention to Definition 3.  “a changeable, fickle, or inconstant person.”
Let me tell you why I disagree with this.
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I believe human chameleons are essential in this world.  People who have multiple versions of themselves can play many roles in society, and fill many voids at once.  To be a chameleon is to adapt constantly according to the need of the situation.  What this definition is implying is that society changes them, but it’s actually quite incorrect: a chameleon changes intentionally to best suit society.
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To be a human chameleon can have its benefits, both individually, and in social groups.  If a chameleon chooses its friends wisely, they can be everything they want to be, simply by proxy.  Through the chameleon’s innate desire to change, they can actually inspire themselves through their friendships to become like the people they so admire.  Becoming better is never a bad thing.  A chameleon always knows its true colours, but will sacrifice peacocking its identity for the sake of the situation.
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Now let’s look at the word fickle, defined as:

fickle
adjective
1. marked by erratic changeableness in affections or attachments; “fickle friends”; “a flirt’s volatile affections”
2. liable to sudden unpredictable change; “erratic behavior”; “fickle weather”; “mercurial twists of temperament”; “a quicksilver character, cool and willful at one moment, utterly fragile the next” [syn: erratic]
(from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fickle ) by Princeton’s online dictionary, WordNet 3.0.
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Unpredictable change“?  How did chameleons suddenly become unreliable?  No, you won’t see a real chameleon change its colours when perfectly blended somewhere….. or they would no longer blend, and that’s not what a chameleon is all about.  Human chameleons are not unreliable; they will blend wherever they may go, but that can be relied upon.  You can always count on a chameleon to reflect their surroundings.
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You may wonder how someone can have a sense of identity if they are constantly changing.  This is a valid question, however, you need simply look at anyone else for your answer.  Can a child have a sense of identity and, as an adult, have the same one?  Can someone have a sense of identity, go through a life-changing moment, and it stay the same?  No, people change; identities change.  However, chameleons generally still have what I call default personalities, ones that they exemplify when they are in situations where they feel comfortable.  These default personalities might, or might not, coincide with their neutral personalities.  Neutral personalities are ones that chameleons adopt when in new situations or meeting new people.  They are the versions of themselves that they have deemed least threatening — to others, or to themselves.  Yes, certain personalities can expose the chameleon more than they would like, and therefore are not usually the same as the default ones.
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Since chameleons are able to change their moods in situations, they can often be unsure of themselves, as they can have easily avoided addressing the issue of beliefs.  Beliefs are as constant in chameleons as they are with non-chameleons; they do not change in different situations; they do not meld any more or less than anyone else’s when faced with new ideas.  As chameleons can often evade difficult confrontations and intimate questioning via distraction through other personalities, some may not be sure as to the real answers of those questions, and when trying to discover themselves, may feel lost.  “Others have already figured out their beliefs,” they may think, “why haven’t I been able to pinpoint mine?”  The solution to this is simply (and very not-so-simply) to ask themselves these very questions, to investigate how they would react in certain ethical situations if no one were around to judge or blend with.  This is a difficult process (and one that tests a chameleon’s ability to moderate their own subjectivity), as a chameleon is used to looking to others for guidance in how to act.  However, even a chameleon will refuse to blend in a situation where they feel something is wrong.  This is due to the beliefs that they have determined.  Regardless the situation, if a chameleon has a belief that is being disregarded, they will not feel comfortable blending.  This is why I feel the definition of being “fickle” is quite incorrect; chameleons do not usually demean their integrity by associating (via blending) with people or situations that are contrary to their personal spirit.
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I hope this has been somewhat informative for people who may feel like they are chameleons at heart, but maybe had previously thought it was shameful.  Chameleons play a vital ‘role of roles’ in society, and should be appreciated for the adaptable creatures they are.
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Copyright L.M. 2008.
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Day 2

Today was Christmas!  Merry Christmas everyone!

It started with me waking up late, daydreaming myself awake.  Kinda lovely to do sometimes.  I got up, had a small breaky, sat on the balcony.  We’d already exchanged gifts beforehand (since my sister couldn’t come with us, we had our celebrations last week), but my dad still had a couple gifts to give to my mom, so after that we sat on the balcony and took in some sun with our coffees.  After a nice morning walk around the Pass with my mom, we went back to the condo for bacon & eggs and cleaned the place up for our dinner company….. then another walk …… and another….. then friends came over for Christmas dinner and we had a blast.  Such fun people.  I hope I’m that fun when I’m their age.  Of course, they’re my parents’ age too but umm…… no, I really don’t have a way to get my foot out of my mouth there.  New topic!

