Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Overthinking: Cleaning out the spiders in the sculpture

Thursday, February 9, 2023
Graphic by Emma Kratky

I love spider webs.

I think itís gorgeous and complex and significant how spiders can craft a home from scratch and muscle memory, perfectly designed for them and their lifestyle. My favorite spider web, located in a nook of a decoration on my friendsí porch, had a little cone of silk where the spider lived, and outer netting to catch bugs and such. I think itís neat how life has the propensity to sustain itself, to find little pockets of refuge to exist and thrive in.

A while ago, my friend Mel welded a huge sculpture. The hollow, angular metal is taller than I am, and itís quite impressive. At one point, she had to move it out of storage to display it. When she started to move it, a lone spider scuttled out, and she preventatively sprayed the inside with bleach. To her horror, an exodus of spiders followed.

She described the experience as traumatic. The sculpture had become the spidersí home, and Iím sure it was terribly saddening to remove so many intricate, complex little creatures who had spent so long building their home inside.

My life in college is radically different than I expected it would be. I have an entirely new major that started as kind of an accident, an awesome house with my best friends who I didnít know existed three years ago, authors Iím obsessed with that I didnít even know were out there, and, in general, a lot of other wonderful things. Itís gorgeous, complex and significant.

But nothing can be perfect forever. I quit my job recently, a job I really liked, and most definitely did not see as part of my five-year plan in high school.

At the end of the day, it was the best decision for my mental health, but it was hard. Really hard. I had to bleach these silky, meshy connections, these little scuttering emotional pieces of my life and soul that Iíd grown to treasure, to get from the place I was to the place I wanted to be.

And I get what Mel said about it being traumatic. When you have to get rid of something you care deeply about, be it a job or spiders, even as an unintended side effect of growing and discovering new things, itís like smashing a piece of your soul.

I like to label everything in my life in black and white, good or bad, happy or unhappy. But something Iíve been realizing is how many shades of complexity the human experience is colored by. Last semester was one of the most difficult times of my life, but also one of the most wonderful and growth-producing.

So, readers, I think what I want to say is: Lean into the complexity. Donít fight it; let it wash over you. Sometimes, you have to get rid of the spiders, and thatís OK, and it will be OK. I love you, and I wish you the best in this new year.