So today on the beach I was walking mostly in the water to search for the bigger shells, so I didn’t see as much interesting stuff today, but here’s the daily list anyway:

  • dolphins several times, lots of them including the mutant one!  In years past, we noticed a dolphin with a sliced dorsal fin….. we suspect it was from a boating encounter.  There very well could be hundreds like that, but we like to think it’s the same families that stick around the area, with his sighting meaning all is well with them.
  • several decent-sized shells with their residents still alive inside…… I threw them back into the ocean to hopefully have a few more days (or more!) of life
  • a large shell with resident inside…… I’m gonna research what kind he was, because I’ve seen the shells before and they’re beautifully decorated, so I’m curious anyway.  I’m told I found a sunray venus shell….. go here to view and learn: http://www.shellmuseum.org/Sanibel/shells_nimbosa.html  I had seen it near the beginning of my walk, and was dumbfounded when I couldn’t find it after the initial sighting (I’m a pro at shelling…… I don’t often lose a shell to the waves once I’ve seen it), especially since it was so large.  Anyway, after giving up (doesn’t come easily to me), I continued my walk, well, shelling session anyway haha….. and on my way back I was about to leave when I saw it again.  I’m sure it’s the same one I’d been searching for earlier because it was like a rose in a field of thorns — nothing else had been that large, and that particular type of shell wasn’t even found in pieces anywhere where I’d walked….. so I went to get it, and sure enough I lost it two more times before I finally grabbed it.  The problem was that it was so heavy it only strayed to the visible area on occasion — otherwise it stayed where the waves were crashing (hence the water was sandy and I couldn’t even see my feet in less than a foot of water) and there his colours blended in.  But I got him.  And of course threw him far into the ocean again.  I have to admit, there’s something kinda humbling about holding an entire creature in your hand who created this beautiful piece of art to house himself….. used to living almost entirely at the hands of the ocean.  He really has no defenses besides his shell….. anyway…..
  • Maddy and another heron!  …… they weren’t hanging out though.
  • fishermen
  • seemingly more people…… I think partially because it was a fair bit warmer today, plus everyone’s done their Christmas shopping!
  • (earlier, by the Pass) ~12 foot tall bird of paradise plant!!!!  seriously incredible.  I vaguely remember discovering it last year but boy is it impressive.  The flower parts are different colours from the regular bird of paradise wild oranges and purples….. I found out from here http://www.mgonlinestore.com/Juncea/  that it’s the white variety…… much larger than the regular orange kind.
  • 2 dogs in motorboats, 1 laying down for a nap, and 1 riding at the bow of his boat.  It’s not that uncommon really, but I always find it amusing.
  • 1 dude paragliding?  I’m not sure the term for it.  Yup, turns out that’s it.  Only this dude was motorized.  And boy was he flying LOW!

Well that’s all I can think of right now, mostly because I’m tired!  If I remember more, you can be sure I’ll get back to you with it.

Again, happy holidays to you, and I hope you all had a Merry Christmas  🙂

Conscious (April 2007)

I haven’t seen this before
shared among common fields
I could almost feel myself move
asleep on the ground, twice already
patience awoke me with presence
well I should say friends
and open faces showed me something
I can’t be alone too long
I miss the smile the most
having said what was right
I turn away not to see the consequence
since it’s not horrendous
I feel faint
and must lie down again

     

      

Copyright L.M. 2007.

The Impossible Point

Philosophy came early to me; I guess I always used to think a lot.  When it came time to sharpen my pencil, I’d often stare at the sharpest tip I could make, and realize how it was still rounded.  That’s when I came up with my Impossible Point idea.  Of course, it wasn’t new, and it certainly wasn’t Earth-shattering.  But it was at an early age, and without outside influence.  I just thought a lot.  I’d try to tell my friends (the ones who thought for themselves) and they would argue that no, I just wasn’t sharpening it enough.  They didn’t get it.

It was through those eyes that I realized how things aren’t always as they seem; when under a magnifying glass, everything changes.  Or, sometimes, it’s the exact opposite.  Sometimes, when looking too hard, when focusing too much on something near, you miss the main picture — you entirely miss the point.

And it’s always important to see the point….. rounded or not.

Months of Counting

Paragraphs on topic,
friends and family present,
a feeling of life on the edge of something newer
Cards and feelings on the table
freshly polished and bombarded with notions
verging on hypotheses not far from illusions

Sentence structure will remain
long after flowers fade and shades are drawn
But would it just wait a while longer?
Dew has not yet settled
and the ink barely begun to flow
There is no knowledge yet but with warnings cautiously heeded
there is promise and hope

What shall emerge from this thick-skinned cocoon?
Or will anything at all?
A new plan could enable us to breathe once more
Or it may again fall short of expectations
and dependence on cure upon cure will resist the pressure
of the deepening crease on my brow
and the tweeting of the sparrows,
the beckoning call of nature

 

Copyright L.M. 2005.